Week of March 6-10, 2023
Commission meetings and hearings
No open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.
The Commission made public five closed cases and two additional Statements of Reasons, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
COMPLAINANTS: Republican National Lawyers Association; Michael Thielen; Media Research Center; L. Brent Bozell, III; and Mark A. Green
RESPONDENTS: Bloomberg News; Mike Bloomberg 2020, Inc. and Hayden Horowitz, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Michael R. Bloomberg; Bloomberg L.P., and John Micklethwait
SUBJECT: The complaints alleged that Bloomberg News and Bloomberg L.P. made prohibited in-kind contributions to Michael Bloomberg and to the Committee after Bloomberg News announced that it would forgo any investigations of Bloomberg and his Democratic opponents during the 2020 Democratic presidential primary elections. The complaints alleged that Bloomberg News was not entitled to the press exemption because it failed to provide reasonably equal coverage to all of Bloomberg’s opponents. Two of the complaints alleged further that Bloomberg News was required to register and report as a political committee as a result of its alleged contributions to the Committee, and one of the complaints alleged that through Bloomberg News, Bloomberg spent money that was not subject to the source and amount limitations under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act).
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe that (1) Bloomberg News, Bloomberg L.P, or Micklethwait made excessive or prohibited in-kind contributions, (2) the Committee or Bloomberg accepted excessive or prohibited in-kind contributions, (3) Bloomberg News or Bloomberg L.P. failed to report independent expenditures; (4) Bloomberg News failed to register as a political committee or file reports as a political committee with the Commission, and (5) the relevant Respondents spent money that was not subject to the source and amount limitations under the Act because the available information indicates that all of Bloomberg News’ conduct was protected by the press exemption. Vice Chairman Sean J. Cooksey and Commissioner Allen J. Dickerson and James E. “Trey” Trainor, III issued a Supplemental Statement of Reasons and Commissioner Dickerson issued an additional Supplemental Statement of Reasons.
COMPLAINANT: Stanley E. Kuback
RESPONDENT: Joe Kent for Congress and Thomas Datwyler, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee omitted the candidate’s party affiliation on political advertising, thereby failing to comply with Washington state campaign finance laws. The complaint also alleged possible violations of federal campaign laws. Joe Kent was a 2022 candidate for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter.
RESPONDENT: Michigan Democratic State Central Committee and Traci Komak, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: In the normal course of exercising its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated proceedings to determine whether there was reason to believe the Committee received and failed to timely refund excessive contributions based on financial activity reported during the 2019-20 election cycle.
DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Committee to pay a civil penalty of $27,000 and to have appropriate campaign staff attend a Commission-sponsored compliance training.
MUR 7889 (Gun Owners Action Fund and Nancy H. Watkins in her official capacity as treasurer; SIG SAUER, Inc.; and Daniel Defense, LLC) On March 10, Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub issued an updated Statement of Reasons and Commissioner Dickerson issued a Supplemental Statement of Reasons.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
The Commission made public one closed case, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
RESPONDENT: Democratic Party of Arkansas and Philip A. Hood, in official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: In the normal course of exercising its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated proceedings to determine whether there was reason to believe the Committee failed to disclose $351,097 in debts and obligations to vendors and did not maintain monthly payroll logs or equivalent records, totaling $408,872, to document the percentage of time each employee spent in connection with a federal election for the 2017 and 2018 calendar years.
DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to 1) certify annually for two years that it retained the services of a compliance firm; 2) participate in an FEC training program; and 3) pay a civil penalty of $13,925.
Freedman v. FEC (Case No. 22-1542) On March 6, the Commission filed a Reply in Support of Its Motion to Dismiss in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
John A. Castro v. FEC (Case No. 22-5323) On March 9, Plaintiffs-Appellants filed a Response in Opposition to Appellee’s Motion for Summary Affirmance in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
On March 8, the Office of the Inspector General released a report on The Federal Election Commission (FEC) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) Related to non-Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) Law Enforcement Inquiries.
Upcoming Commission meetings and hearings
March 22, 2023: The Commission is scheduled to hold a hybrid public hearing on proposed changes to regulations regarding the use of campaign funds by a candidate’s principal campaign committee to pay compensation to the candidate.
March 28, 2023: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
March 30, 2023: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
April 18, 2023: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
April 19, 2023: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
Upcoming educational programs
March 14-15, 2023: The Commission will host a webinar for membership and labor organizations and their PACs.
March 23, 2023: The Commission is scheduled to host an FECConnect OnTopic session on 2023-2024 Contribution Limits.
March 29, 2023: The Commission is scheduled to host a FECFile webinar for candidate committees.
April 11-12, 2023: The Commission is scheduled to host a webinar for trade associations and their PACs.
For more information on upcoming training opportunities, see the Commission’s Trainings page.
Upcoming reporting due dates
March 20: March Monthly Reports are due. For more information, see the 2023 Monthly Reporting schedule.
The Commission is accepting applications for the position of Human Resources Specialist through March 17, 2023. For more information, see the job posting at: https://www.usajobs.gov/job/710219000.
The Commission is accepting applications for the position of Attorney-Adviser in the Enforcement Division of the Office of General Counsel through March 24, 2023. For more information, see the job posting at: https://www.usajobs.gov/job/710212200.
The Commission is accepting applications for the position of Human Resources Specialist through March 24, 2023. https://www.usajobs.gov/job/711928000.
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 2020: Election Results for the U.S. President, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives is now 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 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 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.