FEC v. Life Amendment PAC (88-0860 and 89-1429)
On June 15, 1989, the U.S. District Court for the District of Washington issued a final order and default judgment in FEC v. Life Amendment PAC, Inc. (Civil Action No. C88-860Z). The court declared that the committee and its treasurer, Rick Woodrow, had violated 2 U.S.C. §434(a) by failing to file six reports during 1985, 1986 and 1987. The court ordered Life PAC to pay a civil penalty of $30,000 ($5,000 for each missing report).
The court also found that Mr. Woodrow and Citizens Organized to Replace Kennedy (C.O.R.K.), a political committee of which he was also treasurer, had failed to disclose debts and obligations in three 1986 reports, in violation of 2 U.S.C. §434(b)(8). The court ordered C.O.R.K. and Mr. Woodrow to file the missing Schedules C and D and to pay a $5,000 civil penalty. Permanently enjoining the defendants from future similar violations of the election law, the court also ordered them to pay the FEC's costs in the action.
On January 24, 1990, in another suit, the court granted the FEC's motion for a final order and default judgment against Life PAC (No. C89-1429Z (originally C89-1429WD)). The court found that Life PAC and Mr. Woodrow, as treasurer, had committed several violations of the election law and regulations. Unless otherwise noted, the following violations were found in connection with Life PAC's 1983 and 1984 disclosure reports:
- Failing to maintain adequate records with respect to contributions received from individuals (2 U.S.C. §432(c) (1)-(3));
- Failing to retain the required records for three years (2 U.S.C. §432(d));
- Failing to keep adequate records of 129 disbursements, totaling $72,201 (2 U.S.C. §432(c)(5));
- Failing to maintain the committee's bank records for three years and failing to make those records available for audit, inspection or examination by the Commission (11 CFR 104.14(b));
- Misreporting the total amount of Life PAC's receipts and disbursements (2 U.S.C. §434(b) (2) and (4));
- Failing to properly itemize disbursements for operating expenditures (2 U.S.C. §434(b) (5));
- Failing to properly disclose disbursements made in connection with independent expenditures (2 U.S.C. §434(b)(6));
- Failing to properly and continuously disclose the committee's outstanding debts and obligations (2 U.S.C. §434(b)(8) and 11 CFR 104.11); and
- In the committee's 1987 mid-year report, failing to identify contributors (2 U.S.C. §434(b)(3) (A) and (B)).
For the violations cited above, the court ordered the defendants to pay a $55,000 civil penalty.
The court further declared that the defendants had knowingly and willfully committed the following violations:
- Failing to maintain adequate records with respect to contributions received from individuals in 1985 and 1986 (2 U.S.C. §432(c)(1)-(3));
- Failing to preserve the required records for three years (2 U.S.C. §432(d));
- Failing to keep bank records for 1985 and 1986 for at least three years and failing to make those records available for audit, inspection or examination by the FEC (11 CFR 104.14(b)); and
- Failing to file four monthly reports on time from April through July 1988 (2 U.S.C. §434(a)(4) (B)).
For these knowing and willful violations, the court ordered the defendants to pay a civil penalty of $70,000, to amend and correct their reports and to pay the Commission's court costs. The defendants were permanently enjoined from future similar violations of the law.
Motion for contempt
On September 11, 1992, the court held defendants in the above cases in civil contempt of court for failing to comply with the court's earlier judgments against them.
Under the contempt orders, defendants in each suit must pay an additional penalty of $100 per month until they comply with the earlier order. The defendants were also ordered to pay the FEC up to a maximum of $1,000 as reimbursement for the agency's costs.