WASHINGTON – At its open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission approved an advisory opinion. The Commission did not approve proposed modifications to an existing program for requesting consideration of legal questions.
Advisory Opinion 2020-04 (Pray.com) The Commission approved an advisory opinion in response to a request from Pray.com, a for-profit corporation with a mobile application and website, that proposed inviting Members of Congress to produce five-minute audio and video statements discussing matters of faith that it would share with users of its digital platforms. The Commission concluded that posting the statements on the requestor’s platforms as proposed in the request would not result in coordinated communications or otherwise provide a prohibited corporate in-kind contribution to participating Members who are also candidates for federal office. The Commission received one comment on Draft A.
Proposed Modifications to Program for Requesting Consideration of Legal Questions by the Commission The Commission voted not to approve a draft Policy Statement outlining two modifications to the Commission’s nearly 10-year old Program. The first would have modified the Program’s informal resolution process and the second its timetable for responding to requests. The process provides a means for persons and entities to have the Commission consider a legal question earlier in the campaign finance report review process and the audit process.
Proposed Amendment to Directive 17 The Commission held over discussion of a 2016 Memorandum from the Acting General Counsel, which recommended amending the directive to provide for certification of tally votes in which fewer than four Commissioners cast affirmative votes and all the remaining Commissioners objected for the record. Currently, in such circumstances, the Commission Secretary is required to place the matters on the next meeting agenda.
Draft Statement of Policy Regarding Closing the File at the Initial Stage in the Enforcement Process The Commission held over discussion of a draft policy statement recommending that in matters where there are not four affirmative votes to take any of the actions set forth in the Commission’s policy regarding action at the initial stage of the enforcement process – find reason to believe a violation has occurred, dismiss the matter, dismiss the matter with admonishment, or find no reason to believe a violation has occurred – the file will be closed unless the Commission votes to keep the file open.
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.###