Luis M. Correa, et al. v. FEC (03-1208)
On September 30, 2003, the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico granted the plaintiffs' request to dismiss Luis M. Correa, et al. v. FEC with prejudice. The plaintiffs requested dismissal of their suit after reaching a settlement agreement with the Commission, pursuant to which the plaintiffs paid in full the fine assessed by the Commission.
On March 3, 2003, the Comité Jose Hernandez Mayoral Comisionado Residente, Inc., (the Committee) and its treasurer Luis M. Correa filed a petition in the U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico challenging the Commission's final determination that the Committee violated 2 U.S.C. §434(a) by failing to file its 2001 Year-End report in a timely manner and the assessment of a $1,000 civil money penalty. The plaintiffs' petition alleges that they were unable to file the report electronically by the January 31, 2002, deadline because of electronic data conversion and transmission problems for which the Commission was responsible.
On June 14, 2002, the Commission found reason to believe that the plaintiffs violated 2 U.S.C. §434(a) by failing to file the report in a timely manner and made an initial determination to assess a $1,000 civil money penalty. The plaintiffs filed a challenge to the preliminary determination and penalty on July 24, 2002.
On January 24, 2003, the Commission made its final determination that the Committee had violated 2 U.S.C. §434(a) and assessed the full $1,000 civil money penalty. The FEC Reviewing Officer, in recommending that the Commission make this final determination, found that the plaintiffs had failed to show that timely filing had been prevented by "extraordinary circumstances" beyond their control under 11 CFR 111.35.
The petition claims that, despite attempts to gain technical support from the Commission, the Committee did not receive adequate assistance with its electronic data problems until after the filing deadline. The plaintiffs claim that they were not responsible for the late filing because the Commission's technical support staff sent data to an incorrect e-mail account, and because the Commission's electronic filing system software could not accept Spanish characters.
The plaintiffs ask the court to set aside the Commission's final determination and penalty assessment.