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  • Weekly Digests

Week of December 11 – December 15, 2017

December 15, 2017

Commission meetings and hearings

2018 Officers

 On December 14, the Commission elected Caroline C. Hunter as Chair and Ellen L. Weintraub as Vice Chair.

Advisory Opinions

Advisory Opinion 2017-12 (Take Back Action Fund). On December 14, the Commission discussed four drafts of Advisory Opinion 2017-12 in response to a request from Take Back Action Fund. The Commission concluded that the requestor must include all of the disclaimer information specified by 52 U.S.C. 30120(a) on its proposed paid Facebook Image and Video advertising.  In reaching this conclusion, Commissioners relied on different rationales, some of which are reflected in Agenda Doc. No. 17-59-A1 (supported by the Chairman and Commissioner Weintraub) and Agenda Doc. No. 17-59-B (supported by the Vice Chair and Commissioners Goodman and Petersen).  During the discussion, the Commission heard from the requestor and requestor’s counsel. Vice Chair Hunter and Commissioners Goodman and Petersen issued a Concurring Statement. On December 13 and 14, the Commission made public four comments on the drafts.

Enforcement

The Commission made public five closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

MUR 6953

  • COMPLAINANT: Virginia Delores Grayam
  • RESPONDENTS: McSally for Congress and Paul Kilgore, in his official capacity as treasurer (Committee)
  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee failed to disclose employer and occupation information for contributors in reports filed with the Commission. Martha McSally was a 2016 candidate for re-election in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in consideration of Commission priorities. The Commission observed that the Committee had taken corrective actions and described making best efforts to obtain missing contributor information.

MUR 7184

  • COMPLAINANT: Ryan A. Costello
  • RESPONDENTS: Unknown Respondents
  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that an unidentified party placed more than 24 yard signs that criticized him and did not include a disclaimer.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in consideration of Commission priorities. The Commission observed that it was unlikely an investigation would identify the responsible party.

MUR 7216

  • COMPLAINANT: Ben LaGarde
  • RESPONDENT: Concerned Constituents Action Group f/k/a Costello Constituent Action Group (CCAG)
  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that CCAG failed to register as a political committee, appoint a treasurer, and include disclaimers on communications. The complaint alleged further that CCAG violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), by using Costello’s name in the name of the organization. Costello is a 2018 candidate for reelection in Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe CCAG violated the Act by failing to register as a political committee or by using Costello’s name in the name of the organization because it concluded from the available information that CCAG is a not political committee as defined in the Act.  The Commission also found no reason to believe that CCAG violated the disclaimer provisions of the Act because CCAG communicated only through its website and social media and not through another person’s website for a fee or engaged in any other type of public communication as defined in the Act.

MUR 7256

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
  • RESPONDENTS: The Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers PAC and Ken A. Crerar, in his official capacity as treasurer (Council PAC)
  • SUBJECT: In the normal course of carrying out its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated proceedings to determine whether there was reason to believe Council PAC failed to timely disclose its disbursement and receipt of a $700,000 transfer.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for Council PAC to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $13,000.

MUR 7259

  • COMPLAINANT: Terry Hutchens, Esq.
  • RESPONDENTS: Mark E. Harris; and Mark Harris for Congress and Robert D. Lyerly, Jr., in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
  • SUBJECT:  The complaint alleged that Harris failed to register as a candidate with the FEC in a timely manner. Harris is a 2018 candidate for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe Harris or the Committee failed to timely register because (1) available information did not indicate Harris might have passed the financial threshold for candidacy before he registered and (2) in its first financial report filed with the Commission, the Committee did not disclose any financial activity prior to Harris’s Statement of Candidacy.

Litigation

Audits

 Outreach

  • On December 11, Chairman Steven T. Walther attended a luncheon with the President of the Brazilian Superior Electoral Court, Justice Gilmar Mendes, and U.S. government representatives and think tank scholars. The event was held in Washington, DC.
  • On December 13, Commissioner Weintraub discussed campaign finance law and social media with high-ranking officials from the Brazilian government.

Press releases

Upcoming Commission meetings and hearings

  • 2018 Meeting Dates. The Commission approved an initial schedule of meeting dates for the first six months of 2018.
  • January 9, 2018: The Commission is scheduled to hold an executive session.
  • January 11, 2018: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting and an executive session.
  • Meeting dates are subject to change. Please contact the Press Office the week of the scheduled meeting for confirmation.

Upcoming reporting due dates

December 20: December Monthly Reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2017 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

Additional research materials

The Official 2016 Presidential General Election Results are available in the Library section of the website. This listing was compiled from the official vote totals published by state election offices.

Additional research materials about the agency, campaign finance information, and election results are available through the Library section of the Commission website.

The 2017 edition of the Combined Federal State Disclosure and Election Directory is available on the new Commission website. This publication identifies the federal and state agencies responsible for the disclosure of campaign finances, lobbying, personal finances, public financing, candidates on the ballot, election results, spending on state initiatives and other financial filings.

The FEC Record is available as a continuously updated online news source.

The 2017 edition of Title 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations can be downloaded from the website.  To order printed copies, call (800) 424-9530 (press 6) or send an email to info@fec.gov.

Join the FEC on Twitter and YouTube

 Follow @FEC on Twitter to receive the latest information on agency updates, news releases, and weekly activity. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, FECTube: FECConnect on Demand, to watch instructional videos that have been designed to help candidates and committees comply with federal campaign finance laws. Note that the FEC is not currently available through other social media platforms at this time. The use of the agency’s logo, name, and likeness on other mediums has not been authorized by the FEC.