The Commission requests public comment on a proposed enforcement policy designed to encourage committees and other persons to self-report possible violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act). These self-reported violations—also known as “sua sponte” submissions—are generally resolved more quickly and result in lower civil penalties than matters arising by other means, such as complaints or the Commission’s own review of reports.
The Commission’s proposed policy seeks to increase the number of sua sponte submissions in order to expedite the enforcement process and decrease the number of litigation and enforcement matters that the Commission must address. The proposal details the various factors the Commission may consider in deciding how to proceed regarding sua sponte submissions. The factors include the nature of the violation, the extent of corrective action and new self-governance measures taken by the respondent, and the level of cooperation and disclosure with the Commission once the violation has been reported.
Based on its consideration of these factors, the Commission may choose to reduce the amount of the civil money penalty it would otherwise have sought in the enforcement process. The respondent would have to meet several criteria in order to receive such a reduction. The amount of reduction would be decided by the Commission and generally would not be available to respondents whose violations already were the subject of a criminal or other government investigation.
Additionally, a limited number of cases of self-reported violations may be subject to an expedited “FastTrack Resolution,” (FTR) which may be granted at the Commission’s discretion. These FTR cases would allow respondents an opportunity to resolve certain matters short of the Commission finding that there is reason to believe a violation of the Act has occurred. Respondents eligible for the FTR process may negotiate a conciliation agreement before the Commission makes any formal findings in the matter.
The Commission asks that members of the regulated community and other interested persons submit comments either by e-mail or written letter. E-mail comments should be sent to selfreportpolicy@fec. gov and must include the full name, e-mail address and mailing address of the commenter. Written comments should be sent to the Federal Election Commission, 999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20463, ATTN: Mark Shonkwiler. Comments must be received by January 29, 2007. The proposed policy regarding the selfreporting of violations is available on the Commission’s web site at http://transition.fec.gov/law/policy/suasponte/notice_2006-20.pdf.