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Weekly Digests


For Immediate Release
Contact:
Judith Ingram
March 24, 2017   Christian Hilland
    Julia Queen
     
PDF
pdf version of this Weekly Digest   ISSUE 2017-12

Weekly Digest
Week of March 20 - 24

COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS

On March 21, the Commission held an executive session.

On March 23, the Commission held an open meeting and an executive session.

ADVISORY OPINIONS

Advisory Opinion Request 2016-23 (Socialist Workers Party). On March 23, the Commission held over discussion of several drafts in response to an advisory opinion request from the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The SWP and Socialist Workers Campaign Committee request that the Commission extend the partial reporting exemption provided in earlier advisory opinions to the Socialist Workers Party.

Request Received

Advisory Opinion Request 2017-01 (American Urological Association). On March 22, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2017-01 (American Urological Association). The requestor asks whether it is no longer affiliated with the American Association of Clinical Urologists. The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following publication of the request (no later than April 3) and must issue a response no later than 60 days after the receipt of the complete request, that is, by May 22, 2017.

ENFORCEMENT

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

MUR 6128
COMPLAINANT: James Lucas
RESPONDENTS: Craig for U.S. Senate and Kaye O’Riordan, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Larry E. Craig
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that former U.S. Senator Larry Craig improperly used in excess of $213,000 of campaign funds for personal use for legal expenses that were not incurred in connection with his duties as an officeholder.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found probable cause to believe Craig and the Committee improperly converted campaign funds to personal use and, not successfully conciliating with Craig and the Committee, initiated litigation in 2012. The United States District Court for the District of Columbia granted the Commission summary judgment in the case in 2014, and in 2016 the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld that ruling. The District Court ordered Craig and the Committee to pay $242,535 to the U.S. Treasury, consisting of a disgorgement of $197,535 and a civil penalty of $45,000.

MURs 6639 and 7055
COMPLAINANT: Jody Young; and FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENT: Gary Johnson 2012, Inc. and Christina Needham, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: In the normal course of exercising its supervisory responsibilities, and in response to a complaint, the Commission initiated proceedings to determine whether there was reason to believe the Committee (1) failed to disclose $447,567 in debts and obligations owed to nine vendors and (2) used general election contributions for primary election expenses.
DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Committee to pay a civil penalty of $10,000.

MUR 7064
COMPLAINANT: Aaron Hedlund
RESPONDENTS: Patriots for America and Adam C. McLain, in his official capacity as treasurer (Patriots); Adam C. McLain; and Franklin and Lee, Inc.
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Patriots, an independent expenditure-only committee registered with the Commission, failed to disclose receipts or disbursements in its 2015 Year-End Report, despite making disbursements during that year. The complaint alleged further that Patriots’ 2016 April Quarterly Report listed no contributions but showed $84,250 in “other federal receipts,” all from Franklin and Lee, a social welfare organization founded by McClain, and that Franklin and Lee was a shell organization formed to obfuscate Patriots’ donors.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter. The Commission observed that Patriots disclosed the $84,250 in receipts, albeit on the wrong line, and later corrected the error, and that it had spent its funds on a state, not a federal election.

MUR 7117
COMPLAINANT: Nelson D. Diaz, Chairman, Republican Party of Miami-Dade County
RESPONDENT: Joe Garcia for Congress and Roland Sanchez-Medina, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee filed its July 2016 July Quarterly Report one day late. Garcia was a 2016 candidate for Florida’s 26th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in consideration of Commission priorities. The Commission observed that the Committee apparently attempted to file the form in a timely manner, took swift remedial action, and filed the form one day late.

AUDITS

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Colorado Republican Committee. On March 23, the Commission held over discussion of the Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Colorado Republican Committee, covering activity between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2012. The findings in the memorandum relate to the misstatement of financial activity, reporting of apparent independent expenditures, recordkeeping for communications, and failure to itemize debts and obligations.

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on Kind for Congress Committee. On March 23, prior to the meeting, the Commission approved the Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Kind for Congress Committee, covering campaign finance activity between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2014. The Commission approved a finding related to the untimely deposit of receipts.

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Kansas Democratic Party. On March 23, prior to the meeting, the Commission approved the Audit Division Recommendation on the Kansas Democratic Party covering campaign finance activity between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012. The Commission approved findings related to the misstatement of financial activity, recordkeeping for employees, reporting of debts and obligations, and Levin Funds activity.

LITIGATION

CREW v. FEC (Case 1:15-cv-02038-RC). On March 21, the Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

CREW, et al. v. FEC (Case 1:16-cv-00259-BAH). On March 22, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order.

RULEMAKING AND AGENCY PROCEDURES

Petition to Amend 11 C.F.R. 110.13(c) from Level the Playing Field – Draft Supplemental Notice of Disposition. On March 23, the Commission approved a Supplemental Notice of Disposition of Petition for Rulemaking, declining to initiate a rulemaking at this time. The petition asked the Commission to conduct a rulemaking proceeding to revise its regulations governing criteria for inclusion of candidates in presidential and vice presidential general election debates. Commissioner Lee E. Goodman issued a Concurring Statement.

REG 2014-10, Implementing the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, and REG 2016-03, Political Party Rules. On March 23, the Commission discussed a resolution introduced by Commissioner Goodman to open a rulemaking with respect to political parties, consistent with two petitions for rulemaking.

FEC Email Management Policy. On March 23, the Commission discussed a revised email management policy for the agency, reflecting updated records management guidance from the National Archives.

OUTREACH

On March 22, Counsel to Commissioner Goodman, Mike Columbo, and Counsel to Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub, Tom Moore, spoke about campaign finance issues and the FEC with two high school student-researchers. The students are taking part in the 45th annual Washington Seminar Field Study Program.

On March 23, Commissioner Weintraub participated on a panel at “The Administrative Law Review 2017 Symposium” presented by the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC.

REPORTS

On March 22, the Commission’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) made public its Review of Outstanding Recommendations as of February 2017.

Chief FOIA Officer Report. On March 23, the Commission discussed the 2017 report of the Chief FOIA Officer to the United States Department of Justice, describing steps taken by the agency to improve the Commission’s compliance with the Freedom of Information Act and transparency.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS

On March 20: March Monthly Reports were due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2017 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

PRESS RELEASES

FEC Approves Draft Supplemental Notice of Disposition of Petition for Rulemaking and Two Audit Division Recommendation Memorandums (issued March 23)

UPCOMING COMMISSION MEETINGS AND HEARINGS

March 29: The Commission is scheduled to hold an executive session.

April 19:  The Commission is scheduled to hold an executive session.

April 20: 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.

JOIN THE FEC ON TWITTER AND YOUTUBE IN 2017

Follow@FEC on Twitter to receive the latest information on agency updates, news releases, and weekly activity. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, FECTube: FECConnect on Demand, to watch instructional videos that have been designed to help candidates and committees comply with federal campaign finance laws. Note that the FEC is not currently available through other social media platforms at this time. The use of the agency’s logo, name, and likeness on other mediums has not been authorized by the FEC.

UPCOMING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS

March 29: Member/Labor Organization Webinar. Additional information is available on the Educational Outreach page of the Commission website.

April 26: Trade Association Webinar. Additional information is available on the Educational Outreach page of the Commission website.

UPCOMING REPORTING DUE DATES

April 15: April Quarterly Reports are due. For information on quarterly reporting dates, refer to the 2017 Quarterly Reporting page of the Commission website.

April 20: April Monthly Reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2017 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

The Commission has posted the filing deadlines for Special General Election in Montana’s At-Large Congressional District. For information on reporting dates for this election, refer to the Special Election Report Notice.

DISCLOSURE INITIATIVES

Commission staff, together with our partners at 18F, continue to add new features to the agency's beta.fec.gov website. The Commission encourages website visitors to submit comments and questions by clicking on the “Feedback” tab at the bottom of each page.

ADDITIONAL RESEARCH MATERIALS

The Official 2016 Presidential General Election Results are available in the Library section of the website. This listing was compiled from the official vote totals published by state election offices.

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

The latest edition of the Combined Federal State Disclosure and Election Directory is available in the Public Records section of the Commission website. This publication identifies the federal and state agencies responsible for the disclosure of campaign finances, lobbying, personal finances, public financing, candidates on the ballot, election results, spending on state initiatives and other financial filings.

The Commission has published the March Record newsletter. Sign up to receive email notification when new Record articles are posted.

The latest edition of Title 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations can be downloaded from the website. To order printed copies, call (800) 424-9530 (press 6) or send an email to info@fec.gov.

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