Commission meetings and hearings
On May 18 and 20, the Commission met in executive session.
The Commission voted to cancel the open meeting scheduled for May 20.
Advisory Opinion 2021-05 (Tally Up, LLC) On May 17, the Commission approved an advisory opinion by tally vote in response to a request from Tally Up, LLC concerning whether it may use certain aggregated contribution data derived from FEC reports in its data services to candidates. The Commission concluded that the requestor may not use the data as proposed, because such information would be used to solicit contributions, which is prohibited by the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), and Commission regulations. The Commission received one comment from the requestor.
Supplemental Material Received
Advisory Opinion Request 2021-06 (Rep. Robin Kelly/Democratic Party of Illinois) On May 17, the Commission received Supplemental Material from the requestor.
The Commission made public three closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
COMPLAINANT: The Citizens Audit, LLC
RESPONDENTS: American Bridge 21st Century and Rodell Mollineau, in his official capacity as treasurer (AB PAC); American Bridge 21st Century Foundation (AB Foundation); Correct the Record and Elizabeth Cohen, in her official capacity as treasurer (CTR); and Ready PAC and Amy Wills Gray, in her official capacity as treasurer (Ready PAC)
SUBJECT: The complaint made various reporting and registration allegations as to three related entities: AB PAC, an independent expenditure-only political committee; AB Foundation, a section 501(c)(4) non-profit organization; and CTR, a hybrid political committee. The complaint broadly alleged that AB PAC misreported receipts from AB Foundation as reimbursement of overhead and staff expenses when they were actually contributions from AB Foundation and from donors to AB Foundation who earmarked those funds to fund AB PAC. The complaint further alleged that, through its disguised contributions to AB PAC, AB Foundation engaged in sufficient political activity to trigger political committee status and that AB PAC failed to properly report various specific transactions, including its debts to AB Foundation. Finally, the complaint alleged that CTR received an email list from another hybrid political committee, Ready PAC, but did not report the receipt or use of the list.
DISPOSITION: On April 23, 2019, the Commission found reason to believe that AB PAC and CTR misreported debt, list rental, and other possible receipts or disbursements in the manner in which it reported “reconciled” transactions with other entities. The Commission found no reason to believe that AB Foundation failed to report earmarked contributions to AB PAC or that AB Foundation failed to register and report as a political committee. The Commission further found no reason to believe that Ready PAC failed to report the email list rental to CTR. On March 11, 2021, the Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed all allegations as to AB PAC and CTR. Vice Chair Allen Dickerson and Commissioners Sean J. Cooksey and James E. “Trey” Trainor III; and Chair Shana M. Broussard and Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub issued Statements of Reasons.
COMPLAINANT: MJ for Texas
RESPONDENTS: Texans for Senator John Cornyn and Kerry N. Cammack, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Senator John Cornyn; Dannenbaum Engineering Corp. (DEC); James D. Dannenbaum; Richard Seitz; Louis H. Jones, Jr.; Eric Davila; David A. Garza
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that U.S. Senator John Cornyn and the Committee failed to timely disgorge $10,000 in prohibited contributions received from DEC as part of a contribution reimbursement scheme that was detailed in a November 2019 news article regarding criminal charges related to the contributions that put the Committee on notice of the scheme.
DISPOSITION: On March 9, 2021, the Commission dismissed the complaint with respect to Dannenbaum, Seitz, Davila, and Garza, and admonished them that making contributions in the name of another violates 52 U.S.C. § 30122 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), and that each should take steps to ensure that such violations do not occur in the future. The Commission also voted to dismiss the complaint as to the Committee, noting that the United States Department of Justice specifically asked the Committee not to disgorge the contributions until a later time. The Commission voted to take no further action as to Jones and closed the file as to DEC. Vice Chair Dickerson and Commissioners Cooksey and Trainor issued a Statement of Reasons.
COMPLAINANT: Richard Turner
RESPONDENTS: Tom Steyer 2020 and Hunter Blas, in his official capacity as treasurer (Steyer 2020); Karen Martinez; Maricopa County Democratic Party (MCDP); Edder Diaz-Martinez; and Antonio Valdovinos
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Steyer 2020 violated the foreign national provision of the Act by hiring foreign national Martinez to an advisory position. Further, the complaint alleged that MCDP violated the Act by hiring foreign national Diaz-Martinez to serve as its communications director. Finally, the Complaint alleged that foreign national Valdovinos violated the Act by providing services to political committees through his company, La Machine Consulting.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter.
The Commission made public one closed case, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
AF 3848 Tiffany for Wisconsin and Fred Koth, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission terminated the proceedings and closed the file.
On May 18, Public Affairs Specialist Myles Martin spoke on the Commission’s enforcement procedures and campaign finance database to agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC.
On May 19, Laura Beaufort, Tech Lead in the Office of the Chief Information Officer, spoke on the Talk Python to Me podcast on the Commission’s website and database functions.
On May 20, Chair Shana M. Broussard appeared on Issue One’s Swamp Stories podcast to discuss the important role the FEC plays in our political system.
FEC approves advisory opinion (issued May 18)
Upcoming educational programs
May 26, 2021: The Commission will host a webinar for political party committees.
June 2, 2021: The Commission will host a workshop on understanding contribution limits.
June 9, 2021: The Commission will host a webinar for candidate committees.
June 23, 2021: The Commission will host a FECFile 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
June 8, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
June 10, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
June 22, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
June 24, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
Upcoming reporting due dates
June 20: June Monthly Reports are due. For more information, see the 2021 Monthly Reporting schedule.
The Commission has posted the reporting deadlines in connection with the special runoff election in the 6th Congressional District of Texas being held on July 27, 2021. For more information on the filing dates in connection with this election, view the Special Runoff 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.