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FEC Approves Two Advisory Opinions, Audit Recommendation Memorandum, and Notification of Availability, Discusses Rulemaking

July 25, 2019

WASHINGTON – At its open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission approved two advisory opinions and an Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum, and discussed two rulemaking proposals.

Advisory Opinion Request 2019-10 (Price for Congress)

The Commission discussed a draft advisory opinion in response to a request from Price for Congress, the principal campaign committee of former Representative Dr. Thomas Price, but held over a vote on the matter. The requestor asks whether it may contribute committee assets to a non-profit organization and whether that organization may engage in certain activities if Dr. Price will serve as its president and CEO. During the discussion, the Commission heard from counsel for the requestor. Vice Chairman Matthew S. Petersen and Commissioner Caroline C. Hunter issued a statement.

Advisory Opinion 2019-11 (Pro-Life Democratic Candidate PAC)

The Commission approved an advisory opinion in response to a request from the Pro-Life Democratic Candidate PAC, a nonconnected political committee. The Commission concluded that contributions to a draft fund established by the PAC would be attributable only to the original contributor and not to the PAC because the PAC would exercise no direction or control over the choice of the recipient candidate of the funds, and that it is permissible for the PAC to designate a specific candidate to serve as the default recipient of the funds instead of offering refunds if no Democratic presidential candidate meets the criteria to receive the earmarked contributions. During the discussion, the Commission heard from a strategist for the requestor.

Advisory Opinion 2019-13 (MJ for Texas)

The Commission approved an advisory opinion in response to a request from Mary Jennings (MJ) Hegar, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, and MJ for Texas, her principal campaign committee. The Commission concluded that campaign funds may be used to pay for a portion of full-time daycare expenses for her children because such expenses would not exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign. During the discussion, the Commission heard from counsel for the requestor.

Advisory Opinion Request 2019-14 (Arizona Libertarian Party)

The Commission held over an advisory opinion request from the Arizona Libertarian Party (AZLP) until its August 22 open meeting. The requestor asks whether it may transfer funds to the National Libertarian Party and if so, would such a transfer require the AZLP to register and report as a political committee.

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association PAC

The Commission approved the Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association PAC covering campaign finance activity from January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2016. The Commission approved findings relating to misstatement of financial activity, receipt of prohibited contributions, recordkeeping for receipts, disclosure of receipts, and untimely deposit of receipts.

Notification of Availability for REG 2019-01 (Amending the Definition of Contribution to Include “Valuable Information”) The Commission approved a Notification of Availability drafted in response to a petition for rulemaking asking the Commission to amend the existing regulation defining “contribution.” The Commission seeks public comment on the petition within 60 days of publication of the Notification of Availability in the Federal Register.

Internet Ad Disclaimers Rulemaking Proposal for REG 2011-02 (Internet Communication Disclaimers and Definition of “Public Communication”). The Commission discussed a rulemaking proposal to amend the Commission’s definition of “public communication.”

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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