Commission meetings and hearings
On March 23 and 25, the Commission met in executive session.
On March 25, the Commission held an open meeting.
Advisory Opinion 2021-03 (NRSC and NRCC). On March 25, the Commission approved an advisory opinion in response to a request from the National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee. The Commission concluded that the use of campaign funds for bona fide, legitimate, professional personal security personnel against threats arising from the members’ status as officeholders, as proposed in the request, is a permissible use of campaign funds under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), and Commission regulations. The Commission voted unanimously to instruct the Office of General Counsel to draft a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in connection with the use of campaign funds for personal security.
Advisory Opinion Request 2021-01 (Aluminate, Inc.) On March 25, the Commission voted on two draft advisory opinions in response to a request from Aluminate, Inc. but was unable to reach consensus by the required four affirmative votes. The requestor asked whether it may use certain data from FEC reports in providing services to universities, colleges, and not-for-profit organizations.
The Commission made public seven closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
COMPLAINANTS: Free Speech for People and Shanna M. Cleveland
RESPONDENTS: Donald J. Trump for President and Bradley T. Crate, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Elliott Broidy; Michael D. Cohen; Donald J. Trump; Essential Consultants, LLC; Real Estate Attorneys Group; A360 Media LLC, formerly known as American Media, Inc.
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that (1) Broidy, a former deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee, made and Trump and the Committee knowingly received an excessive contribution of $1.6 million in the name of another, and (2) Cohen, Real Estate Attorneys Group and Essential Consultants, LLC made and the Committee failed to report a contribution in the name of another. The complaint alleged that the alleged excessive contribution arose from a non-disclosure agreement between Broidy and Shera Bechard that purportedly was concluded in order to cover up a relationship between Trump and Bechard and thus constituted an unreported contribution to Trump’s 2020 presidential re-election campaign.
DISPOSITION: The Commission dismissed the allegations in the matter because the available information did not indicate that Broidy’s payments to Bechard constituted a contribution to Trump or the Committee.
COMPLAINANT: Major Mike Webb
RESPONDENTS: Friends of Don Beyer and Katherine Buchanan, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); The Voices of the American Federation of Government Employees and Jeffrey Cox, in his official capacity as treasurer (Voices PAC); and National Active and Retired Employees Association Political Action Committee and Kathryn Hensley, in her official capacity as treasurer (NARFE-PAC).
SUBJECT: The Complaint alleged that the Voices PAC, an independent expenditure-only political committee, made and the Committee accepted $3,000 in prohibited contributions. The complaint also alleged that the Voices PAC and NARFE-PAC are connected committees, but they did not disclose these relationships on their respective statements of organization.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in consideration of Commission priorities.
COMPLAINANT: Bruce Leal
RESPONDENT: Urbina for Congress and Andres Urbina, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Briana Urbina
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Briana Urbina, a candidate from Maryland’s 5th Congressional District in 2020, used Committee funds for personal use and failed to accurately report debts and payments to the complainant. Specifically, the complaint alleged that (1) Urbina used Committee funds to rent a dress from Rent the Runway and then concealed the payment in the Committee’s disclosure reports; (2) the Committee failed to report debts it owed to the complainant on the Committee’s quarterly reports and that the Committee falsely reported that it had paid him $625 that he never received; and (3) the Committee forged the complainant’s signature on the Committee’s quarterly reports..
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the complaint in consideration of Commission priorities. The Commission noted the modest amount at issue in the reporting allegations, and the fact that the matter appeared to relate largely to a personal business dispute.
COMPLAINANT: Gerald Freda
RESPONDENT: Jeanne for Congress and Michael Radencich, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee distributed a mailer that solicited contributions above the federal limits and that the Committee received excessive contributions. Jeanne Ives was a 2020 candidate for Illinois’s 6th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in consideration of Commission priorities. The Commission observed that there was a relatively small number of mailers sent and that the Committee took swift remedial steps including issuing refunds and terminating the vendor involved.
COMPLAINANT: Theresa Thibodeau
RESPONDENT: Matt Innis for U.S. Senate and Scott Rediger, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee failed to report $457 in disbursements for Facebook advertisements between August 2019 and December 2019. Matt Innis was a candidate for U.S. Senate from Nebraska in 2020.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the complaint in consideration of Commission priorities. The Commission noted the modest amount at issue.
COMPLAINANT: Steven Shearer
RESPONDENTS: Jim 2020 Committee and Shari Martin, in her official capacity as treasurer; and Jim Oberweis
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Oberweis failed to file his Statement of Candidacy in a timely manner, waiting seven months after his reelection committee had filed its Statement of Organization and the candidate had made a contribution to that committee. Oberweis was a 2020 candidate for Illinois’s 25th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in consideration of Commission priorities. The Commission observed that Oberweis ultimately filed the Statement of Candidacy.
COMPLAINANT: Gregory Fournier
RESPONDENT: Caesar Gonzales for Congress and Jessika Walker, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Caesar Gonzales
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee failed to include disclaimers on its lawn signs, and that Gonzales failed to file a Statement of Candidacy after becoming a candidate. Gonzales was a 2020 candidate for Georgia’s 13th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in consideration of Commission priorities. The Commission observed that the allegations were speculative and technical in nature, and that Gonzales and the Committee took prompt remedial action.
Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on Dr. Raul Ruiz for Congress. On March 25, the Commission voted not to approve an Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on Dr. Raul Ruiz for Congress (the Committee), covering campaign finance activity between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018. The Commission did not approve findings on misstatement of financial activity and personal use of campaign funds. The Commission noted the Committee’s response to the Draft Final Audit Report.
Proposed Final Audit Report on the Mississippi Republican Party. On March 24, the Commission approved by a tally vote a Proposed Final Audit Report on the Mississippi Republican Party. The Commission approved findings related to misstatement of financial activity and reporting of debts and obligations.
Regulations and agency procedures
Draft Interpretive Rule on Use of Campaign Funds by Members of Congress for Personal and Residential Security On March 24, the Commission made public a comment on a revised draft interpretive rule to provide guidance to members of Congress on the use of campaign funds to pay for personal and residential security.
Proposed Modifications to the Program for Requesting Reconsideration of Legal Questions by the Commission. On March 25, the Commission held over discussion of a draft Policy Statement outlining two modifications to the Commission’s informal resolution process for requesting reconsideration of a legal question and to its timetable for responding to such requests. The nearly 10-year-old program provides a means for persons and entities to have the Commission consider a legal question earlier in the campaign finance report review process and the audit process.
Campaign Legal Center, et al. v. FEC (Case No. 20-0730) On March 19, Plaintiffs filed a Response in Opposition to Intervenor-Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration and/or Certification for Interlocutory Appeal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
On March 24, the Commission held a webinar for membership and labor organizations.
On March 26, Chair Shana M. Broussard participated in a virtual meeting of the Inter-American Union of Electoral Organizations (UNIORE).
FEC approves advisory opinion (issued March 25)
Upcoming educational programs
April 28, 2021: The Commission will host a FECFile webinar for Trade Associations and Their PACs.
August 17-18, 2021: The Commission will host a Regional Hybrid Conference in Denver, CO.
For more information on upcoming training opportunities, see the Commission’s Trainings page.
Upcoming Commission meetings
April 6, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
April 8, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
Upcoming reporting due dates
April 15: April Quarterly Reports are due. For more information, see the 2021 Quarterly Reporting schedule.
April 20: April Monthly Reports are due. For more information, see the 2021 Monthly Reporting schedule.
The Commission has posted filing deadlines for the New Mexico 1st District Special Election and the Ohio 11th District Special Election. For information on the reporting dates for this election, refer to the Special Election Report Notice for New Mexico and the Special Election Report Notice for Ohio.
Status of agency operations
See the Commission’s statement on the status of agency operations, updated on January 4, 2021. At this stage, most agency staff remain in telework status and the Commission’s office remains closed to visitors.
Additional research materials
2020 Presidential General Election Results and Federal Elections 2018: Election Results for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are available. The data 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 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 currently. The use of the agency’s logo, name, and likeness on other media has not been authorized by the FEC.