Commission meetings and hearings
No open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.
Draft Advisory Opinion
Advisory Opinion Request 2021-13 (Matthew Hoh). On January 6, the Commission made public a revised draft advisory opinion (Revised Draft B). The requestor intends to run for U.S. Senate in the 2022 election cycle. Hoh is a combat veteran who receives disability compensation from the Veterans Administration. Hoh asks whether his disability compensation constitutes “earned income” for purposes of the Commission’s candidate salary regulation at 11 C.F.R. § 113.1(g)(1)(i)(I).
The Commission made public four closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
COMPLAINANT: Badge Humphries
RESPONDENTS: Katie Arrington for Congress and Kathleen Randall, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Katherine E. Arrington; Fix Our Flooding, Inc. (FOF); 1st Street Foundation, Inc.; and Matthew Eby
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that FOF and 1st Street Foundation, Inc. made, Eby consented to the making of, and Arrington and the Committee knowingly accepted a prohibited in-kind contribution when they jointly produced and distributed a television advertisement featuring Arrington that qualified as a coordinated communication, and that the Committee failed to report the contribution. The complaint alleged further that the ad appeared to violate the disclaimer requirements.
DISPOSITION: The Commission dismissed the allegations.
COMPLAINANT: Rep. Tom Sullivan
RESPONDENTS: Senator Cory Gardner; Cory Gardner for Senate and Lisa Lisker, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Moët Hennessy USA, Inc., in lieu of Krug Champagne (Maison Krug), LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Inc.; and LaForce Company
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Gardner and the Committee used campaign funds to pay for Gardner’s attendance at a non-campaign event hosted by Krug Champagne, violating the personal use prohibition under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), and Commission regulations. The complaint alleged that in the alternative, if the event was campaign-related, Krug Champagne made, and Garner and the Committee accepted, a prohibited corporate contribution. The complaint further alleged that the Committee failed to comply with the Act’s reporting requirements when it improperly disclosed the payment for this expense to LaForce Company, a public relations firm, rather than to Krug Champagne.
DISPOSITION: The Commission voted to dismiss the allegations. The Commission observed that the available information did not (1) suggest that the event was campaign-related, (2) contradict that Gardner’s attendance was for the purpose of continuing campaign discussions, not personal use, or (3) suggest that the Gardner Committee’s payment to LaForce constituted a reported payment to a vendor that served as a stand-in for payments to another particular recipient the committee avoided disclosing.
COMPLAINANT: George Thurlow
RESPONDENTS: Florida Country and Noreen Fenner, in their official capacity as treasurer (Florida Country); Queensgate Homes, Inc. (Queensgate); Vensota Properties, Inc.; and Fausto Palombo
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Queensgate, a Canadian company, made and Florida Country, a non-federal political committee registered with the state of Florida, received a prohibited foreign contribution of $2,500.
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. Chair Allen Dickerson and Commissioners Sean J. Cooksey and James E. “Trey” Trainor III issued a Statement of Reasons.
COMPLAINANT: Victor Whitehead
RESPONDENTS: Lake for Congress and Constance Saylease Prater-Baker, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Jeannine Lee Lake
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Jeannine Lake, a 2018 and 2020 candidate from Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, and the Committee violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), and Commission regulations by “misrepresenting Lake’s status as a federal candidate,” knowingly and willfully failing to file required reports with the Commission, and failing to provide adequate purposes for its disbursements. The complaint further alleged that the inadequately reported purpose of the disbursements indicated that Lake and the Committee impermissibly converted campaign funds to personal use.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed with caution the allegations that 1) Lake failed to file a 2018 Statement of Candidacy and failed to timely file a 2020 Statement of Candidacy; 2) the Committee failed to amend its Statements of Organization; and 3) the Committee failed to timely file disclosure reports. The Commission noted that the Committee’s failure to file its reports have been addressed through the Commission’s Administrative Fine Program and that the Committee has since filed all of the missing reports. The Commission cautioned the Committee to take steps to ensure compliance with the reporting requirements for the filing of Statements of Organization and disclosure reports. The Commission further exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegations that the Committee failed to properly itemize disbursements. Finally, the Commission dismissed the allegation that the Committee converted campaign funds to personal use. The Commission observed that the disbursements at issue were modest in amount and that the available information did not create a credible allegation that the Committee had converted campaign funds to personal use.
Campaign Legal Center, et al. v. FEC (Case No. 20-730) On December 30, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an Order and Memorandum Opinion, granting Intervenor-Defendant’s Motion to Reconsider, denying Plaintiff’s Motion for Default Judgment, and dismissing the case for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction.
Upcoming Commission meetings
January 11 and 13, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
January 13, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
January 25, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
January 27, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
Upcoming educational programs
January 12 and 19, 2022: The Commission will host Year-End Reporting and FECFile webinars.
February 8-9, 2022: The Commission will host a Regional Conference in San Diego, CA.
For more information on upcoming training opportunities, see the Commission’s Trainings page.
Upcoming reporting due dates
Status of agency operations
See the Commission’s statement on the status of agency operations, updated on April 15, 2021. At this stage, most agency staff remain in telework status and the Commission’s office remains closed to visitors. See also the agency’s Workplace Safety Plan, dated May 6, 2021.
Updated Campaign Guide
The Commission recently updated its Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees. The new Guide, which replaces the 2014 edition, provides an overall summary of the federal campaign finance laws that apply to candidates for the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate and their campaign committees.
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 Presidential Election Campaign Fund Tax Checkoff Chart provides information on the balance of the Fund, monthly deposits into the Fund reported by the Department of the Treasury, payments from the Fund as certified by the FEC, and participation rates of taxpayers as reported by the Internal Revenue Service. For more information on the Presidential Public Funding Program, see the Public Funding of Presidential Elections page.
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. The use of the agency’s logo, name, and likeness on other media has not been authorized by the FEC.