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FEC v. Californians for a Strong America (88-6449)


On June 22, 1989, the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California issued a final order and default judgment in FEC v. Californians for a Strong America. (Civil Action No. CV-88-6449-AWT(Ex).) The court decreed that the committee and its treasurer, Albert J. Cook, had violated the election law by:

  • Failing to file a 1987 mid-year report on time (2 U.S.C. §434(a)(4)(A)(iv));
  • Failing to properly report independent expenditures incurred for radio and television advertisements and fundraising letters advocating the defeat of Senator Alan Cranston in the 1986 Senate election in California (2 U.S.C. §434(b)(6)(B)(iii)); and
  • Failing to include a disclaimer notice in at least five solicitation letters (2 U.S.C. §441d(a)(3)).

The court ordered the defendants to comply with the law's reporting requirements within 15 days of the judgment and to pay a civil penalty of $15,000 ($5,000 for each violation). The court also ordered the defendants to pay the FEC's court costs and to refrain from future similar violations of the election law.

Contempt ruling

On August 13, 1993, the district court held defendants in contempt of court for failing to pay the two $15,000 civil penalties stemming from this and a previous case (No. 88-1554, summarized in the preceding column). By then, the penalties had been outstanding for over three years. In both cases, defendants never responded to the FEC's suits, and the judgments were by default. Defendants also failed to file responses or appear before the court in the contempt proceedings.

The court ordered defendants to pay the penalties, plus accrued back interest, by August 31, 1993. Thereafter, they were to pay an additional $100 per day until they completed payment. Furthermore, if they failed to make full payment by September 30, the court said it would issue a warrant for the arrest of Mr. Cook.

Source:   FEC RecordOctober 1993; September 1989