WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission recently made public its final action on six matters under review (MURs). In one matter, the Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act). The Commission dismissed the five other matters, using its prosecutorial discretion in three of the cases.
Under the law, the FEC must attempt to resolve its enforcement cases, or MURs, through a confidential investigative process that may lead to a negotiated conciliation agreement between the Commission and the individual or group.Additional information regarding MURs can be found on the FEC web site at http://www.fec.gov/em/mur.shtml.
This release contains only summary information.For additional details, please consult publicly available documents for each case in the Enforcement Query System (EQS) on the FEC web site at http://eqs.fec.gov/eqs/searcheqs.
Coleman for Senate ‘08 and Rodney Axtell, in his official capacity as treasurer; Norm Coleman
Alliance for a Better Minnesota by Denise Cardinal
The complaint alleged that Coleman, the Committee and Axtell, as treasurer, used campaign funds to pay for legal fees related to two civil lawsuits in Texas and Delaware. Commission regulations prohibit the use of campaign funds from a candidate committee for activity that would exist irrespective of one’s candidacy or in connection with their official duties as a Federal officeholder. Coleman was a general election candidate in Minnesota’s 2008 Senate race.
The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents violated the Act because disclosure reports filed with the FEC confirmed that no campaign funds were used to pay for legal fees cited in the complaint. The Commission has since issued Advisory Opinion 2009-12, which allows for the Committee’s use of campaign funds to pay for these legal fees.
Jim Risch for U.S. Senate and R. John Insinger, in his official capacity as treasurer
James D. Hansen and the Idaho Democratic Party
The complaint questioned whether the Committee and its treasurer properly reported expenses and allocated expenses such as rent, overhead and staff salaries between then-candidate Risch’s law firm and his campaign committee. Risch was a candidate in Idaho’s 2008 Senate race.
The Commission dismissed the matter in light of the complainants’ failure to include any substantiation for their allegations in the complaint.
Ron Paul 2008 Presidential Campaign Committee and Deana Watts, in her official capacity as treasurer
The complaint alleged that the Committee and Watts, as treasurer, violated the Act by accepting an excessive contribution in the form of uncompensated expenses incurred by a former campaign staffer on behalf of the Committee. Paul was a 2008 presidential candidate for the Republican party nomination.
The Commission dismissed the matter in light of the small dollar amount at issue.
The report alleged that Fabian transferred $25,000 in prohibited corporate contributions to the American Patriot Political Action Committee, where he served as treasurer, from his company, Strategic Partners International (SPI). It alleged further that he made the contributions using the names of others and misreported the source of the funds as individual contributions.
The Commission used its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in light of Fabian’s conviction on criminal charges, Fabian’s declaration of bankruptcy, and the termination of the PAC in 2006. It also sent a letter of caution advising Fabian to take steps to ensure that his conduct is in compliance with the Act and Commission regulations.
Roy Carter for Congress and John Rhineberger, in his official capacity as treasurer
William Miller, Sr.
The complaint alleged that the Roy Carter for Congress Committee violated the Act by accepting excessive contributions in the form of limited edition ticket packages to a music concert and an autographed guitar that was to be auctioned off to benefit the Committee. The complaint alleged further that the respondents failed to report these contributions on their disclosure reports to the Commission. Carter was a 2008 candidate in North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District.
The Commission used its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter, because the Committee provided evidence to show that the guitar was purchased by the candidate, and the low level of costs associated with the event, which was cancelled, did not justify further enforcement.
Bill Durston; Durston for Congress and Rita Copeland, in her official capacity as treasurer
Lungren for Congress
The complaint alleged that the respondents violated the Act by failing to include adequate disclaimers on two campaign advertisements. The disclaimers in question allegedly failed to include a written statement indicating the candidate’s approval of the advertisements. Durston was a 2008 candidate in California’s 3rd Congressional District.
The Commission used its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter, because the overall circumstances did not justify further enforcement since the advertisements included other oral and written identifying information.
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.
This information is not intended to replace the law or to change its meaning, nor does this information create or confer any rights for or on any person or bind the Federal Election Commission or the public.
The reader is encouraged also to consult the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (52 U.S.C. 30101 et seq.), Commission regulations (Title 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations), Commission advisory opinions and applicable court decisions.