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  • Weekly Digests

Week of June 17 – 21, 2019

June 21, 2019

Commission meetings and hearings

On June 20 the Commission held an open meeting and met in executive session.

Advisory Opinions

Advisory Opinion Request Received

AOR 2019-14(Arizona Libertarian Party)

On June 20, the Commission made public an advisory opinion request from the Arizona Libertarian Party (AZLP) asking whether it may transfer funds to the National Libertarian Party and if so, would such a transfer require the AZLP to register and report as a political committee. The Commission will accept comments on the request until July 1, 2019. The Commission must issue a response to the request within 60 days, that is, by August 19, 2019.

Comment Received

Advisory Opinion Request 2019-13 (MJ for Texas)

Requestor Mary Jennings (MJ) Hegar, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, asks whether campaign funds may be used to pay for a portion of full-time daycare expenses for her children. On June 17, the Commission received a comment on the request.

Enforcement

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

MUR 7267

  • COMPLAINANT: American Democracy Legal Fund
  • RESPONDENTS: Josh Hawley; Hawley for Missouri and Doug Russell, in his official capacity as treasurer (State Committee); Josh Hawley for Senate and Salvatore Purpura, in his official capacity as treasurer (Federal Committee)
  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Hawley, a 2018 candidate for Missouri’s United States Senate seat, failed to timely file a Statement of Candidacy, a Statement of Organization for the Federal Committee, and campaign finance disclosure reports with the Commission. The complaint further alleged that Hawley unlawfully used money from the State Committee to test the waters for his Senate run and to finance federal campaign activity.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe that Hawley (1) failed to timely file a Statement of Candidacy, (2) the Federal Committee failed to timely file a Statement of Organization, or (3) the State Committee impermissibly used nonfederal funds to finance federal activity. The Commission noted that the evidence in the complaint was inadequate to support the conclusion that Hawley did not file a Statement of Candidacy in a timely manner or that the State Committee spent funds for testing-the-waters for his federal campaign.

MUR 7272

  • COMPLAINANTS: J. Whitfield Larrabee, Thomas Giles, Stephanie Barnard, and Carole Elizabeth Levers
  • RESPONDENTS: Party of Regions; European Centre for a Modern Ukraine (ECFMU); Ina Kirsch; Rep. Steve Chabot, Dana T. Rohrabacher, Edward R. Royce, and Sen. James E. Risch, Steve Chabot for Congress and James Schwartz, in his official capacity as treasurer; Rohrabacher for Congress and Jen Slater, in her official capacity as treasurer; Royce Campaign Committee and Kelly Lawler, in her official capacity as treasurer; Jim Risch for U.S. Senate Committee and R. John Insinger, in his official capacity as treasurer; DMP International, LLC, Davis, Manafort and Freedman, Mercury Public Affairs, LLC, and Mercury, LLC (collectively, the lobbying firms); Paul J. Manafort, Jr., John V. Weber, Edward S. Kutler, Michael McSherry, Dierdre Stach, and Gregory M. Lankler (collectively, the lobbyists)
  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Manafort orchestrated a scheme to funnel foreign national contributions to federal candidates using American lobbyists as intermediaries in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act). Specifically, the complaint alleged that (1) the Party of Regions, a Ukrainian political party, ECFMU, a Belgian front organization purportedly formed by a member of the Party of Regions, and Kirsch made foreign national contributions in the name of another, (2) the lobbying firms provided substantial assistance in the making of foreign national contributions; (3) the lobbyists allowed their names to be used to effect foreign national contributions in the name of another; and (4) the candidates and their authorized committees knowingly accepted foreign national contributions made in the name of another.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. On June 21, Chair Ellen L. Weintraub issued a Statement of Reasons.

MURs 7309 & 7399

  • COMPLAINANTS: Ron Bassilian and Frank DeMartini
  • RESPONDENT: Crowdpac, Inc. (Crowdpac)
  • SUBJECT: The complaints alleged that the online platform Crowdpac is operating as an unregistered political committee in violation of the Act. In particular, the complaint alleged that Crowdpac (1) is raising funds to support Democrats running against Republicans, (2) spotlights only Democrats, and (3) has suspended Republican candidates from its website.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe that Crowdpac had violated the Act and because its activities do not indicate that it qualified as a political committee required to register and report to the Commission. The Commission noted that the available information indicated that Crowdpac acts as a commercial service provider for the use and benefit of individual users, matching them with candidates through its online tools and earning revenue from fees and donations paid by users who make contributions and pledges through candidate pages.

MUR 7457

  • COMPLAINANT: Kevin Doering, Citizens for Turner
  • RESPONDENTS: Theresa Gasper for Congress and Jennifer May, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Theresa Gasper
  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Gasper, a 2018 candidate for Ohio’s 10th Congressional District, and the Committee knowingly misrepresented in a campaign flyer that five universities endorsed her campaign, in violation of the Act’s ban on corporate contributions.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe that the Committee or Gasper violated the Act because there was no indication that any of the universities actually endorsed Gasper or coordinated with the Committee on the distribution of the campaign flyer. Further, the Commission noted that the original flyer was replaced within 24 hours of distribution by a new flyer that did not identify the universities, suggesting that any value to the Committee would have been de minimis.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

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

ADR 894

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
  • RESPONDENT: American Future Fund (AFF)
  • SUBJECT: In the normal course of carrying out its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated proceedings to determine whether AFF failed to timely file its 2016 Year-End Report to support independent expenditures totaling $912,250, which were disclosed on one 48-Hour Report and one 24-Hour Report.
  • DISPOSITION: AFF agreed 1) to retain counsel to review compliance procedures and provide a memorandum prepared by counsel detailing the applicable reporting requirements to those responsible for preparing and filing its reports within 90 days and; 2) to pay a civil penalty of $15,600.

Administrative Fines

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

AF 3528

L’Italien for Congress and Anette Grams, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $5,240.

AF 3598

Maynard Cooper & Gale PC PAC and Daniel M. Wilson, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission voted to terminate the proceedings and closed the file.

Audits

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Oklahoma Democratic Party.

On June 20, the Commission approved an Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Oklahoma Democratic Party, covering campaign finance activity from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2016. The Commission approved findings related to misstatement of financial activity, misstatement of Levin fund activity, recordkeeping for employees, and reporting of debts and obligations. The Audit Division will prepare the Proposed Final Audit Report within 30 days.

Litigation

Regulations and agency procedures

Internet Ad Disclaimers Rulemaking Proposal for REG 2011-02. On June 20, the Commission discussed two rulemaking proposals addressing how the disclaimer rules apply to certain communications made over the Internet. The public will be able to submit comments on the two proposals through the online commenting system at https://sers.fec.gov/fosers/.

Upcoming Commission meetings and hearings

Meeting dates are subject to change. Please contact the Press Office the week of the scheduled meeting for confirmation.

Upcoming reporting due dates

  • July 15: July Quarterly reports are due. For more information on quarterly reporting dates, refer to the 2019 Quarterly Reporting page of the Commission website.
  • July 20: July Monthly reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2019 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.
  • July 31: Mid-Year reports are due. For more information on semi-annual reporting dates, refer to the 2019 Semi-Annual Reporting page of the Commission website.

Upcoming educational programs

Additional research materials

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.

Printed copies of the 2018 edition of Title 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) are available. Contact the Commission's Information Division at (202) 694-1100 or (800) 424-9530 (press 6, when prompted) to order printed copies of the CFR at no charge. You may also email the Information Division to place an order at info@fec.gov.

The 2017 Campaign Guide for Corporations and Labor Organizations is available. Other Campaign Guides are available, as well.

Federal Elections 2016: Election Results for the U.S. President, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives is available. The data was compiled from the official vote totals published by state election offices. To order a printed copy, please contact the FEC’s Public Records Office at 800/424-9530 (option 2) or 202/694-1120, or send an email to pubrec@fec.gov.

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.

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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.