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FEC v. Charles Woods for U.S. Senate



On January 16, 1998, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada ordered Charles Woods, two of his corporations, and Charles Woods for U.S. Senate (the Committee) to pay the FEC $50,000 for violating the Federal Election Campaign Act's (the Act's) ban on corporate contributions, and for failing to file 48-hour notices for $28,000 in contributions that came in during the waning days of the 1992 primary campaign. The court also issued a permanent injunction against future violations.


The court granted the FEC's motion for summary judgment and imposed the civil penalty because of the extent of the violations and the unambiguous nature of the sections of the Act in question in this case.

The Committee served as the principal campaign committee for Mr. Woods, who was seeking the 1992 Democratic nomination for the Senate in Nevada . During the election cycle, Quinn River Ranch, which was wholly owned by Mr. Woods, contributed $290,000 to the Committee. A subsidiary of another corporation that Mr. Woods owned, WTVY-FM, also made an impermissible contribution when it used its American Express credit card to charge $1,426.23 in expenses for the Committee.

The Act at §441b(a) prohibits corporations from making contributions in connection with a federal election, and prohibits political committees from accepting such contributions. Both Quinn River Ranch and WTVY were wholly owned by Mr. Woods. Nonetheless, the Act makes no distinction for closely-held corporations when applying the 441b(a) prohibition. The statute makes it unlawful for "any corporation whatever" to make contributions in connection with a federal election.

The law also provides for the timely filing of disclosure reports with the Commission for contributions received after the 20th day but more than 48 hours before an election. 2 U.S.C. §434(a)(6)(A).

Source:   FEC RecordMarch 1998