WASHINGTON – At its open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission approved an interim final rule on independent expenditure reporting, an advisory opinion, and a Preliminary Final Audit Report. The Commission held over two advisory opinion requests, and, prior to the meeting, it made an initial determination denying eligibility to receive primary election public funds.
Proposed Interim Final Rule: Independent Expenditure Reporting The Commission approved a proposed Interim Final Rule to remove a regulation requiring that certain persons making independent expenditures disclose on their reports the identification of each person who made a contribution over $200 to the persons filing such reports “for the purpose of furthering the reported independent expenditure.” The Commission adopted the proposed Interim Final Rule to comply with the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which affirmed a district court decision holding that the disclosure regulation was invalid. Chairman Allen Dickerson and Commissioners Sean J. Cooksey and James E. “Trey” Trainor, III issued a statement.
Initial Determination on Eligibility to Receive Primary Election Public Funds - Howie Hawkins, Howie Hawkins 2020 Prior to the meeting, the Commission approved on tally vote an Initial Determination that Hawkins, a 2020 candidate for U.S. President, is not eligible to receive payments of matching funds, as recommended by the Office of General Counsel. The Commission also approved a notice explaining that it reached this conclusion because Hawkins could not certify that he was seeking the nomination of a political party in more than one state to be its presidential candidate in the 2020 presidential election at the time he presented the threshold submission more than a year after the general election.
Advisory Opinion Request 2022-05 (DSCC) The Commission held over an advisory opinion request from the DSCC, a national political party committee that plans to hire a consultant to write a research book regarding a sitting U.S. senator and to use the book both to inform its own strategy in that senator’s state and to provide the book to two candidates for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in that state.
Draft Advisory Opinion 2022-03 (Democracy Engine) The Commission discussed and held over Advisory Opinion Request 2022-03 in response to a request from Democracy Engine, LLC, which asked whether (1) corporations may use Democracy Engine’s web platform to solicit and track contributions from members of a corporation’s restricted class to federal candidates and political committees and (2) corporations and their separate segregated funds may use Democracy Engine’s web platform to solicit and track contributions from the general public to federal candidates and political committees. The Commission received a comment on the draft from the requestor and during the discussion, the Commission heard from Counsel for the requestor.
Draft Advisory Opinion 2022-04 (Jill Stein for President Committee) The Commission approved Advisory Opinion 2022-04 in response to a request from the Jill Stein for President Committee concerning the use of Committee funds raised after the general election in 2016 to pay outstanding administrative fines to the Commission or to make repayments to the United States Treasury. The Commission concluded that that (1) the Committee need not establish a separate, segregated account to raise funds designated as “other receipts” to pay administrative fines, (2) the Committee may not use funds designated as primary contributions to pay administrative fines, and (3) the Committee may use funds designated as primary contributions to make repayments to the United States Treasury. During the discussion, the Commission heard from the requestor and Counsel for the requestor.
Proposed Final Audit Report on Mike Braun for Indiana The Commission approved the Proposed Final Audit Report on Mike Braun for Indiana, covering campaign finance activity between August 7, 2017 and December 31, 2018. The Commission approved findings concerning misstatement of financial activity, failure to file 48-Hour Notices, disclosure of occupation and/or name of employer, receipt of apparent prohibited contributions-loans, and disclosure of memo entries and candidate loans. The Commission included receipt of contributions in excess of the limit and prohibited candidate personal loan repayments in the Additional Issues section. The Commission voted on a motion made at the table to include a finding that the committee received $732,429 in excessive contributions from individuals that remained after taking into account the Supreme Court’s FEC v. Cruz decision, but did not have the requisite four affirmative votes either to approve that finding or to include a statement regarding that vote in the Additional Issues section.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.###