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  • Weekly Digests

Week of July 27-31, 2020

July 31, 2020

Commission meetings and hearings

No open meetings or executive sessions were scheduled this week.

Enforcement

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

MURs 7484 & 7514

COMPLAINANTS: Barry Michaels; and Ebert Beeman for Congress and Brandon M. Magoon, in his official capacity as treasurer
RESPONDENTS: Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. (Nexstar) ; Sarkes Tarzian, Inc. (Sarkes); WQLN Public Media (WQLN); Manufacturers & Business Association (MBA); Mercyhurst University (Mercyhurst); Mike Kelly for Congress and Ann Coleman, in her official capacity as treasurer (Kelly Committee); and DiNicola for Congress and Christine A. Mitchell, in her official capacity as treasurer (DiNicola Committee)
SUBJECT: The complaints in these matters alleged that Nexstar and its broadcast partners, Sarkes, WQLN, MBA, and Mercyhurst, failed to use pre-established, objective criteria in selecting debate participants for two debates in Nevada and Pennsylvania that they staged as required by Commission regulations, resulting in the exclusion of the complainants from the respective debates and prohibited corporate contributions from the debate sponsors to the participating candidates. Kelly and DiNicola were 2018 candidates for Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District.
DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe that Nexstar, Sarkes, WQLN, MBA or Mercyhurst violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), or Commission regulations in connection with staging and broadcasting the debates. The Commission held that Nexstar had established sufficient criteria for participation in the 2018 Nevada Senate debate and that the criteria were not specifically designed to exclude any particular candidate. With respect to the 2018 Pennsylvania 16th District debate, the Commission held that Nexstar, WQLN, MBA, and Mercyhurst were all sponsors of the debate, as opposed to merely covering or carrying the debate, and that there was no information to suggest that they had endorsed, supported, or opposed any candidate, and or that the debate criteria were not pre-established. The Commission also found no reason to believe that the candidate committees that participated in the Pennsylvania debate, the Kelly and DiNicola Committees, violated the Act by accepting prohibited corporate contributions from the debate sponsors, since the sponsors were all permissible staging organizations or media entities.

MUR 7643 (America Progress Now and Evan Muhlstein) On July 28, Chair James E. “Trey” Trainor issued a Statement of Reasons.

Litigation

Campaign Legal Center, et al. v. FEC (Case No. 19-2336) On July 24, Plaintiffs filed a Motion for Summary Judgment in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Campaign Legal Center, et al. v. FEC (Case No. 20-730) On July 24, Intervenor-Defendant Right to Rise Super PAC, Inc. filed a Reply in Support of Intervenor-Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Upcoming reporting due dates

August 20: August Monthly reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2020 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

Upcoming educational programs

September 2, 2020: The Commission will host an Independent Expenditures and Pre-Election Communications webinar.

Additional information is available on the Educational Outreach page of the Commission website.

Updated election dates

For the latest reporting updates, please visit the Commission’s Dates and deadlines web page.

Status of agency operations

See the Commission’s statement on the status of agency operations, updated on June 18, 2020. At this stage, most agency staff remain in telework status and the Commission’s office remains closed to visitors.

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.

Federal Elections 2018: Election Results for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives is 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 2019 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 at this time. The use of the agency’s logo, name, and likeness on other media has not been authorized by the FEC.

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