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FEC approves amended Audit Division recommendation memorandum, approves advisory opinion, and agrees to commence work on party rulemaking

May 25, 2017

WASHINGTON – At its open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission approved an Amended Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum and an advisory opinion, and reached consensus to begin drafting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on political party rules.

At the start of the meeting today, Chairman Steven T. Walther noted that, in view of external events, questions have been raised with respect to the role of the Federal Election Commission concerning allegations of foreign influence in the American political process. The Chairman asked the Staff Director and other members of the staff to develop a web portal that will assemble all campaign finance information, advisory opinions, enforcement matters, and existing educational materials in this area in order to facilitate a better understanding by members of the public. He also noted that the Commissioners unanimously agreed last September to direct the Office of General Counsel “to prioritize cases involving allegations of foreign influence.” He also called upon the Office of General Counsel and other Commission staff to apply their resources, including providing adequate staffing, to continue to fulfill that priority and to further the agency’s regulatory, educational, and enforcement work in this area.

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on Ted Cruz for Senate. Prior to the meeting, the Commission approved on tally an Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on Ted Cruz for Senate, covering financial activity between January 18, 2011, and December 31, 2012. The memorandum disclosed a finding and recommendation related to the reporting and disclosure of candidate loans.

Resubmission: Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Colorado Republican Committee. The Commission approved the resubmitted Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Colorado Republican Committee, covering financial activity between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012, as amended at the table. The memorandum disclosed findings and recommendations related to the misstatement of financial activity, reporting of apparent independent expenditures, recordkeeping for communications, and failure to itemize debts and obligations.

Advisory Opinion 2017-02 (War Chest, LLC). The Commission issued an advisory opinion in response to a request from War Chest, LLC. The Commission concluded that the requestor may provide political committees with a web-based deposit program but that the political committees participating in the program may not use the requestor’s trust account or sub-investment money market accounts as campaign depositories. Political committees participating in the program would deposit funds into an account; the funds would subsequently be transferred to money market deposit accounts at banks insured with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).

REG 2014-10, Implementing the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015, and REG 2016-03, Political Party Rules. The Commission directed the Office of General Counsel to commence drafting a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with respect to political parties, in response to two petitions for rulemaking and a resolution introduced by Commissioner Lee E. Goodman.

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.

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