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Week of June 7-11, 2021 – FEC.gov

Commission meetings and hearings

On June 8 and 10, the Commission met in executive session.

The Commission voted to cancel the open meeting scheduled for June 10.

Enforcement

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

MUR 6997

COMPLAINANTS: Mark Sherman; and FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENTS: Americans Socially United and Cary L. Peterson, in his official capacity as treasurer (ASU); and Cary L. Peterson in his personal capacity
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that ASU, an unauthorized political committee, solicited and collected online contributions by fraudulently misrepresenting that it was acting on behalf of 2016 Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and his authorized committee, Bernie 2016, Inc. The complainant, who unsuccessfully attempted to obtain a refund from ASU, alleged that ASU misled contributors by soliciting contributions through a website (www.voteberniesanders2016.com) and then failed to collect identifying information for contributions as required by the Act. Further, in the normal course of exercising its supervisory responsibilities, the Commission initiated proceedings to determine whether there was reason to believe that ASU had committed reporting violations by (1) failing to disclose the source of funds of its initial cash balance of $2,820.00, (2) disclosing a negative ending cash balance of $49,748.51, (3) failing to disclose the original receipt of contributions refunded to individuals totaling $79,316.00, and (4) failing to properly itemize disbursements totaling $70,535.73 on its 2015 Mid-Year Report.
DISPOSITION: On April 24, 2018, the Commission found reason to believe that ASU violated the Act by fraudulently misrepresenting itself as acting on behalf of the Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, and by failing to collect and report identifying information about its contributors on disclosure reports. The Commission’s investigation confirmed that some donors contributed to ASU under the mistaken belief that it was affiliated with the Sanders campaign, and that ASU misreported its receipts and disbursements. On August 7, 2018, the Commission further found reason to believe that ASU and Peterson, in his personal capacity, violated the Act by filing an inaccurate report with the Commission. On April 20, 2021, the Commission voted to take no further action against ASU or Peterson, admonished Peterson for his apparent violations of the Act, and advised him to take steps to ensure that such activity does not occur in the future. The Commission instructed the Reports Analysis Division to administratively terminate ASU and closed the file.

MURs 7340 and 7609

COMPLAINANTS: Common Cause; Paul S. Ryan; Campaign Legal Center; End Citizens United PAC; and Tiffany Muller
RESPONDENTS: Great America Committee and Cabell Hobbs, in his official capacity as treasurer (GAC); America First Policies, Inc. (AF Policies); America First Action, Inc. and Jon Proch, in his official capacity as treasurer (AF Action); President Donald J. Trump; Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. and Bradley T. Crate, in his official capacity as treasurer (Trump Committee); Vice President Michael R. Pence; Republican National Committee and Ronald C. Kaufman, in his official capacity as treasurer (RNC); Parscale Strategy, LLC; Bradley J. Parscale; MO Strategies, Inc.; and Marty Obst
SUBJECT: The complaint filed in MUR 7340 alleged that President Trump and the Trump Committee established, financed, maintained or controlled AF Policies, a 501(c)(4) organization, and AF Action, an independent expenditure-only political committee, and that both organizations allegedly solicited, received, and spent soft money in violation of the Act. The complaint further alleged that Parscale, the Digital and Data Director for the 2016 Trump campaign, impermissibly solicited soft money for AF Policies and AF Action as an agent for Trump and for the RNC, and that Obst, a former Trump 2016 campaign advisor, solicited soft money for AF Policies and AF Action as an agent of Pence and GAC, Pence’s leadership PAC, which thus allegedly received and spent soft money in violation of the Act. Finally, the complaint alleged that AF Policies made expenditures for polling in coordination with the Trump campaign, which therefore accepted and failed to report an excessive and prohibited corporate in-kind contribution. The complainants later filed a supplement to their complaint to provide additional information in the form of a public statement by the Trump Committee that warned against “scam groups” raising funds by “deceptively us[ing] the President’s name, likeness, trademarks, or branding” and stated that “there is one approved outside non-campaign group, America First Action.” The complaint alleged that this statement further supported prior allegations and constituted a separate violation: soliciting funds outside the Act’s limitations and prohibitions. A separate complaint, filed in MUR 7609, made a similar allegation that this statement violated the Act by soliciting and directing contributions outside the limits and prohibitions of the Act.
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub issued a Statement of Reasons.

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 999

COMPLAINANT: Peter Meijer for Congress
RESPONDENTS: Scholten for Congress and Sue Jackson, in her official capacity as treasurer (Scholten Committee); Hillary Scholten; Michigan 2020 and Judith Zamore, in her official capacity as treasurer (Michigan 2020); and Serve America Victory Fund and Darryl Tattrie, in his official capacity as treasurer (Serve America)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Scholten Committee accepted $75,029.97 in excessive contributions from Serve America and Michigan 2020, but neither committee was listed as an authorized committee of the Scholten Committee at the time those contributions were received. Hillary Scholten was a 2020 candidate for Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the complaint. The Commission observed that Serve America and Michigan 2020 timely amended their filings to reflect their roles as fundraising representatives, and that the Scholten Committee amended its Statement of Organization to clarify the public record.

Administrative Fines

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

AF 3730 Jackson-US Senate and Vanity Jackson, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $3,934.

AF 3738 Peter De Neufville for Congress, Inc. and Philip Neuer, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $40,392.

AF 3926 Friends of Don Beyer and Katherine M. Buchanan, in her official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $3,101.

AF 4033 Joyce Elliott for Congress and Clarke Tucker, in his official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $3,134.

Audits

Final Audit Report of the Commission on Dr. Raul Ruiz for Congress. On June 9, the Commission made public the Final Audit Report of the Commission on Dr. Raul Ruiz for Congress. The Audit Division recommended that the Commission approve findings related to misstatement of financial activity and personal use of campaign funds. On March 25, 2021, the Commission voted not to adopt the recommendations, resulting in no findings in the Final Audit Report.

Outreach

On June 4, Commissioner Weintraub spoke via videoconference to students at Villanova University about campaign finance law and the work of the Commission.

On June 9, the Commission hosted a webinar for candidate committees.

Upcoming educational programs

June 23, 2021: The Commission will host a FECFile webinar for candidate committees.

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

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 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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