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  • Weekly Digests

Week of June 15-19, 2020

June 19, 2020

Commission meetings and hearings

On June 18, the Commission held an open meeting via teleconference.

2020 Officers

On June 18, the Commission elected James E. “Trey” Trainor III as Chair and Steven T. Walther as Vice Chair for the remainder of 2020.

Advisory Opinions

Opinions Issued

  • Advisory Opinion 2019-15 (NORPAC) On June 18, the Commission approved an advisory opinion in response to a request from NORPAC, a nonconnected political action committee, regarding a proposal for NORPAC to deduct a percentage from earmarked contributions that it forwards to candidate committees in order to reimburse its own solicitation and administrative costs. The Commission concluded that NORPAC may deduct the fee as proposed and that the entirety of the fee would constitute a contribution from the contributor to NORPAC.
  • Advisory Opinion 2019-16 (Shemanski) On June 18, the Commission approved an advisory opinion in response to a request from Phillip Shemanski, regarding whether he may use a candidate’s initials in the name under which he registers an unauthorized political committee with the Commission. The Commission concluded that the committee may include the candidate’s initials in its registered name because the initials do not constitute the “name” of a candidate under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act).
  • Advisory Opinion 2019-18 (IDF International Technologies, Inc.) On June 18, the Commission approved an advisory opinion in response to a request from IDF International Technologies, Inc., regarding IDF’s activities operating and advertising for an online political discussion forum. The Commission concluded that IDF’s activities are not expenditures, contributions, or electioneering communications under the Act and Commission regulations, and do not obligate IDF to submit any reports to the Commission or to include disclaimers in its advertising.

Regulations

Draft Notification of Availability for REG 2020-02 (Transfers from Candidate’s Authorized Committee) On June 18, the Commission approved a Notification of Availability regarding a Petition for Rulemaking received from Citizens United and Citizens United Foundation, asking the Commission to amend its regulations to limit the amount that the authorized committee of a federal candidate may transfer to a national political party committee. The Petition proposes to limit these transfers so that a self-funded candidate cannot transfer funds derived from the candidate’s personal funds to a national political party committee if the amount of transferred funds would exceed the annual limit on an individual’s contributions to a national party committee. The Notification seeks public comment on the Petition and will be published in the Federal Register at a later date.

Litigation

Campaign Legal Center, et al. v. FEC (Case No. 19-2336) On June 18, Defendant-Intervenors Hillary for America and Correct the Record filed an Answer to Plaintiffs’ Amended Complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Outreach

On June 17, the Commission hosted reporting and FECFile webinars for candidate committees.

Press Releases

FEC elects James E. "Trey" Trainor as Chair, Steven T. Walther as Vice Chair for 2020 (issued June 18)

Commission approves three advisory opinions, discusses rulemaking (issued June 18)

Commissioner Statements

On June 18, Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub issued a statement, On the Restoration of the Federal Election Commission’s Quorum.

Upcoming reporting due dates

June 20: June Monthly reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2020 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

July 15: July Quarterly reports are due. For more information on quarterly reporting dates, refer to the 2020 Quarterly Reporting page of the Commission website.

Upcoming educational programs

June 24, 2020: The Commission will host a FECFile webinar for PACs and parties.

Upcoming Commission meeting dates

June 23 and 25, 2020: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.

Updated election dates

As states postpone congressional and presidential primary elections to limit possible COVID-19 exposure, the Commission is updating the reporting dates and deadlines associated with those elections. These postponements affect pre-election reports (including 48-Hour Notices for candidate committees), as well as the coordinated communications, electioneering communications, Federal Election Activity and independent expenditure periods for primary elections. Additionally, affected campaigns may continue to accept primary contributions until the date of their rescheduled elections. For the latest reporting updates, please visit the Commission’s Dates and deadlines web page.

Status of agency operations

A statement on the status of agency operations, updated on June 18, 2020, outlines the impact of the staff’s current telework environment on agency services, addresses submission of documents including enforcement complaints, and highlights procedures for presidential and vice presidential candidates to submit public financial disclosure reports. While most agency operations are unaffected at this time, including the public website and electronic filing systems, the Commission has closed its offices to visitors and suspended mail operations. As a result, the Commission will not process any documents submitted on paper, including non-electronically filed reports, advisory opinion requests, enforcement complaints, and court-case documents until further notice.

Additional research materials

Contribution Limits. In addition to the current limits, the Commission has posted an archive of contribution limits that were in effect going back to the 1975-1976 election cycles.

Federal Elections 2018: Election Results for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives is available. The data was compiled from the official vote totals published by state election offices.

FEC Notify: Want to be notified by email when campaign finance reports are received by the agency? Sign up here.

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

The 2019 Combined Federal State Disclosure and Election Directory is available. 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.

Other election-related resources

Videos on protecting U.S. elections. The FBI’s Protected Voices initiative provides videos designed to help political campaigns protect themselves from foreign influence. The 2019 videos offer guidance on ransomware, business email compromise, supply chain, social media literacy, and foreign influence operations. Other videos, released in 2018, include cyber hygiene topics such as social engineering, patching, router hardening, and app and browser safety.

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 media has not been authorized by the FEC.

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