Commission meetings and hearings
No open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.
The Commission made public seven closed cases and one additional Statement of Reasons, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
COMPLAINANTS: Brad Woodhouse, American Democracy Legal Fund; Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21
RESPONDENTS: Governor Scott Walker; Scott Walker, Inc. and Kate Lind, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Our American Revival and Andrew Hitt, in his official capacity as treasurer (OAR)
SUBJECT: The complaints in these matters alleged that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker began testing the waters for a potential candidacy for President as early as November 2014 before publicly announcing that he was running on July 13, 2015. The complaints further alleged that OAR, a 527 organization that Walker helped create in January 2015, made and Walker accepted, excessive and unreported contributions by paying for testing-the-waters activity for Walker in the five months leading up to Walker’s announcement. Finally, the complaints alleged that Walker became a candidate for President prior to his July 2015 declaration of candidacy and thereby failed to file timely statements and disclosure reports and used impermissible non-federal funds from OAR for campaign activity.
DISPOSITION: On April 23, 2019, the Commission found reason to believe that OAR made, and Walker accepted, excessive in-kind contributions for testing-the-waters activities prior to June 2015 in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act). The Commission further found reason to that the Committee violated the Act by failing to report contributions and expenditures, and that Walker failed to timely file a Statement of Candidacy. The Commission voted to take no further action at the time as to the allegation that OAR violated the Act by accepting nonfederal funds while Walker was a candidate for President. On March 23, 2021, the Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matters in consideration of Commission priorities. Vice Chair Allen Dickerson and Commissioners Sean J. Cooksey and James E. “Trey” Trainor III issued a Statement of Reasons. Commissioner Cooksey also issued a separate Statement of Reasons.
COMPLAINANT: American Democracy Legal Fund; and Brad Woodhouse
RESPONDENTS: John R. Kasich; Kasich for America and Suzanne E. Marshall, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and New Day for America and Matthew J. Yusewich, in his official capacity as treasurer (New Day)
SUBJECT: The complaints alleged that (1) New Day, an independent expenditure-only political committee, made and Kasich and the Committee received impermissible and excessive contributions when New Day paid for Kasich's testing-the-waters activities, (2) New Day made and Kasich and the Committee received impermissible in-kind contributions by coordinating their communications, and (3) New Day failed to include proper disclaimers on its communications. The complaints alleged further that Kasich impermissibly established, controlled, and solicited soft money for New Day, and that Kasich and the Committee failed to timely file a Statement of Candidacy and a Statement of Organization, respectively. Kasich was a 2016 presidential primary candidate.
DISPOSITION: On April 23, 2019, the Commission found reason to believe that (1) New Day made and that Kasich and the Committee accepted, and the Committee failed to report, impermissible and excessive in-kind contributions for testing-the-waters activity; (2) Kasich failed to timely file his Statement of Candidacy; (3) New Day made and failed to report, Kasich and the Committee accepted , and the Committee failed to report prohibited and excessive contributions in the form of coordinated communications; and (4) New Day failed to include complete disclaimers on three television advertisements. The Commission took no action on allegations that New Day failed to timely file its Statement of Organization, or that Kasich and New Day solicited, received, directed, transferred or spent soft money. On March 23, 2021, the Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matters in consideration of Commission priorities. Vice Chair Dickerson and Commissioners Cooksey and Trainor issued a Statement of Reasons. Commissioner Cooksey also issued a separate Statement of Reasons.
RESPONDENTS: Michael Fleck; Pawlowski2016.com and Lisa Pawlowski, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Edwin Pawlowski; and Nicola Bulgari
SUBJECT: In the normal course of exercising its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated proceedings to determine whether there was reason to believe that unauthorized activity had occurred with respect to a $76,500 disbursement originally disclosed on the Committee’s 2015 October Quarterly with the notation "Purpose(s) unknown; documentation unavailable." The Committee later amended the report and explained that Fleck, the Committee's former campaign manager, had written a $76,500 check to H Street Consulting LLC, his consulting company, without authorization and had converted campaign funds to personal use. Separately, based upon Fleck’s testimony during his deposition, the Commission examined allegations that the Committee may have received prohibited foreign national contributions in connection with the use of vehicles owned by Bulgari. Edwin Pawlowski was a 2016 candidate for Pennsylvania’s U.S. Senate seat.
DISPOSITION: On March 21, 2017, the Commission found reason to believe that Fleck knowingly and willfully violated the Act by converting campaign funds to personal use and by commingling funds of the Committee with personal funds. The Commission voted to take no action at the time with respect to the Committee. On March 25, 2021, the Commission voted to exercise its prosecutorial discretion and dismiss the allegations that the Committee failed to accurately disclose a disputed debt to Fleck on its 2015 July Quarterly Report and to accurately disclose the purpose of the $76,500 disbursement. The Commission further voted to take no further action with respect to Fleck, and to dismiss the allegations that Bulgari made prohibited foreign national contributions in connection with the use of the vehicles, and to dismiss the allegations that Edwin Pawlowski and the Committee received prohibited foreign national contributions and the Committee failed to report the contributions, and to close the file.
COMPLAINANTS: Common Cause; Paul S. Ryan; Campaign Legal Center; Democracy 21; Catherine Hinckley Kelley; Robert C. Sinnot; and Russell S. Kussman
RESPONDENTS: Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and Bradley T. Crate, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Trump Committee); Donald Trump, Jr.; Paul Manafort; Jared Kushner; and Rob Goldstone
SUBJECT: The complaints in these matters alleged that the Trump Committee, the authorized committee of 2016 Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump, as well as several representatives of the Trump Committee, solicited a prohibited foreign national contribution by seeking damaging information on Trump’s general election opponent, Hillary Clinton, from Russian nationals in violation of the Act. Specifically, the complaints concern a meeting held on June 9, 2016, that was organized by Trump’s son and senior campaign advisor, Trump, Jr., that occurred at Trump Tower in New York.
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. Vice Chair Allen Dickerson and Commissioners Sean J. Cooksey and James E. “Trey” Trainor III issued a Statement of Reasons.
The Commission made public two closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
AF 3737 Amie Hoeber for Congress and Chris Marston, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $5,146.
AF 3904 United Forward 2020 Benzel for Congress and Greg Don Benzel, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $114.
Campaign Legal Center v. FEC (Case No. 20-5159) On May 11, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a Per Curiam Judgment, ordering that the judgment of the District Court for the District of Columbia be affirmed in part and vacated in part.
Campaign Legal Center, et al. v. FEC (Case No. 20-730) On May 11, Defendant-Intervenor Right to Rise Super PAC, Inc. filed a Supplemental Brief in Support of its Motion for Reconsideration and/or Certification for Interlocutory Appeal and Plaintiffs filed a Supplemental Brief in Opposition to Intervenor-Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
Regulations and agency procedures
On May 11, the Commission posted revised Directive 17, to provide for certification of tally votes in which fewer than four Commissioners cast affirmative votes and all the remaining Commissioners objected for the record.
On May 9, Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub published an op-ed in The Washington Post.
On May 12, the Commission hosted a workshop on registration and Forms 1 and 2 for campaigns.
Upcoming educational programs
May 26, 2021: The Commission will host a webinar for political party committees.
June 9, 2021: The Commission will host a webinar for candidate committees.
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
May 18 and 20, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
May 20, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
Upcoming reporting due dates
May 20: May Monthly Reports are due. For more information, see the 2021 Monthly Reporting schedule.
The Commission has posted the filing deadlines for the Florida 20th District special election. For information on the reporting dates for this election, see the Special Election Report Notice.
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.
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.