For Immediate Release
July 31, 2009
Week of July 27 – 31
On July 28, the Commission held an Open Session. Agendas and related documents for Open Meetings are here. Audio recordings for selected meetings, hearings and presentations are here.
On July 28, the Commission also held an Executive Session. Sunshine Act Notices for Executive Sessions are here.
On July 29, the Commission held a public hearing on improvements to its website and Internet Communications. The Commission has reopened the period for public comment on this initiative until midnight on August 20.
Advisory Opinions Issued
On July 28, the Commission approved Advisory Opinion 2009-15 (Bill White for Texas). The Commission concluded that the Bill White for Texas Committee may accept contributions for a special or runoff election that has not been scheduled or may not occur, if those contributions are alternatively designated for a primary or general election that will occur.
On July 28, the Commission approved Advisory Opinion 2009-16 (Libertarian Party of Ohio). The Commission concluded that the Libertarian Party of Ohio (the LPO) qualifies as a state party committee.
On July 28, the Commission approved Advisory Opinion 2009-18 (Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P., Penske Truck Leasing Corp. and Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P. PAC). The Commission concluded that Penske PAC and General Electric Company PAC (GEPAC) are no longer affiliated for purposes of the Act.
Advisory Opinion Considered
On July 28, the Commission was unable to reach an opinion on Advisory Opinion Request 2009-17 (Romney for President, Inc.). The Committee asked whether, as it winds down to terminate, it can donate to a qualified charitable organization funds equivalent to the amount of un-cashed and stale-dated refund checks it issued to people who made excessive contributions to Gov. Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential primary campaign.
On July 28, the Commission asked the Office of the General Counsel to circulate an amended draft on Advisory Opinion Request 2009-13 (Black Rock Group). The Black Rock Group, a communications and public affairs firm, seeks to serve as a vendor advising one or more single-member limited liability companies that make independent expenditures concerning federal candidates and elections. Black Rock Group asks whether its services would trigger political committee status for its clients.
Extension of Time Received
On July 28, the Commission received an Extension of Time regarding Advisory Opinion 2009-14 (Mercedes-Benz USA LLC and Sterling Truck Corporation). The new deadline is August 31. MBUSA and Sterling ask whether MBUSA can establish and fund the administrative and solicitation costs of a separate segregated fund (SSF) for which Sterling would serve as the connected organization. MBUSA and Sterling are affiliated organizations with a common parent: Daimler North America Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of the German corporation Daimler AG. The request also addresses the conventions that govern naming an SSF. MBUSA and Sterling have specifically asked whether the proposed SSF could be called DaimlerPAC. The Commission has reopened the period for comments on the drafts of this advisory opinion. The new deadline for comments is noon on Thursday, August 20, 2009.
Advisory Opinions, Requests, Comments and Extensions are available here.
The Commission made public four closed cases and one Statement of Reasons this week. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
MUR 6083 – MoveOn.org Political Action and Wes Boyd in his official capacity as treasurer; Obama for America and Martin H. Nesbit, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission dismissed the allegation regarding MoveOn.org. The Commission found no reason to believe that Obama for America and its treasurer violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act).
MUR 6111 – WOSU Public Media; and Columbus Metropolitan Club. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act.
MUR 6148 – Hillary Clinton for President and Shelly Moskwa, in her official capacity as treasurer; and National Organization for Women PAC and Latifa Lyles, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act.
MUR 5575 – Alaska Democratic Party and Rolando Rivas, in his official capacity as treasurer; Tony Knowles for U.S. Senate Committee and Leslie Ridle, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission determined there was no probable cause to believe the respondents violated the Act. A Statement of Reasons was issued by Vice Chairman Matthew S. Petersen and Commissioners Cynthia L. Bauerly, Caroline C. Hunter and Donald F. McGahn II.
AF 1806 – Gene Christensen for Congress and Rick Neudorff as Treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $900.
AF 1816 – Sean O’Kane for US Congress Committee and William J. Sammon as Treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $4,500.
AF 1880 – Lynch for Congress and Edward Lynch as Treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $500.
AF 1882 – Kevin Powell for Congress and Tyra Washington as Treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $975.
ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION
The Commission made public four 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 485 – Dallas County Democratic Party and Darlene Ewing as Treasurer. The respondents agreed to work with Commission staff to terminate the Committee and pay a civil penalty of $3,500.
ADR 488 – Mississippi Republican Party and Tom Butchart as Treasurer. The respondents agreed to implement compliance measures and pay a civil penalty of $1,000.
ADR 489 – Paul Sawyer for Congress and Col. Herbert P. Frits as Treasurer. The respondents agreed to work with Commission staff to terminate the Committee.
ADR 490 – Hank Eng for Congress and Carmen Lamar Arnold as Treasurer. The respondents agreed to work with Commission staff to terminate the Committee and pay a civil penalty of $2,000.
On July 30, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed a district court’s dismissal of the case, Marcus v. Holder, and affirmed that the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) does not require the Attorney General to get the FEC’s permission to investigate or prosecute a criminal violation of the Act. The plaintiff had asserted that no criminal investigation can take place unless the Commission has formally referred a criminal matter to the Attorney General, and that the Attorney General’s investigations are unlawful and unconstitutional if they did not result from an FEC referral to the Attorney General.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS
July 31: Mid-Year disclosure reports were due. Click here for information on electronic filing.
On July 28-29, in Columbus, Ohio, the FEC conducted informal briefings for PACs, party committees and candidate committees on areas of the law specific to their needs. The event was part of the Federal Election Commissions State Outreach Program.
On July 29, in Austin, Texas, Senior Communications Specialist Liz Kurland spoke about campaign finance rules for trade association PACs at the American Bankers Association conference.
FEC Public Hearing on Website and Internet Communications Improvement Initiative (released July 27)
FEC Issues Three Advisory Opinions (released July 29)
FEC Holds Public Hearing on Improving Its Website and Internet Communications (released July 30)
NEXT WEEK (AUGUST 3 – 7, 2009)
No Commission Open Sessions or Executive Sessions are scheduled.
August 5-6, Kansas City, MO – State Outreach Program. The schedule is here.
UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES
August 20 – August Monthly Report
The July issue of The Record is here.