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  • FEC Record: Compliance

MUR 5895: Personal use and prohibited contributions

March 1, 2008

The Commission has entered into a conciliation agreement with Congressman Gregory W. Meeks (NY/6) and his campaign committee, Meeks for Congress (Committee), in which the Committee agreed to pay a $63,000 civil penalty to resolve violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act). In the agreement, Congressman Meeks’ campaign committee admitted to violating the Act by:

  • Using campaign funds to pay for personal expenses of the Congressman;
  • Misstating financial activity;
  • Receiving contributions that exceeded the Act’s limits and source prohibitions; and
  • Failing to keep proper records of operating expenditures and contributions made to other political committees.

Congressman Meeks also agreed to refund, using personal funds, $9,812 to his committee for vehicle expenses, in addition to $6,230 for personal trainer expenses and $916 for miscellaneous undocumented credit card expenses previously refunded by the Congressman to the committee during the audit.

Background

This enforcement matter was based on an FEC audit report, approved by the Commission on August 17, 2006, covering Meeks for Congress’ financial activity from January 1, 2003, through December 31, 2004. The audit concluded that:

  • Meeks for Congress used $16,958 of campaign funds for the personal expenses of Congressman Meeks, in violation of the Act. These expenses included personal trainer expenses ($6,230), miscellaneous undocumented credit card expenses ($916) and vehicle lease payments and repairs ($9,812). The Act prohibits any person from converting campaign funds to personal use. Commission regulations define personal use as the use of campaign funds to pay for any expense of any person that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign or duties as a federal officeholder. The Congressman reimbursed the Committee for the miscellaneous credit card expenses and the personal trainer expenses after they were identified in the Commission’s audit of the Committee.
  • Meeks for Congress violated the Act by misstating its cash on hand, receipts and disbursements in the aggregate amount of $278,636 on its disclosure reports filed with the Commission in the years 2003 and 2004.
  • During the 2004 election cycle, the Committee received contributions from various individuals totaling $22,900 in excess of their primary election limit and disclosed these funds as general election contributions, in violation of the Act. Since the commencement of the Commission’s enforcement action, the Committee has refunded the excessive contributions.
  • The Committee received contributions totaling $7,070 from the treasury funds of various corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) during the 2004 election cycle, in violation of the Act. The Committee failed to ascertain whether the LLC contributions were permissible, as required by Commission regulations.
  • The Committee also failed to keep proper records of its operating expenditures and its contributions to other political committees, in violation of the Act.

The Commission’s investigation revealed that a contribution to Meeks for Congress from Advent Capital Management LLC was permissible under FEC regulations. As a result, the Commission took no further action against Advent Capital.

Under the law, the FEC must attempt to resolve its enforcement cases, or Matters Under Review (MURs), through a confidential investigative process that may lead to a negotiated conciliation agreement between the Commission and the individual or group the Commission determines has violated the law. The Commission voted to approve the outcome in this matter on November 28, 2007. Additional information regarding MURs can be found on the FEC web site.

  • Author 
    • Meredith Metzler