December 16, 2013

Last Week at the FEC: Administrative Action & COGEL

Holland & Knight Political Law Blog

Last week the Federal Election Commission took various administrative actions, but did not meet to consider any substantive work, as Chair Ellen Weintraub, Commissioner Ann Ravel, and various Commission staff spent the balance of the week in attendance at the annual conference of the Conference of Government Ethics Law (COGEL).

Administrative Actions

The Commission's administrative actions this week included the public release of two closed Enforcement Cases: MUR 6664, in which it found no reason to believe that Wall for Congress received a prohibited contribution from the Service Employees International Union or Wisconsin Jobs Now, Inc, and MUR 6675, in which the Commission exercised its prosecutorial discretion and dismissed a complaint alleging that Vernon Parker for Congress had failed to provide an appropriate disclaimer in a small number of automated phone calls.  

The Commission also released the record of AF 2698, a proceeding against Brad Miller for United States Congress pursuant to the Commission's Administrative Fine Program. In that case, the reviewing officer had recommended a $550 fine for failure to submit a timely year-end report for 2012 despite the fact that the omission was caused by an ongoing murder and embezzlement investigation.  In October, the Commission chose not to adopt the reviewing officer's recommendations and voted to terminate the proceeding.

This Week at the FEC

The Commission is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, December 17, when it will hold both an open meeting and an executive session. At its open meeting, the Commission will consider: 2013 Legislative Recommendations; an Agency Procedure for Notice to Named Respondents in Enforcement Matters of Additional Material Facts and/or Additional Potential Violations; and a Proposed Directive Regarding Information Sharing with Other Law Enforcement Agencies. It will also set meeting dates for 2014, elect officers, and consider other management or administrative matters.

While details regarding the Proposed Directive Regarding Information Sharing have not been released, it may mirror a proposal backed by Republican Commissioners earlier this year that would have restricted Commission staff from sharing information with the Department of Justice without approval from a majority of the Commissioners. Newly-elected Vice-Chairman Lee Goodman is widely expected to be elected to the Chairmanship under the Commission's procedures for annual rotation of the Chairmanship to a new Commissioner each year.

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