Week of March 8 – 12
The Commission did not hold an Executive Session this week. Sunshine Act Notices for Executive Sessions are here.
Advisory Opinion Issued
AO 2010-02 (West Virginia Republican Party). On March 11, the Commission adopted Advisory Opinion 2010-02. The Commission could not render an opinion on the first question posed in the advisory opinion request: whether the State party committee may use only the proceeds from the sale of its previous office building, which consist of non-Federal funds, to make payments on a lease that contains an option to purchase an office building. The second question posed in the advisory opinion request was whether the State party committee may use the proceeds from the sale of its previous office building to make payments on a land sales contract to purchase the building the contract. The Commission concluded that in principle, a State party committee may do so, subject to State law, but in the absence of a specific contract or more details the Commission could not determine whether the prospective land sales contract would qualify as a purchase of the office building under the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act). Under the Act, State and local committees of political parties may, subject to State law, use exclusively non-Federal funds for the purchase or construction of an office building for the State or local committee.
Advisory Opinions, Requests, Comments and Extensions are available here.
MURs 5712, 5799 – Senator John McCain; Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2007, the Commission dismissed the case against Schwarzenegger. In March 2009, the Commission voted 4-2 to dismiss the case using its prosecutorial discretion. A Statement of Reasons was issued by Chairman Matthew S. Petersen and Commissioners Caroline C. Hunter and Donald F. McGahn.*
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.
ADRs 495, 502 – Ciro Rodriguez for Congress and Luis R. Vera as Treasurer. The respondents agreed to implement compliance measures, send a representative to an FEC conference and pay a civil penalty of $6,000.
Utility Workers Union of America, Local 369, AFL-CIO v. FEC. Utility Workers filed a complaint with the Commission alleging that Covanta Energy Corporation solicited contributions for its federal PAC from employees outside its restricted class. The Commission found no reason to believe Covanta violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended, and dismissed the matter. Utility Workers filed a complaint with the District Court of the District of Columbia pursuant to 2 U.S.C. 437g(a)(8) seeking judicial review of the Commission’s dismissal. On March 8, the United States District Court of the District of Columbia issued an Opinion and Order finding that the Commission had failed to adequately explain its reasoning in dismissing the matter. The court remanded the case back to the Commission for further proceedings.
RULEMAKING AND AGENCY PROCEDURES
The Commission also opened discussion on the possible adoption of an interim enforcement policy on the “Volunteer Materials” Exemption, as it relates to certain campaign mailings, that would provide guidance on how the Commission intends to enforce the exemption from the definition of “contribution” and “expenditure” located in sections 100.87 and 100.147 of the Commission’s rules, 11 CFR 100.87 and 11 CFR 100.147. Specifically, the interim enforcement policy would provide guidance regarding payments by State and local committees of a political party for the costs of certain campaign materials used by such committees in connection with volunteer activities on behalf of nominees of the party.
CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS
March 8 – Texas Minor Party Pre-Conventions (Districts 1-6, 8-15, 17, 19, 21-28 and 31). Pre-Convention Disclosure reports were due. Click here for information on electronic filing.
March 8 – The Commission posted the filing deadlines for the Special General Election in Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District. Click here for information on reporting dates for this election.
On March 9-10, the FEC held a conference for Corporations and their PACs in Washington, DC.
Party Committees Report Slight Increase Overall in 2009 Receipts (issued March 8)
March 17: The Commission is scheduled to hold an Executive Session.
NEXT WEEK (MARCH 15 – 19)
March 16, Washington, D.C. FEC hearing on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Federal Officeholders' and Candidates' Participation in Nonfederal Fundraising Events. Comments from the public on this NPRM were due by February 8 and reply comments by February 22. Note: March 16 is the new hearing date, a change from the originally scheduled date of March 10.
March 23-24, New Orleans, LA. Regional Conference for Campaigns, Party Committees and Corporate/Labor/Trade PACs. This conference was previously scheduled for February 9-10. The seminar registration information and agenda are here.
April 7, Washington, Seminar for Nonconnected Committees. The seminar registration information and agenda are here.
The March supplements to the FEC’s Campaign Guides are here.
*The link to this document has been restored.