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Week of January 10-14, 2022 – FEC.gov

Commission meetings and hearings

On January 11 and 13, the Commission met in executive session.

On January 13, the Commission held an open meeting.

Advisory Opinions

Request Received

Advisory Opinion Request 2022-01 (Joan Farr for U.S. Senate OK and KS) On January 13, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2022-01. The requestors, authorized committees of a candidate for the U.S. Senate from Oklahoma and Kansas, ask whether their proposal to distribute copies of a book written by the candidate to contributors is permissible under the Act and Commission regulations. The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following publication of the request (no later than January 24) and must issue a response no later than 60 days after the receipt of the complete request, that is, by March 14, 2022.

Extension of Time

Advisory Opinion Request 2021-13 (Matthew Hoh) On January 11, the requestor granted an extension of time. The Commission held over discussion of the request until a future open meeting.

Enforcement

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

MUR 7579

COMPLAINANT: Sheila Oxsher
RESPONDENTS: Rashida Tlaib for Congress and Soh Suzuki, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Representative Rashida Tlaib
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee converted campaign funds to personal use by making two candidate salary payments to Tlaib after the date of the 2018 general election, when Tlaib was a candidate for Michigan’s 12th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter. This same allegation was the subject of a congressional ethics investigation, which determined that $10,800 of the salary payments Tlaib received from her campaign after the 2018 general election violated the personal use restrictions of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act). The Commission observed that Tlaib has complied with the House Ethics Committee’s directive to reimburse the Committee $10,800 and the salary payments were not in excess of the maximum salary threshold under Commission regulations.

MUR 7603

COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENT: Wyoming Republican Party, Inc. and Robert Lee Ferguson, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: In the normal course of exercising its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated proceedings to determine whether there was reason to believe that the Committee failed to disclose an aggregate total of $2,890,378.82 in receipts and disbursements on three campaign finance disclosure reports in 2016.
DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Committee to pay a civil penalty of $52,000.

MUR 7639

COMPLAINANT: Peter Flaherty, National Legal and Policy Center
RESPONDENTS: Ilhan for Congress and Kate Wittenstein, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Representative Ilhan Omar; E Street Group, LLC; and Tim Mynett
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee knowingly and willfully violated the Act and Commission regulations when it (1) failed to properly disclose payee information for disbursements made to the political consulting firm E Street Group, LLC; and (2) reported an improper purpose for one disbursement. The complaint alleged further that the Committee, Omar, E Street Group, and Mynett violated the Act’s personal use prohibition by using campaign funds to pay for travel for Mynett, an E Street Group partner, in order to facilitate an alleged affair.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe that the Commission knowingly and willfully violated provisions of the Act by improperly reporting payee information for E Street Group’s travel expenses because the consulting firm appeared to be a legitimate vendor that was contracted to provide fundraising and consulting services, including travel. The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegation that the Commission knowingly and willfully violated the Act by improperly reporting disbursement purposes and directed the Committee to work with the Reports Analysis Division to amend its reports to provide clarifying purpose information. Finally, the Commission found no reason to believe that the respondents converted campaign funds to personal use because the available information was speculative and E Street Group’s contracts clearly anticipated that its employees would travel to assist the Committee.

MUR 7916

COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENT: Rebuilding America Now and Chris Marston, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: In the normal course of exercising its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated proceedings to determine whether there was reason to believe that the Committee failed to disclose $1 million in receipts on its original 2016 30-Day Post-General Report.
DISPOSITION: The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement providing for the Committee to pay a civil penalty of $20,000.

Administrative Fines

The Commission made public seven closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Administrative Fine search system.

AF 4102 800DEMOCRAT and Mitchell Rubin, in official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $2,108.

AF 4103 Act 4 Greater America Corp. and Peiliang Cui, in official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $5,455.

AF 4104 Alexandra Owensby for the People and Alexandra Owensby, in official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $173.

AF 4105 Allison Fine for Congress and Scott Lawrence Freiman, in official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed no civil penalty.

AF 4200 Medicare for All and Lauren Lalonde, in official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $6,735.

AF 4224 Suozzi for Congress and Michael G. Norman, in official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $13,525.

AF 4225 Becchi for Congress and David Steiner, in official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $1,853.

Regulations and agency procedures

Motion to Instruct the Staff to Prepare an Amended Form 1 Acknowledging Independent Expenditure-Only and Hybrid Committees. On January 13, the Commission voted to direct agency staff to modify FEC Form 1 (Statement of Organization) to provide filers with the option to register an independent expenditure-only committee (“Super PAC”) or a committee with a separate non-contribution accounts (“Hybrid Committee”). The Commission’s motion directs agency staff to complete the amended version of the form by February 14 for the Commission’s review and adoption.

Outreach

On January 12, the Commission hosted FECFile and reporting webinars for PACs and party committees.

Litigation

CREW v. FEC (Case No. 22-0035) On January 6, Plaintiffs filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate, et al. (Case No. 21-12) On January 7, the Commission filed a Reply Brief in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Press releases

FEC approves revision of Statement of Organization form (issued January 13)

Upcoming Commission meetings

January 25, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.

January 27, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.

Upcoming educational programs

January 19, 2022: The Commission will host Year-End Reporting and FECFile webinars.

February 8-9, 2022: The Commission will host a Virtual Conference. This conference was previously scheduled to be held in San Diego, CA, but will now be held virtually.

For more information on upcoming training opportunities, see the Commission’s Trainings page.

Upcoming reporting due dates

January 31, 2022: Year-end Reports are due. For more information, see the 2022 Quarterly and Monthly Reporting schedules.

The Commission has posted filing deadlines for the California 22nd District and California Senate Special Elections. For information on the reporting dates for these elections, refer to the California 22nd District and California Senate Special Election Report Notices.

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.

Updated Campaign Guide

The Commission recently updated its Campaign Guide for Congressional Candidates and Committees. The new Guide, which replaces the 2014 edition, provides an overall summary of the federal campaign finance laws that apply to candidates for the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate and their campaign committees.

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.

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