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Week of October 18-22, 2021 – FEC.gov

Commission meetings and hearings

No open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.

Enforcement

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

MUR 7249

COMPLAINANT: End Citizens United; and Erin J. Fyffe
RESPONDENTS: Greg Gianforte; Greg for Montana and Lorna Kuney, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Gianforte Victory Fund and Chris Marston, in his official capacity as treasurer (GVF); Montana Republican State Central Committee and Mike Hopkins, in his official capacity as treasurer (MRSCC); and NRCC and Keith Davis, in his official capacity as treasurer (NRCC)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Gianforte, a 2017 candidate in Montana’s At-Large District Special Election, solicited earmarked funds through GVF, a joint fundraising committee, in an effort to circumvent the contribution limits and reporting requirements of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act). At the time of the complaint, GVF had three participating committees: the Committee (Gianforte’s principal campaign committee), the MRSCC, and the NRCC. The complaint specifically alleged that contributions to GVF or to MRSCC in response to a Gianforte solicitation before the special election had to be aggregated with donors’ contributions to the Committee, and that the Committee, GVF, and its participants may have failed to properly report earmarked contributions.
DISPOSITION: The Commission closed the file.

MUR 7661

COMPLAINANT: J. McCauley Brown
RESPONDENTS: Matt Jones for Kentucky Exploratory Committee and Andrew Jefferson, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Exploratory Committee); Matt Jones; Kentucky Sports Radio, LLC (KSR); iHeartMedia, Inc. (iHeart); and Simon & Schuster, Inc. (Simon & Schuster)
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Jones, a sports radio host who had contemplated running for U.S. Senate from Kentucky in 2020, accepted corporate contributions from iHeart for carrying his radio show, as well as from Simon & Schuster in connection with an alleged book tour.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe that iHeart, KSR, or Simon & Schuster made, or that the Exploratory Committee and Jones accepted, prohibited corporate contributions during his potential candidacy for U.S. Senate. The Commission observed that the available information indicated that iHeart’s payments for airing Jones’ radio show satisfied the so-called press exemption of the Act and Commission regulations, and that Simon & Schuster’s payments for Jones’ book qualified as bona fide commercial activity. The Commission further observed that the available information suggested that KSR was an entity unrelated to Jones’ show and was not implicated by the allegations contained in the complaint.

MUR 7742 (Twitter, Inc.) On October 19, Vice Chair Allen Dickerson and Commissioner James E. “Trey” Trainor III issued a Supplemental Statement of Reasons.

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 1021

COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENT: Keep America America Action Fund and Phil Willard, in their 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 $100,000 in additional receipts on its original 12-Day Pre-Runoff Report.
DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to 1) certify that a representative participated in an FEC training, and 2) pay a civil penalty of $4,700.

ADR 1026

COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENT: Americans for Decency and Democracy and Shawnda Deane, in their 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 timely file one 24-Hour Report supporting two independent expenditures totaling $50,135.29 disclosed on its 2021 30-Day Post-Runoff Report.
DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to 1) develop and certify implementation and distribution of a policy document to be provided to external compliance vendors detailing independent expenditure reporting procedures to ensure timely and accurate reporting, and 2) pay a civil penalty of $3,775.

ADR 1030

COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated
RESPONDENT: Community Change Voters and Jeff Berman, in their 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 timely file one 24-Hour Report to support one independent expenditure totaling $150,000 disclosed on its 2020 Amended 12-Day Pre-General Report.
DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to 1) develop and certify implementation and distribution of a policy document to be provided to all staff and compliance vendors detailing independent expenditure reporting, 2) certify that a representative participated in an FEC training, and 3) pay a civil penalty of $11,200.

Administrative Fines

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

AF 3925 Friends of Steve Negron and David Petrillo, in their official capacity as treasurer. The Commission made a final determination and assessed a civil penalty of $1,953.

Outreach

On October 19, Commissioner Sean J. Cooksey spoke at the Republican Governors Public Policy Committee’s Counsels Conference in Washington, DC.

On October 21-22, Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub participated in a virtual meeting of the Fourth Plenary Assembly Global Network on Electoral Justice.

Public Disclosure

On October 19, the Office of the Inspector General made public an Investigative Summary.

Upcoming educational programs

October 27, 2021: The Commission will host Candidate 101: Getting Started, an introduction to the campaign finance laws and regulations that apply to federal candidates and campaigns, covering topics such as candidate registration, treasurer responsibilities, contribution limits and prohibitions, and basic reporting requirements.

November 3, 2021: The Commission will host an FECConnect On Topic session on registration for PACs and parties.

November 16-17, 2021: The Commission will host a Virtual Conference online via Zoom.

December 8, 2021: The Commission will host a webinar for nonconnected PACs.

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

Upcoming Commission meetings

October 26, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.

October 28, 2021: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.

Upcoming reporting due dates

November 20: November 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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