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  • Weekly Digests

Week of April 23 - April 27, 2018

April 27, 2018

Commission meetings and hearings

Advisory Opinions

Advisory Opinions Issued

Advisory Opinion 2018-02 (Alabama Academy of Radiology and ALRAD PAC)

On April 26, the Commission issued an advisory opinion concluding that (1) the Academy is a membership organization for purposes of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) and  Commission regulations, (2) ALRAD PAC may convert to a federal political committee, (3) the requestors’ proposed plan to divest impermissible funds from ALRAD PAC’s cash-on-hand balance before registration is permissible, and (4) the requestors may solicit the Academy’s members via the proposed payroll deduction plan.

Advisory Opinion 2018-03 (Committee to Elect Michael Gilmore) 

On April 26, the Commission issued an advisory opinion concluding that the requestor may not use campaign funds to pay for certain legal expenses related to a lawsuit concerning the scheduling of a special election because such use would constitute an impermissible personal use of campaign funds. The Commission further concluded that the Committee would not be required to report the value of certain proposed volunteer services for the lawsuit as an in-kind contribution. During the discussion, the Commission heard from the requestor.

Advisory Opinion 2018-05 (CaringCent, LLC)

On April 26, the Commission issued an advisory opinion in response to a request from CaringCent, LLC (CaringCent), which proposes to provide contribution-processing services to political committees through two platforms:  Round-Up, which allows contributors to round up transactions made on their credit or debit cards, and contribute the difference; and Micro-Pledge, which allows contributors to pledge small contributions each time a specified event happens, such as a certain hashtag being used on social media. The Commission concluded that CaringCent’s provision of these services would neither constitute a contribution from the requestor to a political committee nor cause the requestor to be subject to any registration or reporting requirements with the Commission. The Commission concluded, furthermore, that by providing these services, CaringCent would not be acting as a conduit or intermediary, and that the proposed services comply with the provisions of the Federal Act and Commission regulations concerning the forwarding of contributions to political committees. During the discussion, the Commission heard from Counsel for the requestor.

Comment Received

Advisory Opinion Request 2018-06 (Liuba for Congress). On April 27, the Commission made public a late comment on the request.

Enforcement

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

MUR 7281

  • COMPLAINANT: Donna J. Baran
  • RESPONDENTS: Mackenzie for Congress and Joel Jukus, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Citizens for Ryan Mackenzie and Lisa Walter, in her official capacity as treasurer (State Committee); and Ryan E. Mackenzie
  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the State Committee made impermissible in-kind soft money contributions to the Committee, and that the State Committee should have registered with the Commission as a federal political committee. Mackenzie was a 2018 primary candidate for Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter in consideration of Commission priorities. The Commission observed the specific factual circumstances, the relatively modest amounts at issue and the quick remedial actions taken by the Committee.

MUR 7285

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
  • RESPONDENT: Workers’ Voice and Elizabeth Shuler, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
  • SUBJECT: In the normal course of carrying out its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated an enforcement matter to determine whether there was reason to believe the Committee, an independent-expenditure-only political committee, failed to timely file appropriate 24- and 48-Hour Reports of independent expenditures.
  • DISPOSITION: The Commission found reason to believe and entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Committee to pay a civil penalty of $33,000.

Alternative dispute resolution

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

ADR 854

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
  • RESPONDENTS: Make America Great Again and Leslie Caldwell, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
  • SUBJECT: The Committee made reporting errors including failure to file reports and late filing, mathematical discrepancies, failure to properly itemize contributions from individuals, and failure to properly itemize disbursements.
  • DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to amend relevant reports to address any inadequate responses and nonresponses to requests for additional information and to pay a civil penalty of $3,375.

Audits

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on McSally for Congress. On April 26, the Commission approved five findings in an Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum covering campaign finance activity between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2014. The approved findings relate to the misstatement of financial activity, disclosure of occupation/name of employer, receipt of contributions in excess of the limit, failure to file 48-Hour Notices, and failure to itemize contributions from political committees.

Rulemaking and agency procedures

Internet Communication Disclaimers Illustrative Examples. On April 26, the Commission discussed its efforts to create examples illustrating the application of the alternative proposed disclaimer rules on internet communications.

Directive 10, Section L.: Special Rules When the Commission Has Fewer Than Four Members. On April 26, the Commission discussed a memorandum from Chair Caroline C. Hunter, requesting a memorandum from the Office of General Counsel on the statutory and/or policy basis for the special rules applying to periods when the Commission does not have a quorum and expressing her desire to seek public comment.

Reporting guidance

The Commission has authorized the agency’s campaign finance analysts, beginning with reports filed in July 2018, to examine the use of campaign funds by dormant committees as part of the review of disclosure reports in order to ensure that the activity meets the regulatory standards for permissible use. Committees of former candidates who did not campaign or hold office during the previous two-year cycle for U.S. House of Representatives candidates, or during the previous four years for U.S. Senate and presidential candidates, will be subject to this review. In case the Commission would like to clarify a dormant committee’s use of campaign funds, it will send a verification letter to seek additional information for the public record.

Commissioners’ statements

On April 26, Chair Caroline C. Hunter and Commissioner Matthew S. Petersen issued a Statement on CREW v. FEC, No. 16-cv-02255.

Upcoming Commission meetings and hearings

May 10, 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

May 20: May Monthly Reports are due.

For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2018 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

Upcoming educational programs

On May 9, the Commission will host a webinar for treasurers, PAC staff, consultants, and others looking to understand federal rules related to corporate political action committees.

Additional information is available on the educational outreach page of the Commission website.

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 2017 edition of 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

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