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  • Weekly Digests

Week of November 19 – November 23, 2018

November 23, 2018

Commission meetings and hearings

No open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.

Enforcement

The Commission made public six closed cases and one Statement of Reasons, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

MUR 7028

  • COMPLAINANT: Rupert Baptiste
  • RESPONDENTS: Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union No. 9 (the Union); and Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union No. 9 PAC and Michael Maloney, in his official capacity as treasurer (the PAC)
  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Union failed to obtain the appropriate voluntary authorizations to make payroll deductions from union members in the form of contributions to the PAC, and that the PAC improperly accepted contributions from union members that were not obtained voluntarily or documented correctly.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Union and PAC to pay a joint civil penalty of $92,650 and to refund $1,426.93 in contributions withheld from the pay of the complainant between 2012 and 2017. The Union and PAC also agreed to notify all current and former union members that they were entitled to request a refund of the contributions made to the PAC via unauthorized payroll deductions.

MUR 7273

  • COMPLAINANT: Common Cause; and Paul S. Ryan
  • RESPONDENTS: Robert James Ritchie (a.k.a. “Kid Rock”); and Warner Bros. Records Inc. (WBR)
  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that by issuing tweets, an online public statement and a website, Ritchie became a federal candidate but failed to abide by the relevant registration and reporting requirements, contribution limits, and source prohibitions. The complaint alleged further that WBR made, facilitated, or acted as a conduit for contributions to Ritchie.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. On November 23, Chair Caroline C. Hunter and Commissioner Matthew S. Petersen issued a Statement of Reasons.

MUR 7276

  • COMPLAINANT: Self-Initiated
  • RESPONDENT: Right to Rise USA and Charles R. Spies, in his official capacity as treasurer (Right to Rise)
  • SUBJECT: The Committee disclosed that Right to Rise, an independent expenditure-only political committee, failed to file a total of seven 24-Hour and 48-Hour Reports of independent expenditures in a timely manner.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for Right to Rise to pay a civil penalty of $200,000.

MUR 7374

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
  • RESPONDENT: Wright 2016 and Charlette Mimiasie, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
  • SUBJECT: In the normal course of carrying out its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated proceedings and found reason to believe the Committee accepted $9,250 in excessive or prohibited contributions and failed to refund, or refunded in an untimely manner, $117,450 in general election contributions. Keith Wright was a 2016 primary candidate for New York's 13th Congressional District.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Committee to pay a civil penalty of $5,000 and amend its campaign finance reports to disclose as debts the contributions that could not be refunded.

MUR 7411

  • COMPLAINANT: Self-Initiated
  • RESPONDENT: Mary Thomas for Congress and Roxane Nickeo, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
  • SUBJECT: The Committee disclosed that it had accepted and failed to remedy excessive contributions for the 2016 primary and general elections.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Committee to pay a civil penalty of $5,000.

MUR 7475

  • COMPLAINANT: James Ducane
  • RESPONDENT: Jennifer Zimmerman for Congress and Jay Zimmerman, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee distributed literature containing an improper disclaimer that referenced a nonexistent candidate committee. Zimmerman was a 2018 candidate for Florida’s 1st Congressional District.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion in consideration of Commission priorities and dismissed the matter. The Commission observed that the public was unlikely to have been confused as the source of the literature.

Alternative dispute resolution

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

ADR 816

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
  • RESPONDENTS: R. Klepinger for Congress (the Committee)
  • SUBJECT: The Committee failed to include disclaimers on fundraising materials, used public disclosure statements for soliciting contributions, failed to disclose receipts and/or disbursements through filing reports with the Commission, an failed to respond to an inquiry from the Commission as required.
  • DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to participate in a one-on-one training regarding basic reporting requirements and procedures scheduled with the Information Division and/or Reports Analysis Division and file and/or amend reports disclosing all campaign activity for the 2014 and 2016 election cycles and respond to any outstanding inquiries from the Commission, and continue to file disclosure reports until such time as a termination report is approved.

ADR 871

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
  • RESPONDENT: Equality Pennsylvania (the Committee)
  • SUBJECT: The Committee failed to file the 2016 October Quarterly Report to support contributions totaling $174,214.52 and independent expenditures totaling $62,424.04 disclosed on three 48-Hour Reports.
  • DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to certify that a representative participated in a Commission conference, webinar, or other program developed in consultation with the agency’s Information Division and pay a civil penalty of $5,900.

ADR 873

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
  • RESPONDENT: Urban Victory Fund (the Committee)
  • SUBJECT: The Committee accepted apparently excessive contributions totaling $124,416 and failed to disclose $30,000 in independent expenditures, which were previously disclosed in a 48-Hour Report, on its 30-Day Post-General Report.
  • DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to file amended reports, certify that a representative participated in a Commission conference, webinar, or other program developed in consultation with the agency’s Information Division, and pay a civil penalty of $750.

ADR 875

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
  • RESPONDENT: Joey Nations for Congress and Charlotte Nations, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
  • SUBJECT: The Committee allegedly failed (1) to include adequate disclaimers on its Facebook page and campaign website, as well as on physical campaign materials such as yard signs and bumper stickers and (2) to include a mechanism for collecting employer and occupation information on the Facebook page and website.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter. The Commission observed that the dollar amount at issue was low and several of the allegations did not represent clear violations of the law.

Litigation

  • CREW et al. v. FEC (Case No. 18-0076). On November 16, the Commission filed its Reply in Support of Its Motion for Summary Judgment in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.
  • Nancy Mace v. FEC (Case No. 18-025800). On November 8, Plaintiff Nancy Mace filed a Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Plaintiff, a state officeholder, challenges the constitutionality of 52 U.S.C. § 30125(f)(1) as applied to a proposed Super PAC that would be created, maintained, and operated by her. Under this provision, candidates for state or local office, state or local officeholders, and agents of such candidates or officeholders are prohibited from paying for a certain public communications unless the funds used for such communications are subject to the limitations, prohibitions, and reporting requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act).

Outreach

  • On November 19, Chair Caroline C. Hunter spoke with a group of students in the Democracy and Governance graduate program at Georgetown University.

Upcoming Commission meetings and hearings

  • December 4, 2018: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
  • December 6, 2018: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
  • December 13, 2018: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.

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

Upcoming reporting due dates

Additional research materials

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 now 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.

The 2018 Congressional Primary Election Dates list is available.

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.

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 at this time. The use of the agency’s logo, name, and likeness on other media has not been authorized by the FEC.