WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission recently made public its final action on six matters under review (MURs). In two matters, the Commission found no reason to believe violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), occurred. In three matters, the Commission found no reason to believe violations occurred in connection with some of the allegations and dismissed the remaining allegations. In one matter, the Commission closed the file.
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.
Friends of Bill Zedler; Bill Zedler; Congressman Joe Barton; and Congresswoman Kay Granger
Betty Tumlinson Fischer
The complaint alleged that Reps. Barton and Granger, as well as Zedler and his campaign committee, illegally solicited contributions outside the federal limits. Zedler was a candidate in 2008 for the Texas State House of Representatives. Rep. Barton represents Texas’ 6th Congressional District and Rep. Granger represents Texas’ 12th Congressional District.
The Commission found no reason to believe that the respondents violated the Act because it determined that the two U.S. Members of Congress did not appear to have approved, authorized, agreed or consented to the use of their names to solicit contributions on Zedler''''s behalf.
The complaint alleged that the Houghton County Democratic Committee, a local party committee of the Michigan Democratic Party, failed to register with and report to the FEC as a federal political committee despite exceeding the threshold for federal political committee status by making expenditures of more than $1,000 for a flyer, newspaper advertisement and radio ads that supported the election of several federal candidates and that these public communications failed to include the proper disclaimers.
The Commission found no reason to believe the Houghton County Democratic Committee violated the Act by failing to register and report as a political committee because the federal portion of its expenditures did not exceed the $1,000 threshold. The Commission dismissed the remaining allegations due to the low dollar amount of the possible violation.
Education Finance Reform Group; and Tim Bee for Congress and David Katsel, in his official capacity as treasurer
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
The complaint alleged the Act was violated when the Education Finance Reform Group (EFRG) made and Tim Bee for Congress and Katsel, in his official capacity as treasurer, accepted an excessive and prohibited in-kind contribution in the form of a television advertisement, which expressly advocated the candidate’s election and was coordinated with Bee. The complaint further alleged that EFRG failed to register and report as a political committee and did not include disclaimer information on the advertisement. Bee was a candidate in 2008 for Arizona’s 8th Congressional District.
The Commission found no reason to believe that the EFRG failed to register or report as a political committee or that it failed to include a disclaimer on the advertisement. The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegation that EFRG made and the Committee accepted a prohibited or in-kind contribution in the form of a coordinated communication.
The complaint alleged the Tuscola County Democratic Committee violated the Act by failing to register as a political committee after it made contributions to and expenditures in support of candidates for federal office that exceeded the $1,000 registration threshold amount. The complaint alleged further that the Committee failed to provide adequate disclaimer information on public communications that expressly advocated the election of federal candidates and failed to file independent expenditure reports with the Commission.
The Commission found no reason to believe the Tuscola County Democratic Committee violated the Act by failing to register and report as a political committee because the federal portion of its expenditures did not exceed the $1,000 threshold. The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the remaining allegations due to the low dollar amount of the possible violation.
Kirby Hollingsworth and Kirby Hollingsworth for State Representative
Frank Long and Chad Cable
The complaint alleged that Kirby Hollingsworth, a candidate for Texas State representative, and Kirby Hollingsworth for State Representative failed to register with and report to the FEC as a political committee after sending a mailer and making an expenditure to air a radio advertisement that advocated the election of John McCain and Sarah Palin for President and Vice President and the defeat of Barack Obama in the 2008 Presidential election. The complainants further alleged that Kirby Hollingsworth used funds for these communications that were permitted under Texas state law but prohibited or excessive under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (“the Act”), and that the respondents failed to report the public communications as independent expenditures and include the proper disclaimers.
The Commission closed the file.
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.