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Week of May 16-20, 2022 – FEC.gov

Commission meetings and hearings

No meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.

Status of FEC operations

Beginning this month, the FEC’s headquarters at 1050 First Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20002, has reopened to visitors and members of the public on a limited basis. Please see the FEC’s Contact page for more information, including current COVID-19 safety protocols.

Advisory Opinions

Draft Advisory Opinion

Advisory Opinion Request 2022-05 (DSCC) On May 20, the Commission made public a draft advisory opinion. The requestor, a national political party committee, plans to hire a consultant to write a research book regarding a sitting U.S. senator, and both to use the book to inform its own strategy in that senator’s state and to provide the book to two candidates for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in that state. DSCC asks whether the value of the book to each of the three committees is one-third of the cost DSCC will pay to the consultant.

Extension of Time

Advisory Opinion Request 2022-03 (Democracy Engine) On May 20, the requestor agreed to an extension of time.

Enforcement

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

MUR 7688

COMPLAINANTS: Thomas Rivera-Schatz, New Progressive Party
RESPONDENTS: Aníbal Comisionado 2020 and Jose Luis Mendoza, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Aníbal Acevedo-Vilá; and Media Power Group, Inc. d/b/a Radio Isla
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Media Power Group, Inc. (MPG) made and Acevedo-Vilá, a 2020 candidate for Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico, received and failed to report in-kind corporate contributions when MPG paid to broadcast a daily political radio talk show hosted by Acevedo-Vilá. The complaint alleged further that an unspecified company, which Acevedo-Vilá identified as Publicaciones por Puerto Rico (PPR), a corporation he owned, impermissibly paid costs for a book tour promoting Acevedo-Vilá’s latest book. Finally, the complaint alleged that Acevedo-Vilá failed to timely file his Statement of Candidacy and the Committee failed to timely file its Statement of Organization.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe the alleged violations occurred because (1) the available information indicates that MPG’s corporate costs related to Acevedo-Vilá’s radio show are covered by the press exemption and thus did not constitute in-kind contributions, (2) the costs associated with Acevedo-Vilá’s book tour appear to have been bona fide commercial activity exempt from the definition of “contribution,” and (3) Acevedo-Vilá and the Committee registered with the Commission five days after Acevedo-Vilá exceeded the $5,000 threshold for qualifying as candidate based on his reported contributions.

MUR 7882 (Christy Smith, et al.) On May 17, Chairman Allen Dickerson and Commissioners Sean J. Cooksey and James E. “Trey” Trainor, III 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 1054

COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENT: Colorado Republican Party and Richard Elsner, 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 the Committee failed to disclose all financial activity on its 2020 Year-End Report.
DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to pay a civil penalty of $9,800 and to develop and implement a procedure requiring the review of wire transfers by multiple staff members during report preparation.

Litigation

Campaign Legal Center v. FEC (Case No. 21-0406) On May 16, Heritage Action for America filed a Notice of Federal Election Commission Actions in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Campaign Legal Center v. FEC (Case No. 22-838) On May 19, Plaintiff filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Federal Election Commission v. Ted Cruz for Senate, et al. (Case No. 21-12). On May 16, The U.S. Supreme Court issued an Opinion, affirming the ruling of a three-judge panel of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, et al. v. FEC (Case No. 22-1017) On May 18, the Commission filed an Answer in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Commissioners’ statements

On May 16, Commissioner Cooksey issued a Statement on the Supreme Court’s Decision in FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate.

Outreach

On May 19, Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub spoke to students from Villanova University about campaign finance and the work of the Commission.

Educational programs

On May 18, the Commission hosted an FECConnect OnTopic session on responding to Requests for Additional Information (RFAIs).

Press releases

Supreme Court issues opinion on appeal in FEC v. Ted Cruz for Senate, et al. (issued May 16)

Upcoming Commission meetings

May 24 and 26, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.

May 26, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.

Upcoming educational programs

May 25, 2022: The Commission will host a webinar for membership and labor organizations and their PACs.

June 15, 2022: The Commission will host a webinar for trade associations and their PACs.

June 22, 2022: The Commission will host reporting and FECFile webinars for candidates.

June 29, 2022: The Commission will host a FECFile webinar for party committees and political action committees.

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

Reporting

The new Statement of Organization (FEC Form 1), which has been updated to add checkboxes for independent expenditure-only committees (Super PACs) and committees with a non-contribution account (Hybrid PACs), is now available. The Commission has also released new versions of FECFile (8.4) and the FEC Form 1 online webform. FECFile users should download the new version by opening FECFile and following the auto update prompts. Filers that use other electronic filing software should check with their vendor for a new version, as all software must now comply with the FEC’s updated format specifications.

Upcoming reporting due dates

June 20: June Monthly Reports are due. For more information, see the 2022 Monthly Reporting schedule.

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. Printed versions of the Guide are now available for order from the Commission’s Information Division.

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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