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Weekly Digests


For Immediate Release
Contact:
Judith Ingram
January 22, 2016   Christian Hilland
    Julia Queen
     
PDF
.pdf version of this Weekly Digest   ISSUE 2016-04
     

Weekly Digest
Week of January 18 – 22

COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS

No Commission open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.

ENFORCEMENT

The Commission made public five closed cases and two Statements of Reasons, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

MUR 6612  
COMPLAINANTS: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington; and Melanie Sloan
RESPONDENT: Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS) failed to report and include disclaimers on five independent expenditures.  
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. Commissioners Ann M. Ravel and Ellen L. Weintraub issued a Statement of Reasons.

MUR 6696
COMPLAINANTS: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington; Melanie Sloan; and Nicholas Mezlak
RESPONDENTS: Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies; Steven Law; Karl Rove; Haley Barbour; and Caleb Crosby
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies (Crossroads GPS) failed to disclose donors in certain independent expenditure reports to the Commission. The complaint alleged further that Crossroads GPS was aware of its obligation to disclose the donors and that Law, Rove, Barbour and Crosby conspired to prevent disclosure of the donors’ identities.
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. Commissioners Ravel and Weintraub issued a Statement of Reasons.

MUR 6771  
COMPLAINANT: Dave Buell
RESPONDENTS: Sue Lowden for US Senate and Chris Marston, in his official capacity as treasurer
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Sue Lowden for US Senate and Marston, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee), failed to report an approximately $78,000 debt owed to a vendor. Lowden was a 2010 candidate for Nevada’s United States Senate seat.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter. The Commission observed that the Committee disclosed the alleged debt at the time it was incurred and amended all of its disclosure reports to reflect the disputed debt, and that the Committee was essentially defunct and planning to terminate.

MUR 6849
COMPLAINANT: Jane A. Deterding
RESPONDENTS: Todd Tiahrt; Kansans for Tiahrt and George Bruce, in his official capacity as treasurer; Kansans for Responsible Government and Willis “Wink” Hartman, in his official capacity as treasurer; Hartman Oil Company, Inc.; Willis “Wink” Harman; Michael O’Donnell; PostNet; and Jim Anderson
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Kansans for Responsible Government and Hartman, in his official capacity as treasurer (KRG), made and Kansans for Tiahrt and Bruce, in his official capacity as treasurer (Tiahrt Committee), accepted excessive or prohibited in-kind contributions when KRG coordinated a radio advertisement. The complaint alleged further that (1) KRG republished Tiahrt Committee campaign materials; (2) an employee of a company owned by Hartman republished a Tiahrt Committee communication through Twitter; (3) KRG failed to disclose expenditures for a poll; and (4) KRG failed to include a full disclaimer on a radio advertisement supporting Tiahrt.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegations that certain respondents made, and the Tiahrt Committee received, an unlawful contribution in connection with the radio advertisement at issue. The Commission found no reason to believe that KRG, O’Donnell or Hartman Oil, Inc. committed violations in connection with the alleged republication of campaign materials because O’Donnell did not republish any statement that originated from Tiahrt’s campaign materials. The Commission found no reason to believe that KRG failed to report its disbursements for the poll because KRG disclosed disbursements for “marketing services” that appear to have been for the poll in question. Finally, the Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegation that KRG failed to include required information in the disclaimer of the radio advertisement.

MUR 6896  
COMPLAINANT: Cheryl Reynolds
RESPONDENTS: Margie Wakefield for Kansas and Doni Mooberry Slough, in her official capacity as treasurer; and Margie Wakefield
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Wakefield and Margie Wakefield for Kansas and Slough, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee), produced and distributed yard signs lacking appropriate disclaimers. Wakefield was a 2014 candidate for Kansas’s 2nd Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter as to the Committee. The Commission observed that the Committee took remedial action by having labels bearing the requisite “paid for by” language affixed to the signs. The Commission found no reason to believe Wakefield was responsible for the missing disclaimers since there was no evidence to that effect.

MUR 6509  – Friends of Herman Cain, Inc., and Mark J. Block, in his official capacity as treasurer; and Prosperity USA, Inc. Chairman Matthew S. Petersen and Commissioners Caroline C. Hunter and Lee E. Goodman issued a Statement of Reasons.

LITIGATION

Holmes, et al. v. FEC (Case 15-5120). On January 21, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit heard oral argument.
 
Level the Playing Field, et al. v. FEC (Case 1:15-cv-01397-TSC). On January 19, the Commission filed its Answer to Plaintiffs' Second Amended Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.  

Miller v. FEC (formerly Wagner, et al. v. FEC). On January 19, the United States Supreme Court issued an Order denying the petition for a writ of certiorari.

Pursuing America's Greatness v. FEC (Case 15-5264). On January 20, the Appellants filed a Reply Brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.  

Van Hollen v. FEC (Case 15-5016 &15-5017). On January 21, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion, judgment and order.   

OUTREACH
 
On January 21, Commissioner Ann M. Ravel discussed campaign finance enforcement and the role of the Federal Election Commission at the Brookings Institution's "Solutions Summit: The Future of Campaign Finance" in Washington, DC.

PRESS RELEASES
 
Federal Election Commission Certifies Federal Matching Funds for O’Malley (UPDATE) (issued January 20)

Court of Appeals Issues Opinion in Van Hollen v. FEC (issued January 21)

EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

On January 20, the Commission hosted Webinars for Candidate Committees on Year-End Reporting and FECFile.  

UPCOMING COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS

January 26, 2016: The Commission is scheduled to hold an executive session.

January 28, 2016: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.

Meeting dates are subject to change. Please contact the Press Office the week of the scheduled meeting for confirmation.
 
UPCOMING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS
 
February 24, 2016: Webinar for Political Party Committees. Additional information is available on the Educational Outreach page of the Commission website.

UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES
 
January 31, 2016: Year-End Reports are due. For information on general election reporting dates, refer to the 2016 Reporting Dates page of the Commission website.

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH MATERIALS
 
Additional research materials about the agency, campaign finance information and election results are available through the Library section of the Commission website.  
 

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