Commission meetings and hearings
No open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.
Advisory Opinion Request 2021-08 (Fitzgerald). On June 14, 2021, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2021-08. The requestor, Congressman Scott Fitzgerald, became a member of Congress in 2021 after previously serving in the Wisconsin state senate. The requestor asks whether his state campaign committee and federal leadership PAC are affiliated committees under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), and Commission regulations and if so, whether the leadership PAC may receive unlimited transfers of funds from the state committee, provided that such funds comply with the source prohibitions and contribution limitations of the Act and Commission regulations. If the Commission finds that the proposed transfers are permissible, the requestor asks whether the state committee is required to notify its contributors that their contributions are subject to the applicable source prohibitions and contribution limitations at the time such transfers are made. The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following publication (no later than June 24, 2021) and must issue a response no later than 60 days after the receipt of the complete request, that is, by August 2, 2021.
The Commission made public four closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
COMPLAINANT: Foundation for Accountability & Civic Trust
RESPONDENT: Democratic National Committee and Virginia McGregor, in her official capacity as treasurer (DNC); Alexandra Chalupa; and Chalupa & Associates, LLC (C & A)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the DNC, Chalupa, and C & A knowingly solicited, accepted, and received a contribution from foreign nationals when Ukrainian government officials provided political opposition research to Chalupa at no cost.
DISPOSITION: On July 25, 2019, the Commission found reason to believe that the DNC, Chalupa, and C & A solicited, accepted or received contributions from foreign nationals, and initiated an investigation. On April 8, 2021, the Commission considered the briefs from the Office of General Counsel and Counsel to the Respondents, found no probable cause to believe a violation had occurred, and closed the file in the matter. Vice Chair Allen Dickerson and Commissioners Sean J. Cooksey and James E. “Trey” Trainor, III and Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub issued Statements of Reasons. Vice Chair Dickerson and Commissioners Cooksey and Trainor issued a Supplemental Statement of Reasons.
COMPLAINANT: Anthony G. Scannapieco, Jr., Chairman, Putnam County Republican Party
RESPONDENTS: Sean Patrick Maloney for Congress and Holly Giarraputo, in her official capacity as treasurer (Federal Committee); and Maloney for New York (State Committee)
SUBJECT: In 2018, Maloney was a candidate for both New York’s 18th Congressional District and New York State Attorney General. The complaint alleged that the State Committee received $1.45 million in transfers from the Federal Committee, and that the State Committee received $26,000 in corporate contributions and $710,300 from 60 individuals who had also contributed the maximum amount to the Federal Committee. Additionally, the complaint alleged that television advertising, for which the State Committee disclosed expenditures in the amounts of $166,695 and $501,840, constituted electioneering communications in support of Maloney’s federal candidacy, and that the money paid to air the advertisements by the State Committee subjected the State Committee to federal regulation as a political committee.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe the Federal Committee violated the Act by transferring funds to the State Committee. The Commission further found no reason to believe that the State Committee failed to organize, register, and report as a federal political committee. The Commission dismissed the allegation that the State Committee failed to report making electioneering communications. The Commission noted that because Maloney was running for both federal and state office, the transfer of funds from the Federal Committee to the State Committee appeared to be a permissible use of campaign funds and did not appear to violate New York law, which allows such transfers between authorized committees of the same candidate, and the Commission saw no indication that the transferred funds were used for any purpose other than to support Maloney’s state campaign. The Commission further observed that the complaint did not allege any facts indicating that the State Committee crossed the statutory threshold to become a political committee under the Act, and that the funds the State Committee received from the Federal Committee did not qualify as contributions under the Act, because they were not transferred for the purpose of influencing a federal election but rather to advance Maloney’s candidacy for New York Attorney General.
COMPLAINANT: Caitlin Sutherland
RESPONDENTS: Friends of Madeleine Dean (State Committee); Madeleine Dean; and MAD 4 PA PAC and John Egner, in his official capacity as treasurer (Federal Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the State Committee made approximately $17,000 in expenditures on behalf of the Federal Committee after Dean had ended her campaign for Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania and around the time that Dean announced her intention to run for Pennsylvania’s 4th Congressional District in 2018. Specifically, the complaint identified $4,359.10 in expenditures for campaign literature and buttons that were reportedly made at the time that Dean announced her intention to run for Congress. The complaint further disputed the State Committee’s payments for access to a Pennsylvania voter database, accounting services, technology services, staff reimbursements, postal and office supplies, mailbox expenses, website hosting, and political consulting.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter.
COMPLAINANT: Christopher Jenkins
RESPONDENTS: Friends of Tina Ramirez, Inc. and Christopher M. Woodfin, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee impermissibly used contributions raised for a potential general election campaign to fund Ramirez’s 2020 primary campaign for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. The complaint alleged that the Committee lacked sufficient cash on hand to repay general election contributions and that this demonstrated that the Committee must have been using general election contributions to fund the primary campaign.
DISPOSITION: The Commission dismissed the matter. The Commission noted that all of the Committee’s amended reports disclosed an end-of-quarter cash-on-hand balance that was sufficient to refund general election contributions, and that to the extent that the Committee’s original 2019 Year-End Report depicted a cash-on-hand deficit, the amount was modest. The Commission further observed that the Committee was able to successfully refund nearly all its general election contributions after Ramirez’s campaign ended.
The Commission made public five closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.
AF 3748 New Nation Rising and Olufemi Ogunnaike, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $6,541.
AF 3776 New Nation Rising and Olufemi Ogunnaike, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $6,541.
AF 3823 New Nation Rising and Olufemi Ogunnaike, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $684.
AF 3913 Friends of Bob Olsen 4 Congress and Linda Olsen, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $478.
AF 3915 Jimmy Rodriguez for Congress and Jimmy Rodriguez, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $17,748.
FEC v. Defend Louisiana PAC (Case No. 21-346) On June 14, the Commission filed a Complaint for Civil Penalty, Declaratory, Injunctive, and Other Appropriate Relief in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana.
On June 14, Vice Chair Allen Dickerson issued a Statement Regarding Advisory Opinion 2021-01 (Aluminate, Inc.).
Upcoming educational programs
June 23, 2021: The Commission will host a FECFile webinar for candidate committees.
July 7, 2021: The Commission will host a Denver Regional Hybrid Conference preview workshop.
July 14, 2021: The Commission will host a FECFile webinar for PACs and party committees.
August 17-18, 2021: The Commission will host a Regional Hybrid Conference in Denver, CO.
For more information on upcoming training opportunities, see the Commission’s Trainings page.
Upcoming Commission meetings
June 22, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.
June 24, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.
Upcoming reporting due dates
June 20: June Monthly Reports are due. For more information, see the 2021 Monthly Reporting schedule.
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.
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 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 currently. The use of the agency’s logo, name, and likeness on other media has not been authorized by the FEC.
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