Commission meetings and hearings
No open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.
Draft Advisory Opinions
Advisory Opinion Request 2022-19 (Maggie for NH) On September 7, the Commission made public a draft advisory opinion. Maggie for NH, the authorized campaign committee of Senator Maggie Hassan, asks whether proposed text messages containing links to “split-it” fundraising pages will be subject to joint fundraising rules. On September 8, the Commission received a comment from the requestor. On September 9, the requestor granted an extension of time.
Advisory Opinion Request 2022-17 (Warren Democrats, Inc.) On September 8, the Commission made public a draft advisory opinion. The requestor asks whether it may pay for reasonable cybersecurity measures to protect Senator Elizabeth Warren’s home network, which connects to her electronic devices and the devices of other members of her household.
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: Common Cause; Paul S. Ryan; Campaign Legal Center; Margaret Christ; Brendan M. Fischer
RESPONDENTS: Li Juan “Cindy” Gong f/k/a Li Juan “Cindy” Yang; Bingbing Peranio; Katrina Eggertsson; Gong Haizhen; Xinyue “Daniel” Lou; Sun Changchun; Jingzhu “Margaret” Yang; Jiusi Yao; Ma Jin; Li Jing; Jon Deng; Hui Liu; Ryan Xu; Li Xiaohua; Republican Party of Palm Beach County and Jane C. Pike, in her official capacity as treasurer; 45th Presidential Inaugural Committee; Make America Great Again PAC f/k/a Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and Bradley T. Crate, in his official capacity as treasurer (Trump Committee); Republican National Committee and Ronald C. Kaufman, in his official capacity as treasurer; Trump Victory and Bradley T. Crate, in his official capacity as treasurer (Trump Victory); and Unknown Respondents
SUBJECT: The complaints alleged that Gong engaged in multiple schemes to funnel excessive contributions of her own funds and other individuals’ foreign national contributions to several committees, and that Yang made excessive contributions, including by using the names of others, and provided substantial assistance in the making of prohibited foreign national contributions.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter. Chairman Allen Dickerson, Commissioners Sean J. Cooksey, and Commissioner James E. “Trey” Trainor, III and Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub issued Statements of Reasons. Chairman Dickerson and Commissioner Cooksey issued a Supplemental Statement of Reasons.
COMPLAINANTS: Coolidge-Reagan Foundation; and Richard Turner
RESPONDENTS: Bernard Sanders; Bernie 2016 and Susan Jackson, in her official capacity as treasurer and Bernie 2020 and Lora Haggard, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committees); Erika Andiola; Maria Belén Sisa; and Cesar Vargas
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Sanders and the Committees accepted prohibited foreign national contributions by hiring foreign national employees for advisory positions and accepting direct contributions from one of them.
DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for Sanders and the Committees to pay a civil penalty of $15,000. The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegations as to Andiola, Sisa, and Vargas. Chairman Dickerson and Commissioner Broussard issued a Statement of Reasons.
COMPLAINANTS: Jay Stone and Barbara Palmer
RESPONDENTS: Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL); Tiana Epps-Johnson; Whitney May; Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR); David Becker; Priscilla Chan; and Mark Zuckerberg
SUBJECT: The complaints alleged that grants distributed by CTCL and CEIR to assist with the administration of elections during the COVID-19 pandemic, were in fact made for the purpose of increasing the turnout of Democratic voters, and therefore constituted contributions to various Democratic candidates or committees. As a result, the complaints alleged that CTCL and CEIR made prohibited corporate contributions and CTCL also violated the prohibition on contributions by federal contractors or in the name of another, and failed to register and report as a political committee. The complaints also alleged that Chan and Zuckerberg were the ultimate sources of the funds granted by CTCL and CEIR, and that Chan and Zuckerberg therefore made excessive contributions or contributions in the name of another. Finally, the complaints named as respondents several individual employees of CTCL and CEIR.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe that CTCL or CEIR made prohibited corporate contributions, or that CTCL knowingly permitted its name to be used to effect a contribution in the name of another. The Commission further found no reason to believe that CTCL made contributions while it was a federal contractor or that it failed to organize, register, and report as a political committee. The Commission found no reason to believe that Chan or Zuckerberg made excessive contributions or contributions in the name of another, or that Epps-Johnson, May, or Becker consented to prohibited corporate contributions. The available information did not provide a reasonable basis to conclude that these respondents funded or awarded grants for the purpose of influencing a federal election, or that there was any indication that they coordinated their activities with any candidate or committee.
MUR 7879 (NRA Victory Fund, Inc., and Robert Owens, in his official capacity as treasurer) On September 8, Chairman Allen Dickerson and Commissioners Sean J. Cooksey and James E. “Trey” Trainor, III issued a Statement of Reasons.
MUR 7904 (Hansjörg Wyss; The Wyss Foundation; Berger Action Fund, Inc.; New Venture Fund; and Sixteen Thirty Fund) On September 7, Chairman Dickerson and Commissioners Cooksey and Trainor issued a Statement of Reasons.
The Commission made public one closed case, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Administrative Fine search system.
AF 4281 Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association Political Action Committee (SWAPA PAC) and Captain Tom Nekouei, in official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $10,332.
Regulations and agency procedures
REG 2022-03: Interim Final Rule for Candidate Loan Repayment On September 8, the Commission published an Interim Final Rule on Candidate Loan Repayment in the Federal Register. The rule removes regulatory restrictions on authorized committees’ repayment of candidate personal loans in light of the Supreme Court decision in Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate, which held that the statutory provision implemented by those regulations is unconstitutional. The Commission requests public comment on the proposed revisions by October 11. All comments must be in writing. To submit a comment electronically, visit https://sers.fec.gov/fosers/ and reference REG 2022-03.
REG 2013-01 (Technological Modernization): Request for Additional Comment On September 8, the Commission published a Federal Register Notice requesting additional public comments on previously proposed rules that would modernize the agency’s regulations in light of technological advances in communications, recordkeeping, and financial transactions, and that would eliminate and update references to outdated technologies and address similar technological issues. Public comments on the notice will be accepted through October 11. All comments must be in writing. To submit a comment electronically, visit https://sers.fec.gov/fosers/ and reference REG 2013-01.
Heritage Action for America v. FEC (Case No. 22-1422) On September 2, Plaintiffs filed a Reply in Support of Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
On September 6, Commissioner Weintraub met with the Australian Electoral Commissioner, Tom Rogers, to discuss campaign finance law and FEC operations.
On September 7, Commissioner Weintraub appeared on Twitter Spaces for a discussion on Scam PACs hosted by the New York Times.
On September 7, the Commission issued the Statistical Summary of 18-Month Campaign Activity of the 2021-2022 Election Cycle.
On September 7, the Commission hosted a webinar on Independent Expenditures and Pre-Election Communications.
On September 8-9, Chairman Dickerson, Commissioner Broussard, Lisa Stevenson, Acting General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, and Debbie Chacona, Assistant Staff Director, Reports Analysis Division, participated in panel discussions at the annual conference of the Practising Law Institute in Washington, D.C.
Upcoming Commission meetings
September 13, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
September 15, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting and meet in executive session.
Upcoming educational programs
September 14, 2022: The Commission will host an FECConnect OnTopic session on navigating the website.
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
The electioneering communications period for the general election begins Friday, September 9 and runs through Election Day, November 8. For more information on electioneering communications and reporting, visit the Electioneering Communications page.
September 20: September Monthly Reports are due. For more information, see the 2022 Monthly Reporting schedule.
The FEC is accepting applications for the position of Human Resources Specialist. For more information, see https://www.usajobs.gov/job/675584600.
The FEC is accepting applications for the position of IT Specialist. For more information, see https://www.usajobs.gov/job/675666200.
The FEC is accepting applications for the position of Senior Accountant. For more information, see https://usajobs.gov/job/676065700.
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 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.