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FEC approves Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum and advisory opinion; approves legislative recommendations for 2017; elects officers for 2018

December 15, 2017

WASHINGTON – At yesterday’s open meeting, the Federal Election Commission approved an Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum and an advisory opinion, and discussed a memorandum providing an update on the status of enforcement matters awaiting reason-to-believe consideration by the Commission. The Commission also approved 12 legislative recommendations for 2017 and meeting dates for the first half of the next year. Finally, the Commission elected officers for the 2018 calendar year.

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Hawaii Democratic Party. The Commission approved seven findings in an Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Hawaii Democratic Party, covering activity between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2012. The approved findings relate to the misstatement of financial activity, receipt of contributions that exceed the allowable limits, receipt of apparent impermissible funds, reporting of debts and obligations, recordkeeping for employees, failure to properly report media-related expenditures, and allocation of expenditures.

Advisory Opinion 2017-12 (Take Back Action Fund). The Commission discussed four drafts of Advisory Opinion 2017-12 in response to a request from Take Back Action Fund. The Commission concluded that the requestor must include all of the disclaimer information specified by 52 U.S.C. 30120(a) on its proposed paid Facebook Image and Video advertising.  In reaching this conclusion, Commissioners relied on different rationales, some of which are reflected in Agenda Doc. No. 17-59-A1 (supported by Chairman Steven T. Walther and Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub) and Agenda Doc. No. 17-59-B (supported by Vice Chair Caroline C. Hunter and Commissioners Lee E. Goodman and Matthew S. Petersen).  During the discussion, the Commission heard from the requestor and requestor’s counsel.

Assessment of Commission Action on Enforcement Matters Awaiting Reason-to-Believe Consideration

https://www.fec.gov/resources/cms-content/documents/mtgdoc_17-53-a.pdf

. The Commission discussed a memorandum providing an update on the status of enforcement matters awaiting reason-to-believe consideration by the Commission, as well as an assessment of recent efforts by the agency to address the backlog of matters. The Commission approved amending Directive 68 to require additional information on the status of enforcement matters pending before the Commission.

 2017 Legislative Recommendations. The Commission unanimously approved 12 legislative recommendations for 2017 to be submitted for consideration to Congress: (1) Electronic Filing of Senate Reports; (2) Electronic Filing of Electioneering Communication Reports; (3) Authority to Create Senior Executive Service Positions; (4) Prohibiting Fraudulent PAC Practices (5) Fraudulent Misrepresentation of Campaign Authority; (6) Conversion of Campaign Funds; (7) Making Permanent the Administrative Fine Program for Reporting Violations; (8) Increasing and Indexing for Inflation Registration and Reporting Thresholds; (9) Increasing the In-Home Event Exemption and Unreimbursed Travel Expense Exemption for Candidates and Political Parties; (10) Permitting Political Committees to Make Disbursements by Methods Other than Check; (11) Updating Citations to Reflect the Recodification of FECA; and (12) Repeal of Convention Funding Provisions Rendered Non-Operational by the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.

 2018 Meeting Dates. The Commission approved an initial schedule of meeting dates for the first six months of 2018.

 Election of Officers. The Commission elected Caroline C. Hunter as Chair and Ellen L. Weintraub as Vice Chair for 2018.

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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