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Week of October 3-7, 2022 – FEC.gov

Commission meetings and hearings

No open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.

Advisory Opinions

Opinion Issued

Advisory Opinion 2022-20 (Maggie for NH) On October 4, the Commission approved on tally vote an advisory opinion in response to a request from Maggie for NH, a principal campaign committee of a federal candidate. The Commission concluded, based on the facts presented in the request, that short code text messages sent by the committee containing links to “split-it” fundraising pages would not constitute in-kind contributions to other federal political committees listed on the pages because the text messages do not qualify as “public communications.” Thus, the text messages do not satisfy the content prong of the Commission’s coordinated communications test.

Requests Received

Advisory Opinion Request 2022-22 (Data Vault I) On October 3, the Commission made public an advisory opinion request by DataVault. The requestor, a corporation, asks whether it may design and market non-fungible tokens (NFTs), in the ordinary course of its business and at the usual and normal charge, to political committees for use as a campaign fundraising promotion. The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following the publication of the request (no later than October 13) and must issue a response no later than 60 days after the receipt of the complete advisory opinion request, that is, by November 21, 2022. The requestor also granted an extension of time.

Advisory Opinion Request 2022-23 (Data Vault II) On October 3, the Commission made public an advisory opinion request by DataVault. The requestor, a corporation, asks whether it may license, in the ordinary course of its business and at the usual and normal charge, certain patented technology for political committees to use in advertising. The Commission will accept written comments on the request during the 10-day period following the publication of the request (no later than October 13) and must issue a response no later than 60 days after the receipt of the complete advisory opinion request, that is, by November 21, 2022. The requestor also granted an extension of time.

Comments Received

Advisory Opinion Request 2022-21 (DSCC, Bennet for Colorado, and People for Patty Murray) This week, the Commission received two comments on the advisory opinion request.

Enforcement

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

MURs 7321, 7335, 7359, and 7473

COMPLAINANTS: Susannan Byrd; Veronica Escobar; Jason Chapman; and Margaret Christ, Campaign Legal Center
RESPONDENTS: Keep El Paso Honest and Lindsey Workman, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaints alleged that the Committee failed to file independent expenditure reports after making payments for advertising expenses and failed to file regularly scheduled campaign finance reports disclosing receipts and disbursements in the 2017-2018 election cycle.
DISPOSITION: On June 14, 2019, the Commission found reason to believe the Committee failed to file reports of receipts, disbursements, and independent expenditures. During the course of the Commission’s investigation, the Committee filed a late disclosure report for its receipt and expenditure of $207,000 during the first quarter of 2018 and revealed that it had been dormant and without any cash on hand since April 2018. In a vote on August 30, 2022, the Commission was equally divided on whether to take no further action. The Commission closed the file.

MUR 7933

COMPLAINANT: End Citizens United
RESPONDENTS: Alek for Oregon and Chris Marston, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Alek Skarlatos; and 15:17 Fund
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the 15:17 Fund, a corporation founded by Skarlatos, made, and the Committee knowingly accepted, a prohibited corporate contribution when the 15:17 Fund purported to refund a donation it received from the Committee. The complaint further alleged that the contribution was not comprised of federally permissible funds. Skarlatos was a 2020 candidate for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission dismissed the allegations that the 15:17 Fund made, and Skarlatos and the Committee knowingly accepted, a prohibited corporate contribution. The Commission also dismissed allegations that Skarlatos and the 15:17 Fund directed, transferred, spent, or disbursed prohibited funds. The Commission observed that the 15:17 Fund’s payment to the Committee apparently was not a contribution and that it was comprised of federally permissible funds.

MUR 7934

COMPLAINANT: Carol A. Reynolds
RESPONDENTS: Xochitl Torres Small; Xochitl for New Mexico and Joshua Orozco in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); and Karen S. Mendenhall
SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that Torres Small, the Committee, and Mendenhall, the campaign’s attorney, misused campaign funds to pay legal fees in connection with a lawsuit brought by William Thomas Morrow, a campaign supporter, which challenged the nominating petition of Torres Small’s would-be opponent in the 2018 Democratic Primary Election. The complaint also questioned whether the Committee properly reported its payments to fund Morrow’s lawsuit. Torres Small was a 2018 candidate for New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe the respondents converted campaign funds to personal use and no reason to believe they improperly reported the purpose of these payments as “legal services” because the Committee’s funding of Morrow’s lawsuit appeared be a legitimate campaign expense that would not have existed but for Torres Small’s candidacy.

MURs 6915 and 6927 (John Ellis Bush, et al.) On October 4, Chairman Allen Dickerson issued a Supplemental Statement of Reasons.

Commissioner Statements

On October 4, Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub issued a Statement on the Voting Decisions of FEC Commissioners.

On October 5, Chairman Dickerson issued a Policy Statement Regarding the Commission’s Use of Anonymous Sources Reported in the Press.

Litigation

Campaign Legal Center, et al. v. FEC (Case No. 19-2336) On October 3, Defendant-Intervenors Hillary for America, et al. filed a Response in Opposition to Plaintiffs’ Second Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment and Reply in Support of Defendant-Intervenors’ Second Motion for Summary Judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Campaign Legal Center v. FEC (Case No. 22-1976) On October 3, the Commission filed a Reply in Support of its Motion to Dismiss in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Outreach

On October 6, Chairman Dickerson spoke at the William & Mary Law School as a guest of its Election Law Society.

On October 6, Commissioner Weintraub spoke at the University of New Hampshire’s Law Review annual symposium on Contemporary Issues in Election Law in Concord, NH.

On October 6, Deputy Press Officer Christian Hilland met virtually with media students at Stockton University in New Jersey to discuss the Commission’s role and disclosure systems.

On October 6, the Commission hosted reporting and FECFile webinars for candidate committees.

Upcoming Commission meetings

October 18, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.

October 20, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.

November 15, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session.

November 17, 2022: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting.

Upcoming educational programs

October 19, 2022: The Commission will host an FECConnect OnTopic session on Last Minute Disclosures.

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

Upcoming reporting due dates

October 15: October Quarterly Reports are due. For more information, see the 2022 Quarterly Reporting schedule. The Commission’s Reports Analysis Division and Electronic Filing Office will be available until 8 p.m. Eastern on Friday, October 14 for filers needing assistance.

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

October 27: 12-Day Pre-General Reports are due. For more information, see the 2022 Pre- and Post-General Reporting schedule. The Commission’s Reports Analysis Division and Electronic Filing Office will be available until 8 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, October 27 for filers needing assistance.

Employment Opportunities

The FEC is accepting applications for the position of Administrative Assistant. For more information, see https://www.usajobs.gov/job/679374500.

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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