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Week of May 9-13, 2022 – FEC.gov

Commission meetings and hearings

On May 10 and 12, the Commission met in executive session.

On May 12, the Commission held an open meeting.

Status of FEC operations

Beginning this month, the FEC’s headquarters at 1050 First Street, NE, Washington, DC, 20002, is reopening 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.

Enforcement

The Commission made public 11 closed cases, as follows. For more information, see the case documents in the Enforcement Query System.

MUR 7708

COMPLAINANTS: Michael Saltsman; Austin Samuelson; and Employment Policies Institute
RESPONDENTS: Eva Putzova for Congress and Alexandra Perez-Garcia, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Eva Putzova; Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, Inc. (ROC United); and Steven Piasecki
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that ROC United, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, made prohibited in-kind corporate contributions to Putzova and the Committee through compensation paid to ROC United employee Steven Piasecki, who also served as a Putzova campaign staffer and purportedly posted political messages on Putzova’s and the Committee’s Twitter accounts during the work day. Putzova was a 2020 candidate for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter. The Commission observed that the available information indicated that while a limited number of tweets could potentially be attributable to Piasecki during normal business hours, Piasecki attested that he did not work for the Putzova campaign during his ROC United work hours, and the nature of any potential violation was likely minimal.

MUR 7776

COMPLAINANT: Dean Stamos
RESPONDENTS: Promark Research Corporation (Promark); and Unknown Respondent
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Promark made a public communication in the form of a survey that was designed for the purpose of influencing a federal election and failed to include a disclaimer identifying the entity responsible for the survey.
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file. Chairman Allen Dickerson and Commissioners Sean J. Cooksey and James E. “Trey” Trainor, III issued a Statement of Reasons.

MUR 7816

COMPLAINANT: Jim Hagedorn
RESPONDENTS: Daniel Feehan; Friends of Dan Feehan and Meghan Maes, in her official capacity as Treasurer (the Committee); Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE); New Politics Leadership Academy (NPLA); and Center for New American Security (CNAS)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Feehan and the Committee received prohibited corporate contributions in the form of excessive compensation from LEE, NPLA, and CNAS, three organizations that employed Feehan. Feehan was a 2020 candidate for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission dismissed the matter. The Commission observed that the respondents stated that the compensation was for bona fide services that were independent of Feehan’s campaign.

MUR 7819

COMPLAINANT: Caitlin Sutherland, Americans for Public Trust
RESPONDENTS: Cal Cunningham; and Cal for NC and Steven Mele, in his official capacity as Treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Cunningham and the Committee converted campaign funds to personal use by paying for the candidate’s non-campaign travel expenses to California. Cunningham was a 2020 candidate for North Carolina’s United States Senate seat.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe a violation occurred because the available information indicated that the disbursements at issue were made in connection with travel for official campaign events.

MUR 7839

COMPLAINANTS: Steve Daines for Montana and Lorna Kuney, in her official capacity as treasurer; and National Republican Senatorial Committee
RESPONDENTS: Westerleigh Press, Inc.; Big Sky Values (f/k/a Montanans for Bullock) and Sue Jackson, in her official capacity as treasurer (Big Sky Values); Jaime Harrison for U.S. Senate and David Adams, in his official capacity as treasurer (Harrison Committee); Northern Leadership PAC (f/k/a Dr. Al Gross for U.S. Senate) Jay Petterson, in his official capacity as treasurer (Northern Leadership PAC); and Unknown Respondents
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Westerleigh Press, Inc., a political print and mail vendor, and unknown Westerleigh Press customers sent anonymous mailings to voters in Montana, Alaska, and South Carolina shortly before the 2020 general election that expressly advocated against the Republican Senate candidates in those states, lacked disclaimers, and were not reported as independent expenditures. The complaint further alleged that the mailings may have been coordinated with the campaigns of the featured candidates’ Democratic opponents, Steve Bullock, Al Gross, and Jaime Harrison and, therefore, the mailings were coordinated communications that resulted in excessive, prohibited, and unreported in-kind contributions.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe the alleged violations occurred because the mailings in question did not constitute express advocacy for the incumbent officeholders and there was no basis to find that there was a violation of disclaimer or independent expenditure reporting requirements. The Commission further observed that there was no information suggesting that the mailings were coordinated with any federal candidate or candidate committee, which would have resulted in an in-kind contribution.

MUR 7876

COMPLAINANT: Michelle Kuppersmith, Campaign for Accountability
RESPONDENTS: Lauren Boebert for Congress and Mike McCauley, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Lauren Boebert
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Boebert and the Committee converted campaign funds to personal use by obtaining reimbursement for non-campaign-related mileage expenses and that the Committee failed to keep adequate records of campaign expenditures. Boebert was a 2020 candidate for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the allegations that Boebert and the Committee converted campaign funds to personal use and failed to maintain appropriate records. The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed with caution the allegation that the Committee failed to accurately report the purpose of $3,919.52 of a disbursement made on November 11, 2020 to Boebert that was not for mileage expenses as originally reported. The Commission directed the Committee to work with the Reports Analysis Division to amend its disclosure reports to reflect proper purposes of disbursements. The Commission observed that the Committee acknowledged misreporting the purpose of the disbursement to Boebert but that the error did not result in any apparent under-reporting of the Committee’s expenditures. The Commission also observed the low proportion and amount of the disbursement that was misreported in dismissing the allegation with caution.

MUR 7882

COMPLAINANT: Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust
RESPONDENTS: Christy Smith; and Christy Smith for Congress and Marc Winger, in his official capacity as Treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Smith and the Committee failed to properly disclose the recipients of payroll and salary disbursements on campaign finance reports during the 2019-20 election cycle. Smith was a 2020 candidate for California’s 25th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file.

MUR 7885

COMPLAINANT: Campaign Legal Center
RESPONDENTS: American College of Radiology (ACR); and Senate Leadership Fund and Caleb Crosby, in his official capacity as treasurer (SLF)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that ACR made a prohibited $10,000 contribution as a federal contractor to SLF, an independent expenditure-only political committee, and raised questions as to whether SLF knowingly solicited a prohibited federal contractor contribution.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter. The Commission observed the low dollar amount at issue in the matter.

MUR 7888

COMPLAINANT: Campaign Legal Center
RESPONDENTS: Martin Marietta Materials, Inc. (Martin Marietta); and Senate Leadership Fund and Caleb Crosby, in his official capacity as treasurer (SLF)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Martin Marietta made a prohibited $10,000 contribution as a federal contractor to SLF, an independent expenditure-only political committee, and raised questions as to whether SLF knowingly solicited a prohibited federal contractor contribution.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter. The Commission observed the low dollar amount at issue in the matter.

MUR 7891

COMPLAINANT: Randal D. Schreiner
RESPONDENTS: Friends of Dan Feehan and Meghan Maes, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE); and National Lead for America, Inc. (NLA)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee and two non-profit corporations, LEE and NLA, paid three individuals to work on behalf of the Committee. Dan Feehan was a 2020 candidate for Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe that NLA made a prohibited corporate contribution and dismissed the allegations that LEE made a prohibited corporate contribution and that the Committee knowingly accepted or received a prohibited corporate contribution. The Commission observed that the available information indicated that although one of the named individuals was a fellow for NLA, NLA did not pay her for work on the Feehan campaign. The Commission further noted that while the other two individuals appear to have been paid modest stipends by LEE in connection with their work with the Committee, there was insufficient information to determine whether the stipends violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act). Finally, the Commission observed the small amount at issue.

MUR 7919

COMPLAINANT: James V. Lacy
RESPONDENTS: MSNBC; and NBCUniversal News Group
SUBJECT: The Complaint alleged that MSNBC and its parent company NBCUniversal News Group made prohibited corporate in-kind contributions to 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden in the form of express advocacy in Biden’s favor and against Biden’s rival, Donald Trump.
DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter. The Commission observed that the media exemption apparently applied to the activity at issue in the matter.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

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

ADR 1048

COMPLAINANT: Self-Initiated
RESPONDENTS: Heller for Senate and Chrissie Hastie, Treasurer (the Committee); and HellerHighWater PAC and Chrissie Hastie, Treasurer (the PAC)
SUBJECT: Respondents disclosed that a former partner of their compliance services vendor misappropriated funds totaling $42,226.66 from the Committee and $139,051.38 from the PAC between September 2018 and February 2019, resulting in the filing of inaccurate reports with the Commission.
DISPOSITION: The Committee and the PAC agreed to certify that internal control procedures have been followed consistently for two years or until their termination and pay a civil penalty of $2,300.

ADR 1058

COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENT: Kennedy for Massachusetts and Keith D. Lowey, 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 timely refund or redesignate contributions in excess of the limit totaling $32,150.
DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to pay a civil penalty of $2,900, certify the closure of the Committee’s federal account and file a termination report, and work with Commission staff to terminate their political committee status and reporting obligations with the Commission.

ADR 1060

COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENT: FedUp Political Action Committee aka FEDUP PAC and Donna Doe Testa, 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 made a series of reporting errors including mathematical discrepancies, failure to provide supporting schedules, and independent expenditure reporting problems.
DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to (1) amend relevant reports to address any inadequate responses and nonresponses to requests for additional information from the Reports Analysis Division, (2) certify that a representative of the Committee participated in an FEC conference, webinar or other FEC program, and (3) pay a civil penalty of $4,550.

Audits

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Association for Emergency Responders and Firefighters, PAC. On May 12, the Commission approved one finding in the Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the Association for Emergency Responders and Firefighters, PAC, covering campaign finance activity between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018. The Commission approved a finding on Increased Activity (Corrected) but was unable to reach consensus by four votes on the second finding, Recordkeeping for Disbursements and Use of Designated Depository. That recommended finding will be included in the Additional Issues section of the Final Audit Report of the Commission.

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the US Veterans Assistance Foundation, PAC. On May 12, the Commission approved four findings in the Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on the US Veterans Assistance Foundation, PAC, covering campaign finance activity between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018. The Commission approved findings on the Misstatement of Financial Activity, Increased Activity, Disclosure of Occupation and Name of Employer, and Failure to File 24/48-Hour Reports. The Commission was unable to reach consensus by four votes on the two other findings: Disclosure of Disbursements and Recordkeeping for Disbursements and Use of Designated Depository. Those recommended findings will be included in the Additional Issues section of the Final Audit Report of the Commission.

Public Funding

Initial Determination on Eligibility to Receive Primary Election Public Funds – Howie Hawkins, Howie Hawkins 2020. On May 12, the Commission held over until the next open meeting discussion of an Initial Determination that Hawkins, a 2020 candidate for U.S. President, is not eligible to receive payments of matching funds.

Litigation

Campaign Legal Center v. FEC (Case No. 21-0406) On May 10, Heritage Action for America filed an Expedited Motion to Intervene and a Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of the Expedited Motion to Intervene in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Campaign Legal Center v. FEC (Case No. 20-809) On May 12, 45Committee, Inc. filed a Corrected Reply in Support of Expedited Motion to Intervene for the Purpose of Appeal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. On May 13, the Court denied the motion.

FEC v. LatPAC et al. (Case No. 21-6095) On May 6, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued an Order Adopting Report and Recommendation, and on May 9, the Clerk of the Court issued a Judgment.

Josh Hawley for Senate v. FEC (Case No. 22-1275) On May 10, Plaintiff filed a Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Wisconsin Family Action v. FEC (Case No. 21-1373) On May 10, the parties filed a Stipulation of Voluntary Dismissal in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Green Bay Division.

Commissioners’ statements

Chairman Dickerson and Commissioners Cooksey and Trainor issued a Statement Regarding Concluded Enforcement Matters.

Outreach

On May 11, the Commission hosted a webinar for corporations and their PACs.

Public disclosure

On May 12, the FEC’s Office of Inspector General issued a report on its FY 2021 annual review of the FEC’s compliance with the Payment Integrity Information Act of 2019.

Press releases

FEC approves two Audit Division recommendations, public funding determination (issued May 12)

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 18, 2022: The Commission will host an FECConnect OnTopic session on responding to Requests for Additional Information (RFAIs) from the Commission’s Reports Analysis Division (RAD).

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.

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

Upcoming reporting due dates

May 20: May 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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