Jill Stein for President Committee (the Committee) need not establish a separate, segregated account to raise funds designated as “other receipts” to pay administrative fines, but it may not use funds designated as “primary contributions” to pay those fines. The Committee may, however, use funds designated as “primary contributions” to make repayments to the United States Treasury.
Dr. Jill Stein was a candidate for the Green Party nomination for president in 2016 and designated Jill Stein for President Committee as her principal campaign committee. In April 2016, the Commission certified the Committee as eligible to receive primary matching funds from the United States Treasury. After the mandatory audit of candidates and committees receiving public funds for that election, the Commission determined that Dr. Stein and the Committee must repay $175,272 to the United States Treasury. In addition to the repayment determination, the Commission has assessed several administrative fines for the late filing of certain committee disclosure reports.
The Committee’s most recent report filed with the Commission shows cash on hand of $39,195.95. The funds in this account were solicited and accepted after the 2016 general election. The Committee designated them as either (1) “primary contributions” raised “to pay for current legal and administrative costs,” or (2) “other receipts” raised to pay administrative fines. The Committee asked whether a separate segregated bank account must be established for the receipt of qualified donations designated as “other receipts” to pay outstanding administrative fines. In addition, the Committee asked whether funds raised and designated as “primary contributions” can be used to pay administrative fines or make repayments to the United States Treasury.
No provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act), the Public Funding Act, or Commission regulations requires establishing a separate, segregated account for “other receipts.” Accordingly, the Committee is not required to establish a separate, segregated fund for “other receipts” raised to pay administrative fines.
Under Commission regulations, civil penalties, including administrative fines, may not be paid from “contributions or matching payments” that the committee received for its publicly financed primary campaign. As a result, the Committee’s “primary contributions” may not be used to pay administrative fines.
Lastly, the Public Funding Act states that “a candidate shall pay to the Secretary of the Treasury” the amount of any public fund overpayments or payments that the candidate used for purposes other than qualified expenses. Commission regulations further specify that such repayments “may be made only from the following sources: personal funds of the candidate, contributions and federal funds in the committee’s account(s), and any additional funds raised subject to the limitations and prohibitions” of the Act. As a result, the Committee’s “primary contributions” may be used to make repayments to the United States Treasury.
Date issued: June 9, 2022; Length: 5 pages
11 CFR § 9034.4(b)(4)
Non-qualified campaign expenses — Civil or Criminal Penalties