For Immediate Release
September 4 , 2009
Week of August 31 - September 4
On September 1, the Commission held an Executive Session. Sunshine Act Notices for Executive Sessions are here.
AOR 2009-25 (Jennifer Brunner Committee). On September 2, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2009-25 (Jennifer Brunner Committee). The Committee requests an advisory opinion on whether the Committee may pay three charities the market value of assets including computers, office equipment and supplies that used to belong to a since-terminated state committee and were left in the care of the state committee’s former landlord. The payment to charities would be in lieu of a straight sale of the assets from the state committee to the federal committee. The Commission must issue a response no later than 60 days after receipt of the complete request, that is, by November 2.
Extension of Time Received
AOR 2009-13 (Black Rock Group). On August 31, the Commission received an Extension of Time regarding Advisory Opinion Request 2009-13 (Black Rock Group) until September 28. The Black Rock Group, a communications and public affairs firm, seeks to serve as a common vendor advising one or more single-member limited liability companies on their independent expenditures concerning federal candidates and elections. In its request, Black Rock Group asks whether its services would trigger political committee status for its clients.
Advisory Opinions, Requests, Comments and Extensions are available here.
The Commission made public four closed cases this week. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
MUR 6156 – Ron Paul 2008 Presidential Campaign Committee and Deana Watts, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission dismissed the case.
MUR 6097 – Roy Carter for Congress and John Rhineberger, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission dismissed the case.
MUR 6109 – Bill Durston; Durston for Congress and Rita Copeland, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission dismissed the case.
MUR 6152 – Martin Manna; Chaldean Chamber Political Action Committee and Martin Manna, in his official capacity as treasurer; Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce; Knollenberg for Congress Committee and Debra Kling, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission found no reason to believe the Chaldean-American Chamber of Commerce or the Chaldean Chamber Political Action Committee and its treasurer violated the Act. The Commission used its prosecutorial discretion to dismiss the case and sent a letter of caution letter to Manna in his individual capacity. The Commission used its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the case regarding Knollenberg for Congress Committee and its treasurer.
The Commission made public one Administrative Fine case this week.
AF 1916 – Eileen Donoghue for Congress Committee and Timothy J. Sullivan as Treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $500.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The Commission made public two campaign finance enforcement matters that were resolved through its Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) program. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
ADR 460 – Schwarz for Congress and Robert Hans Schuler as Treasurer. The respondents agreed to terminate the committee and pay a civil penalty of $6,000.
ADR 476 – Veterans for Victory PAC and Russel McCurdy as Treasurer. The respondents agreed to implement compliance measures and pay a civil penalty of $5,000.
Cao v. FEC. On August 31, the Commission filed its supplemental response to plaintiffs' motion to certify questions of constitutionality to the Court of Appeals and its motion for summary judgment, along with proposed findings of fact.
In this case, the plaintiffs have challenged the constitutionality of coordinated expenditure limits, both under the party expenditure provision in 2 U.S.C. 441a(d) and the $5,000 limit on party contributions to candidates in 2 U.S.C. 441a(a)(2)(A), as applied to party coordinated expenditures that plaintiffs claim are the parties' "own speech" or that the plaintiffs allege are not "unambiguously campaign related." Plaintiffs claim that because these activities are not sufficiently related to corruption or the appearance thereof, Supreme Court precedent prevents application of the limits to those activities. In addition, the plaintiffs claim that the limits are unconstitutional because some vary geographically, because the limits have not been indexed to inflation, and because the limits are allegedly too low in any event. The Commission contends that the plaintiffs' claims are foreclosed by Supreme Court precedent upholding the provisions at issue, and that accepting plaintiffs’ claims would permit circumvention of longstanding contribution limits that Congress enacted to prevent corruption and its appearance.
FEC Takes Final Action on Six Cases (released Aug. 31)
NEXT WEEK (SEPTEMBER 7-11, 2009)
September 9: The Supreme Court will hold a reargument of Citizens United v. FEC in a special session. Appellant Citizens United challenges the application of BCRA's electioneering communication provisions to the cable-video-on demand broadcast of a film produced by Citizens United, as well as to televised advertising for that film. In July 2008, a three-judge district court found that the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) was constitutional as applied to all of Citizens United's activity and granted summary judgment to the Commission.
September 15-16, Chicago, IL – Regional Conference for Campaigns, Party Committees and Corporate/Labor/Trade PACs. The schedule is here.
October 28-29, San Francisco, CA – Regional Conference for Campaigns, Party Committees and Corporate/Labor/Trade PACs. The schedule is forthcoming.
UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES
September 20 – September Monthly Report
The September issue of The Record is here. Sign up to receive email notification when a new issue of the Record is posted here.