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Weekly Digest

 

For Immediate Release

Contact

Judith Ingram

August 27, 2010

Julia Queen
  Christian Hilland
  Mary Brandenberger
   
 

ISSUE 2010-34

                       

Weekly Digest

Week of August 23 – 27

COMMISSION MEETINGS

On August 24, the Commission held an Executive Session. Sunshine Act Notices for Executive Sessions are here.

On August 26, the Commission held an Open Meeting. Agendas and related documents for Open Meetings are here. Audio recordings for selected meetings, hearings and presentations are here.

ADVISORY OPINIONS

Advisory Opinions Issued

AO 2010-14 (DSCC). On August 26, the Commission approved Advisory Opinion 2010-14 (DSCC).  The Commission concluded that the Democratic Senatorial Committee (DSCC) may use its recount funds to pay for recount-related expenses that the Committee will incur before the general election, and may allocate the cost of certain expenses attributable to both recount and campaign activities between the main account it uses for campaign activities and its recount fund.

AO 2010-15 (Pike for Congress). On August 26, the Commission approved Advisory Opinion 2010-15 (Pike for Congress). The Commission concluded that Pike for Congress may refund $440,000 in contributions made by Douglas Pike, a 2010 primary election candidate for Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, to the candidate. The contributions were made before the primary election, but were not expressly designated for either the primary or the general election. Pike is not a candidate in the general election and requested a refund of the contributions.

Advisory Opinions and Requests are available here.

ENFORCEMENT

The Commission made public two closed cases and one Statement of Reasons. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

MUR 6261 – Hoosiers Supporting Buyer for Congress and Douglas E. Raderstorf, in his official capacity as treasurer; Congressman Stephen Buyer; Frontier Foundation, Inc., and Storm Chasers PAC and Stephanie Mattix, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act).

MUR 5908– Duncan Hunter; Hunter for President, Inc. and Bruce Young, in his official capacity as treasurer; and Peace through Strength PAC and Meredith G. Kelley, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission decided to take no further action. A Statement of Reasons was issued by Chairman Matthew S. Petersen and Commissioners Caroline C. Hunter, Donald F. McGahn, Steven T. Walther and Ellen L. Weintraub.

AUDIT REPORTS

The Commission approved issuance of and made public two Audit Reports. A summary of the findings is below.

AFL-CIO COPE PCC. The audit determined that the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Political Contributions Committee (AFL-CIO COPE PCC) followed appropriate reporting practices for transfers received from the Communications Workers of America Committee on Political Education Political Contributions Committee (CWA-COPE PCC)and another separate segregated fund.AFL-CIO COPE PCC filed amended reports to correct a misstatement of cash on hand and disbursements.

CWA COPE PCC. The audit found that the Communications Workers of America Committee on Political Education Political Contributions Committee (CWA-COPE PCC) followed appropriate reporting practices for transfers made to AFL-CIO COPE PCC.

LITIGATION

Beam v. FEC. (formerly Beam v. Gonzales). On August 25, the trial in the Beam case began.   Plaintiffs allege that the Commission violated the Right to Financial Privacy Act.

Citizens For Responsibility And Ethics In Washington (CREW) v. FEC. On August 11, CREW filed a complaint in United States District Court for the District of Columbia pursuant to 2 U.S.C. 437g(a)(8) seeking judicial review of the Commission’s dismissal of MUR 5908.  The complaint also alleges that the FEC fails to provide timely explanations for dismissing complaints.

Ralph Nader v. FEC. On August 23, the Commission filed an Answer to Nader’s complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Nader alleges that the Commission wrongfully dismissed his administrative complaint against individuals and entities associated with the Democratic National Committee, which he accused of engaging in a coordinated effort to deny him and his vice presidential running mate ballot access in numerous states.

RULEMAKING AND AGENCY PROCEDURES

On August 26, the Commission approved the Final Rules and Explanation and Justification for Coordinated Communications. The Final Rules add a new standard to the content prong of the coordination rules to cover public communications that are the functional equivalent of express advocacy. The final rules do not alter the conduct prong of the coordination rules, but provide further justification for retaining the 120-day time period in the common vendor and former employee conduct standards. The final rules adopt a new safe harbor for certain commercial and business communications. These final rules were promulgated in response to the decision of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Shays v. FEC, 528 F.3d 914 (D.C. Cir. 2008). The Final Rules go into effect on December 1, 2010.

Commissioner Steven T. Walther dissented in these Final Rules and issued a statement.

On August 26, the Commission approved the Final Rules for the Definition of Federal Election Activity. The final rules revise the definitions of “voter registration activity” and “get-out-the-vote activity” (GOTV) to cover activities that urge, encourage or assist potential voters to register to vote, regardless of whether the message is delivered individually or to a group of people via mass communication. Brief, incidental exhortations to register to vote are exempt from the new definitions. The final rules clarify that certain voter identification and GOTV activities conducted solely in connection with a non-Federal election are not subject to the Commission’s Federal election activity regulations and provide that certain de minimis activities are not subject to the Federal election activity funding restrictions. These final rules were promulgated in response to the decision of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in Shays v. FEC, 528 F.3d 914 (D.C. Cir. 2008). The Final Rules go into effect on December 1, 2010.

OUTREACH

On August 26, Communications Specialist Isaac Baker met with representatives from the U.S. Army Claims Service to discuss the Commission's role in regulating campaign finance in federal elections. The Army Claims Service is the administrative claims authority for the Army.

IT INITIATIVES

This week the Commission made an addition to its Recent Developments in the Law web page regarding nonfederal fundraising by federal candidates and officeholders. The addition is an FAQ list and an overview of new regulations with examples on nonfederal fundraising by federal candidates and officeholders.

PRESS RELEASES

FEC Adopts Final Rules on Coordinated Communications and Federal Election Activity, Approves Two Advisory Opinions (issued August 27)

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS

August 23:  Guam Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES

August 30:  US Virgin Islands Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

September 2:  District of Columbia Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

September 2:  Delaware Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

September 2:  Massachusetts Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

September 2:  Maryland Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

September 2:  Minnesota Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

September 2:  New Hampshire Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

September 2:  New York Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

September 2:  Rhode Island Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

September 2:  Vermont Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

September 2:  Wisconsin Pre-Primary Reports are due. For information on reporting dates for this election, click here.

UPCOMING EVENTS

September 15, Washington, DC.  FEC Roundtable Workshop on Pre-Election Communications. Registration information and schedule are here.

October 6, Washington, DC.  FEC Roundtable Workshop on Reporting Requirements. Registration information and schedule are here.


OTHER RESOURCES


The August issue of The Record is here. Sign up here to receive email notification when a new issue of the Record is posted.

The monthly supplements to the FEC’s Campaign Guides are here.