FEC v. Working Names
On May 19, 1988, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted the FEC's motion for a default judgment against Working Names, Inc., a corporation that provides mailing list services, and the corporation's president, Meyer T. Cohen.
The FEC had filed a motion for the default judgment in April 1988, after the defendants had violated the terms of a conciliation agreement entered into with the FEC in September 1986. Under the terms of the conciliation agreement, the defendants had agreed to pay a $2,000 civil penalty for violating 438(a)(4) of the election law and section 104.15 of FEC regulations. Specifically, the defendants had rented to two organizations a mailing list containing a name obtained from a listing of contributors disclosed on an FEC report. Under the election laws names of contributors (other than political committees) that are disclosed on FEC reports may not be copied and used for commercial or solicitation purposes.
The court ordered the defendants to comply with the terms of the conciliation agreement within 15 days of the court's judgment. The court further decreed that the defendants pay $2,000 for violating the terms of the conciliation agreement and awarded the Commission its costs for the litigation. The court also permanently enjoined the defendants from future violations of the election law.
FEC's contempt petition
On May 10, 1990, after defendants had paid only $100 toward the $4,000 in assessed penalties, the court granted the FEC's petition to hold the defendants in contempt of court for failing to pay the civil penalties assessed in the previous year's default judgment. The court ordered defendants to pay the prior penalties plus $75 per day for each day the assessments remain unpaid. The late charge was to increase to $150 per day after June 17, 1990. Additionally, defendants had to pay interest on the unpaid civil penalties and court costs.
On February 28, 1991, the court issued a consent order in which defendants agreed to pay $15,000 to settle the dispute. The order declared that defendants had violated the sale and use restrictions and permanently enjoined them from further violations of the law. The Commission agreed to waive the accumulated contempt penalties and additional costs awarded in May 1990.