FEC v. Populist Party (88-0127)
On March 22, 1989, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a final consent order and judgment in FEC v. Populist Party (Civil Action No. 88-0127). By the terms of the consent order, the court declared that the Populist Party, a political committee, and Willis Carto, acting as treasurer, violated the election law and regulations by:
- Failing to file 1985 mid-year and year-end reports on time (2 U.S.C. §434(a)(4)(A)(iv));
- Failing to file, in a timely manner, amended Statements of Organization reflecting Mr. Carto's role as treasurer of the committee and a change in the committee's campaign depository (2 U.S.C. §433(c));
- Failing to file, in a timely manner, quarterly reports for April, July and October 1986 (2 U.S.C. §434(a)(4)(A)(i));
- Failing to file in a timely manner, a 1986 post-general election report (2 U.S.C. §434(a)(4)(A)(iii));
- Failing to disclose in any report the purpose of approximately $8,000 in operating expenditures made to one payee (2 U.S.C. §434(a)(4)(A)(iii));
- Failing to disclose, in a timely manner, the receipt of a $500 contribution from an individual (2 U.S.C. §434(b)(3)(A));
- Failing to disclose and continuously report certain outstanding debts and obligations, amounting to approximately $299,817 (2 U.S.C. §434(b)(8), 11 CFR 104.11); and
- Knowingly accepting corporate contributions (2 U.S.C. §441b(a)).
The court also found that the corporations had violated the law in making contributions to the committee. The Spotlight, a weekly newspaper, and its owner, Cordite Fidelity, Inc., had made $10,479 in prohibited corporate contributions; Liberty Lobby, Inc., had contributed $7,500. The court also found that Mr. Carto, in his capacity as a director or officer of both corporations (in addition to being treasurer of the Populist Party), had violated 2 U.S.C. §441b(a) by consenting to the corporate disbursements.
The consent order required the defendants Populist Party, Liberty Lobby, Inc., Cordite Fidelity, Inc., The Spotlight and Mr. Carto, both personally and as treasurer of the Populist Party, to pay a civil penalty of $20,000 within 20 days; the defendants were jointly and severally liable for the payment. The court also permanently enjoined the defendants from similar future violations of the election law.
Source: FEC Record — May 1989