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  • Weekly Digests

Week of June 4-June 8, 2018*

June 8, 2018

Commission meetings and hearings

On June 7, the Commission met in executive session and held an open meeting .

Advisory opinions

Requests received

  • Advisory Opinion Request 2018-08 (Congressman Darrell Issa) . On June 6, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2018-08.  Congressman Issa asks several questions concerning the repayment of a candidate’s loan to a principal campaign committee.  The Commission must issue a response no later than the first business day following the 60th day after the receipt of the complete request, that is, by August 6, 2018.

  • Advisory Opinion 2018-09 (Clements for Congress) . On June 7, the Commission made public Advisory Opinion Request 2018-09. The requestor, the principal campaign committee of Paul Clements, a candidate for the United States House of Representatives, asks whether it may use campaign funds for legal expenses incurred in obtaining ballot access. The Commission must issue a response no later than the first business day following the 60th day after the receipt of the complete request, that is, by August 6, 2018.

Litigation

  • Campaign Legal Center, et al. v. FEC (16-0752). The United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order in, granting the Commission’s and Intervenor-Defendants’ Motions for Summary Judgment and denying the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court concluded that the Commission’s dismissals of the administrative complaints at issue were not contrary to law.            

Enforcement

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

MURs 7199, 7219 and 7242

  • COMPLAINANTS: Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust; and Douglas Guetzloe

  • RESPONDENTS: Patrick Murphy; Friends of Patrick Murphy and Brian Foucart, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Thomas Murphy, Jr.; Coastal Construction Group of South Florida, Inc. (Coastal Construction); Floridians for a Strong Middle Class and Jennifer May in her official capacity as treasurer (Floridians); and Senate Majority PAC and Rebecca Lambe in her official capacity as treasurer (SMP)

  • SUBJECT: The complaints alleged that Coastal Construction and Thomas Murphy, Jr., father of 2016 Florida candidate for United States Senate Patrick Murphy and Coastal Construction’s Chief Executive Officer, made an excessive and prohibited contribution when the company bought back $1 million in Coastal Construction stock owned by the candidate, who then used the proceeds both to secure a bank loan to the Committee and to repay the Committee's loan. One of the complaints also alleged that the respondents misreported the loan and violated a Commission regulation that limits post-election repayments of personal loans from a candidate. Another complaint alleged that Floridians and SMP, both independent-expenditure-only committees that received contributions from Thomas Murphy, Jr., and Coastal Construction, made coordinated expenditures that resulted in prohibited contributions to Patrick Murphy.

  • DISPOSITION: The Commission found no reason to believe the candidate, the Committee, or Coastal Construction accepted excessive and prohibited contributions, and the Commission found no reason to believe that the Committee violated Commission regulations regarding the Committee’s bank loan or its repayment, because the loan terms that the candidate personally guaranteed for the Committee seemed to satisfy the Commission’s regulations regarding bank loans used for campaigns. The Commission closed the file in connection with the coordination allegations.

MUR 7252

  • COMPLAINANT: Josh Foote

  • RESPONDENTS: Fire MacArthur Campaign (FMC); and Debra Cundiff Lonsdale

  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that FMC and Lonsdale had failed to file public disclosure reports, failed to include proper disclaimers on a billboard, and failed to register and report FMC as a political committee.

  • DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the complaint. The Commission noted the modest amount raised by the respondents and the modest amount spent on the billboard.

MUR 7315

  • COMPLAINANT: Stephen C. Meyers

  • RESPONDENTS: Allen Weh for Senate and Rebecca Sanchez, in her official capacity as treasurer (the Committee)

  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee owed Stephens and his company, SCM Associates, Inc., $7,217.85 for direct mail services and that the Committee has not reported the debt on its disclosure reports. Weh was a 2014 candidate for New Mexico’s United States Senate seat.

  • DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the complaint in consideration of Commission priorities. The Commission noted the relatively modest amounts at issue.

MUR 7325

  • COMPLAINANT: Lee Dunlap

  • RESPONDENTS: Matlock for Congress and Mark J. Hackney, in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee); Lange Animal Hospital; Lenoir City Animal Clinic; Loope Builders; McKinnon Construction Company; and Topside Wine and Spirits LLC

  • SUBJECT: The complaint alleged that the Committee accepted two $500 corporate contributions from Lange Animal Hospital and Lenoir City Animal Clinic, and that the committee’s 2017 Year-End report failed to properly disclose the individuals associated with contributions from five businesses: the two aforementioned contributions, two $500 contributions from Loope Builders, a $1,500 contribution from McKinnon Construction, and a $250 contribution from Topside Wine and Spirits. James Matlock is a 2018 candidate for Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District.

  • DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion in consideration of Commission priorities and dismissed the allegations as to the Committee, Lange Animal Hospital and Lenoir City Animal Clinic. The Commission noted the relatively modest amounts at issue and remedial actions taken by the Committee. The Commission found no reason to believe the remaining respondents violated the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act), or Commission regulations because there was no available information to suggest they were corporations or that any individual exceeded the per-election contribution limit once the partnership contributions were attributed to the individuals and aggregated with any individual contributions.

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 853  

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated 

  • RESPONDENT: Hispanic Victory PAC and Gustavo Decker in his official capacity as treasurer (the Committee) 

  • SUBJECT: The Committee failed to file 48-hour reports of independent expenditures made during the 2016 election cycle totaling $64,647.18, properly itemize contributions from individuals, and provide supporting schedules on disclosure reports. The Committee also amended its 2016 12-Day Pre-General Report to disclose additional receipts totaling $70,748.45 and additional disbursements totaling $50,158.85 from the original report.

  • DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to pay a civil penalty of $7,600. 

ADR 855  

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated 

  • RESPONDENT: Utah Republican Party and Abram Young in his official capacity as treasurer 
    SUBJECT:  The Committee made reporting errors including excessive, prohibited and other impermissible contributions and transfers; mathematical discrepancies; failure to provide supporting schedules; and allocated federal and non-federal activity. 

  • DISPOSITION: The Committee agreed to amend relevant 2015-2016 reports to address any inadequate responses and nonresponses to requests for additional information from the Commission’s Reports Analysis Division (RAD), certify that a representative of the organization participated in an FEC conference, webinar, or other program developed in consultation with the FEC’s Information Division, and pay a civil penalty of $7,800. 

ADR 861  

  • COMPLAINANT: FEC-Initiated 

  • RESPONDENT: AM Racing, LLC and Meredith Murray as a representative of AM Racing, LLC

  • SUBJECT: AM Racing, LLC failed to timely file a 24-hour independent expenditure report in connection with the 2016 elections totaling $77,082. On October 20, 2016, the respondent filed a 24-Hour Report disclosing $77,082.00 in total independent expenditures by both fax and e-mail, but did not include a Schedule 5-E to support the amount disclosed. 

  • DISPOSITION: The Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed the matter. 

Audits

Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum on Kelly for Congress .On June 7, the Commission approved a finding in an Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum covering campaign finance activity between March 2, 2015 and December 31, 2016. The Commission approved one finding related to the receipt of an apparent prohibited contribution through a bank loan. The Audit Report included in the Additional Issues section a separate proposed finding concerning the receipt of an apparent prohibited contribution from a national bank.

Rulemaking and agency procedures

REG 2011-02 . The Commission has posted on its website all 165,801 comments and signatures received in response to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) regarding two alternative proposals to amend its regulations concerning disclaimers on public communications on the internet that contain express advocacy, solicit contributions, or are made by political committees. The Commission will hold a public hearing on the rulemaking on June 27, 2018.

Press releases

Upcoming Commission meetings and hearings

2018 Meeting Dates . On June 7, the Commission approved the calendar of meeting dates for July–December, 2018.

  • June 26, 2018: The Commission is scheduled to meet in executive session .

  • June 27, 2018: The Commission will hold a public hearing on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding Internet disclaimers and the Commission’s definition of public communication.

  • June 28, 2018: The Commission is scheduled to hold an open meeting .

Meeting dates are subject to change. Please contact the Press Office the week of the scheduled meeting for confirmation.

Upcoming reporting due dates

  • June 20: June Monthly Reports are due. For more information on monthly reporting dates, refer to the 2018 Monthly Reporting page of the Commission website.

Educational Outreach

  • On June 6, the Commission hosted a webinar for membership and labor organizations and their political action committees (PACs).

Upcoming Educational Outreach

  • On June 20, the Commission will host reporting and FECFile webinars for candidate committees.

  • On June 27, the Commission will host a FECFile webinar for PACs and party committees.

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

Additional research materials

Additional research materials about the agency, campaign finance information, and election results are available through the Library section of the Commission website.

Printed copies of the 2018 edition of Title 11 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) are now available. Contact the Commission's Information Division at (202) 694-1100 or (800) 424-9530 (press 6, when prompted) to order printed copies of the CFR at no charge. You may also email the Information Division to place an order at info@fec.gov .

The 2017 Campaign Guide for Corporations and Labor Organizations is available. Other Campaign Guides are available, as well.

The 2018 Congressional Primary Election Dates list is available.

Federal Elections 2016: Election Results for the U.S. President, the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives is available. The data was compiled from the official vote totals published by state election offices. To order a printed copy, please contact the FEC’s Public Records Office at 800/424-9530 (option 2) or 202/694-1120, or send an email to pubrec@fec.gov .

The 2017 edition of 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.

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 mediums has not been authorized by the FEC.      


This Weekly Digest has been updated to include a correction to the entry on the Kelly for Congress Audit Division Recommendation Memorandum.