Week of September 12-16, 2022
Commission meetings and hearings
On September 13 and 15, the Commission met in executive session.
On September 15, the Commission held an open meeting.
Advisory Opinion Request 2022-12 (Ready for Ron) On September 15, the Commission voted on two drafts of Advisory Opinion Request 2022-12 but did not approve either draft by the requisite four affirmative votes. The requestor, a hybrid, nonconnected political committee that proposes to ask individuals to sign a petition encouraging Governor Ron DeSantis to run for President, had asked whether it may provide this petition and signatory contact information to Governor DeSantis. On September 14, the requestor provided Supplemental Information. The Commission directed the Office of General Counsel to prepare a draft reflecting the areas of consensus.
Advisory Opinion 2022-17 (Warren Democrats, Inc.) On September 15, the Commission approved an advisory opinion in response to a request from Warren Democrats, Inc. (the Committee). The Commission concluded that the Committee may use campaign funds to pay for the costs of reasonable cybersecurity measures to protect Senator Elizabeth Warren’s home network without such payments constituting an impermissible conversion of campaign funds to personal use.
Advisory Opinion 2022-19 (Maggie for NH) On September 14, the Commission approved by tally vote an advisory opinion in response to a request from Maggie for NH, the authorized campaign committee of Senator Maggie Hassan. The Commission concluded that short-code text messages containing links to split-it fundraising pages as described in the request would not be subject to the joint fundraising rules of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), and Commission regulations.
The Commission made public five closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
COMPLAINANT: Christine Marie Wilson
RESPONDENTS: Green Party of the United States and Hillary Kane, in her official capacity as treasurer; Howie Hawkins; Howie Hawkins for Our Future and Travis Christal, in his official capacity as treasurer; Andrea Merida Cuellar; Green Party of Colorado; Robin Laurain; Brendan Phillips; Michael O’Neil; Kevin Zeese; DC Statehood Green Party; Kansas Green Party; Green Party of Michigan; Green Party of New York State; and Robert Edward Smith
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Hawkins became the 2020 Green Party presidential nominee after respondents improperly favored him over other Green Party candidates.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe a violation occurred because the complaint did not allege any specific violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), or Commission regulations, nor did it allege facts that would support such violations.
COMPLAINANTS: Campaign Legal Center Action; and Common Cause Georgia
RESPONDENTS: True the Vote, Inc. (True the Vote); Catherine Engelbrecht; Georgia Republican Party, Inc. and Joseph Brannan, in his official capacity as treasurer (Georgia GOP); and David Shafer
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that True the Vote and its president and founder, Engelbrecht, made, and the Georgia GOP and its chairman, Shafer, accepted, prohibited in-kind corporate contributions in the form of various services including a voter hotline, ballot-curing support, signature verification training, absentee ballot drop box monitoring, voter eligibility challenges, and other election integrity initiatives in connection with the 2021 Senate runoff election in Georgia.
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. Chairman Allen Dickerson and Commissioner James E. “Trey” Trainor, III issued a Statement of Reasons.
COMPLAINANT: Campaign Legal Center and Margaret Christ
RESPONDENTS: Our American Century PAC and Cabell Hobbs, in his official capacity of Treasurer (Our American Century); and Make America Great Again PAC and Bradley T. Crate, in his official capacity as Treasurer (the Trump Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Our American Century made excessive and unreported in-kind contributions to the Trump Committee when it republished a campaign video created by the Trump Committee, which at the time was the authorized committee of 2020 presidential candidate Donald J. Trump. The complaint further alleged that Our American Century failed to include the required disclaimer when it disseminated the video. The complaint also alleged that Our American Century lost its status as an independent expenditure-only political committee and, therefore, accepted excessive contributions. Finally, the complaint raised questions regarding whether the Trump Committee knowingly accepted and failed to report the excessive contributions from Our American Century.
DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for Our American Century to pay a civil penalty of $14,000. The Commission dismissed the allegations that the Trump Committee knowingly accepted and failed to report excessive contributions and that Our American Century accepted excessive contributions. Commissioners Shana M. Broussard and Ellen L. Weintraub issued a Statement of Reasons.
RESPONDENT: Republican Party of Arkansas and Alisha Curtis, 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 the Committee failed to accurately report receipts and disbursements on its original campaign finance reports during the 2019-2020 election cycle.
DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Committee to pay a civil penalty of $125,000.
COMPLAINANT: Dr. Joseph A. Resnick
RESPONDENTS: Mike Gaul (f/k/a Patriot Party) and Michael Joseph Gaul, in his official capacity as Treasurer (the Committee); and Michael Joseph Gaul
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee registered as a political committee with the Commission without the knowledge or permission of the complainant, the self-described owner of the name “Patriot Party.” The complaint further alleged that the Committee falsely listed itself on its Statement of Organization as a joint fundraising representative of Make America Great Again PAC f/k/a Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (the Trump Committee) without the Trump Committee’s knowledge or permission. Gaul subsequently filed an amended Statement of Organization, which removed the joint fundraising representative designation of the Trump Committee, changed the committee’s name to “Mike Gaul,” and identified, incorrectly, as a state committee of the Republican Party.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegation that the Committee filed an inaccurate Statement of Organization. The Commission observed the short time period involved and other circumstances such as the lack of fundraising or other committee activity. The Commission sent a letter admonishing the respondents that a political committee may be designated as a state party committee of a political party only after petitioning for and obtaining state party status from the Commission. The Commission instructed the respondents to further amend the Committee’s Statement of Organization if it does not seek or receive authorization to be identified as a state committee of the Republican Party. The Commission found no reason to believe the Committee and Gaul, in his personal capacity, fraudulently misrepresented themselves as there was no available information indicating that respondents solicited contributions.
45Committee, Inc. v. FEC (Case No. 22-502) On September 1, the Commission filed a Notice of Subsequent Developments. On September 13, Plaintiff filed a Stipulation of Dismissal.
45 Committee, Inc. v. FEC (Case 22-1749) On September 1, the Commission filed a Notice of Subsequent Developments. On September 13, Plaintiff filed a Motion of Dismissal.
Campaign Legal Center, et al. v. FEC (Case No. 19-2336) On September 12, Plaintiffs filed a Second Motion for Summary Judgment and Combined Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendant-Intervenors’ Second Motion for Summary Judgment.
Campaign Legal Center v. FEC (Case Nos. 22-5164, 22-5165) On September 14, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a Per Curiam Order that the motion for summary affirmance be granted as to the district court’s denial of intervention.
Heritage Action for America v. FEC (Case No. 22-1422) On September 1, the Commission filed a Notice of Subsequent Developments.
Josh Hawley for Senate v. FEC (Case No. 22-1275) On September 1, the Commission filed a Notice of Subsequent Developments.
National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, et al. v. FEC (Case No. 22-1017) On September 1, the Commission filed a Notice of Subsequent Developments.
The Patriots Foundation v. FEC (Case No. 20-2229) On September 14, Plaintiff filed a Joint Stipulation of Dismissal Without Prejudice.
Final Determination on Eligibility to Receive Primary Election Public Funds - Howie Hawkins and Howie Hawkins for Our Future, f/k/a Howie Hawkins 2020. On September 9, the Commission approved by tally vote the Final Determination that Hawkins, a 2020 candidate for U.S. President, is not eligible to receive payments of matching funds because Hawkins could not certify that he was seeking the nomination of a political party in at least two primary elections on the date, more than a year after the general election, on which he presented a threshold submission.
On September 14, the Commission hosted an FECConnect OnTopic session on navigating the website.
Commission approves two advisory opinions (issued September 15)
Upcoming Commission meetings
September 28, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
September 29, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
Upcoming educational programs
September 28, 2022: The Commission will host reporting and FECFile webinars for PACs and party committees.
October 6, 2022: The Commission will host reporting and FECFile webinars for candidate committees.
For more information on upcoming training opportunities, see the Commission’s Trainings page.
Upcoming reporting due dates
September 20: September Monthly Reports are due. For more information, see the 2022 Monthly Reporting schedule.
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.
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.
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.