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  • Press Release

FEC issues advisory opinion

July 13, 2017

WASHINGTON – At its open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission issued an advisory opinion, and discussed a second advisory opinion request and the Commission’s response to alleged foreign interference in American elections.

Advisory Opinion 2017-07 (Sergeant at Arms). The Commission discussed four drafts of a response to an advisory opinion request from the Sergeant at Arms of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Commission concluded that Members of Congress may use campaign funds to pay for costs associated with installing or upgrading and monitoring a security system at the Members’ residences without such payments constituting an impermissible conversion of campaign funds to personal use. During today’s discussion, the Commission heard from the requestor.

Advisory Opinion Request 2017-05 (Great America PAC and Committee to Defend the President). The Commission discussed two drafts of a response to an advisory request from two non-connected political committees, but held the matter over until a future meeting. The request asks several questions with respect to the use of Twitter handles in disclaimers and whether disclaimers are required on Twitter pages. During the discussion, the Commission heard from Counsel for the requestors.

Proposed Interim Enforcement Policy for “Volunteer Mail” Exemption. The Commission held over discussion of two drafts of a proposed interim enforcement policy regarding the exemption from the definition of "contribution" and "expenditure" for the payment by a State or local committee of a political party of the costs of certain campaign materials used by such committee in connection with volunteer activities on behalf of nominees of such party.

Discussion of Commission’s Response to Alleged Foreign Interference in American Elections. The Commission discussed a Memorandum from Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub concerning the Commission’s response to alleged foreign interference in American elections. Vice chair Caroline C Hunter and Commissioners Lee E. Goodman and Matthew S. Petersen issued a Statement on this discussion and topic.

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.