The firm "excels at representing clients in proceedings involving the FEC" (Chambers USA 2010). Our experience in this area includes:
- Creating federal and state political action committees (PAC).
- Reviewing disclosure reports before submission to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) or state agencies.
- Assisting clients in seeking advisory opinions from the FEC and state agencies.
- Representing clients against whom administrative complaints have been filed in enforcement actions.
- Representing political committees and presidential campaigns subject to audit.
- Regularly filing comments on behalf of our clients concerning ongoing rule-making proceedings before federal and state agencies.
FEC Matters Under Review
Since the 1980s, Wiley Rein attorneys have represented clients before the FEC in connection with its enforcement of the campaign finance laws. These confidential proceedings, called Matters Under Review (MURs), are ultimately resolved either by dismissal, settlement, or, if settlement fails, in a lawsuit. The following is a sample of MURs handled by Wiley Rein attorneys over the past decade that are available in electronic format on the FEC's website.
FEC MUR 6038: On behalf of Club for Growth State Action.
- The complaint alleged that Club for Growth State Action coordinated its communications with the Lamborn for Congress committee when it used the same voter list the Lamborn for Congress committee used. The FEC found no reason to believe that Club for Growth State Action violated federal law.
FEC MUR 6242: On behalf of Clear Channel Communications, Inc.
- The complaint alleged that Clear Channel Communications, Inc. made a corporate in-kind contribution in its broadcast of The J.D. Hayworth Show. The FEC found no reason to believe that Clear Channel Communications, Inc. violated federal law.
FEC MUR 6060: On behalf of Citizens for Arlen Specter and Stephen J. Harmelin.
- The FEC reached a conciliation agreement with Citizens for Arlen Specter and Stephen J. Harmelin involving excessive campaign contributions during the 2004 election cycle. In the agreement, Citizens for Arlen Specter agreed to pay a small civil penalty and refund or disgorge to the U.S. Treasury the unresolved excessive contributions.
FEC MUR 6206: On behalf of BASF Corporation.
- The complaint alleged that BASF Corporation failed to make available a payroll deduction system for its employees' contributions to a labor organization's PAC. The FEC closed the matter when it was equally divided on whether to find reason to believe that BASF Corporation violated federal law and whether to dismiss the matter.
FEC MUR 6075: On behalf of Congresswoman Kay Granger and Congressman Joe Barton.
- The complaint alleged that Congresswoman Granger and Congressman Barton solicited impermissible funds on behalf of a non-federal candidate. The FEC concluded that the solicitations did not constitute a violation.
FEC MUR Number 6077: On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
- The complaint alleged that the Chamber of Commerce engaged in impermissible coordination of its television advertising with Senator Norm Coleman. The FEC concluded that there was no reason to believe that coordination occurred and did not conduct any further investigation.
FEC MUR 5963: On behalf of Club for Growth PAC.
- The complaint alleged that Club for Growth PAC made excessive in-kind contributions to the Andy Harris for Congress Committee by coordinating advertisements attacking Harris' political opponent. The FEC found no reason to believe that the Club for Growth PAC had violated federal law.
FEC MUR 6059: On behalf of Club for Growth PAC.
- The complaint alleged that Club for Growth PAC made excessive in-kind contributions to the Sean Parnell for Congress Committee by coordinating its advertisements. The FEC found no reason to believe that the Club for Growth PAC had violated federal law.
FEC ADR 488: On behalf of the Mississippi Republican Party.
- The FEC determined that the Mississippi Republican Party failed to file three 24-hour notices in connection with a 2008 special general election. The party agreed to pay a $1,000 civil penalty and to attend a compliance conference sponsored the FEC.
FEC ADR 480: On behalf of the Sumter Electric Cooperative.
- The complaint alleged that some of the cooperative's solicitation activities did not comply with the FEC's regulations. Sumter Electric agreed to institute certain internal solicitation procedures.
FEC MUR 5415: On behalf of Citizens Club for Growth, Inc. and Citizens Club for Growth, Inc. PAC.
- The complaint alleged that Citizens Club for Growth, Inc. and Citizens Club for Growth PAC made impermissible in-kind contributions to the 2004 Pennsylvania Senate campaign of Pat Toomey through coordinated activities. The FEC took no further action and closed the file.
FEC MUR Number 5541: On behalf of The November Fund.
- The complaint alleged that The November Fund, a 527 organization, was required to register, report, and comply with contribution limits applicable to PACs. The FEC dismissed the matter.
FEC MUR Number 5750: On behalf of Citizens Club for Growth PAC.
- The complaint alleged that Laffey U.S. Senate failed to comply with FEC reporting requirements by not disclosing conduit information for contributions collected and forwarded by the Citizens Club for Growth PAC. The FEC concluded there was no reason to believe Citizens Club for Growth PAC violated the Act and did not investigate.
FEC MUR Number 5823: On behalf of Citizens Club for Growth, Inc. and Citizens Club for Growth PAC.
- The complaint alleged that Citizens Club for Growth, Inc. failed to register and report as a political committee, made prohibited corporate contributions in the form of coordinated communications, failed to report excessive in-kind contributions in the form of coordinated communications, and used corporate funds to pay for candidate endorsement materials on a website shared with the Citizens Club for Growth PAC. The FEC dismissed the allegation that Citizens Club for Growth, Inc. failed to register and report as a PAC and found no reason to believe any of the other claims.
FEC MUR Number 5774: On behalf of Club for Growth State Action.
- The complaint alleged that Doug Lamborn for Congress obtained the addresses of absentee voters and shared them with the Club for Growth State Action Committee and the Christian Coalition of Colorado, which in turn used the addresses to send mailers critical of Mr. Lamborn's opponents. The FEC concluded that the allegations were sufficiently rebutted and that there was no basis to investigate the alleged coordination.
FEC MUR Number 5595: On behalf of Clear Channel Communications, Inc.
- The complainant alleged that she heard the name "Kerry" used in an advertisement for a gun show, believing that it referred to the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, and that the advertisement did not contain the required disclaimer. The FEC dismissed the complaint and closed the file.
FEC MUR Number 5569: On behalf of Clear Channel Communications, Inc.
- The complaint alleged that a radio talk show improperly provided and coordinated corporate contributions to benefit the Cynthia Matthews campaign. The FEC found no reason to believe that Clear Channel violated the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (FECA) in this matter and closed the case.
FEC MUR Number 5635: On behalf of American Target Advertising, Inc.; The Viguerie Company.
- The FEC reached conciliation agreements with the respondents in which they agreed to pay civil penalties to settle FEC findings that they made corporate or excessive contributions to a political committee.
FEC MUR Number 5618: On behalf of Friends of Scott McInnis, Inc. and Representative Scott McInnis.
- The complaint alleged that Friends of Scott McInnis, Inc. paid the salary, telephone, utility, and vehicle costs for Congressman McInnis' wife in 2004, despite the fact that Congressman McInnis announced in 2003 he was not seeking reelection. The FEC dismissed the complaint and closed its file in this matter.
FEC MUR Number 5609: On behalf of Bluepoint Consulting; Club for Growth.
- The complaint alleged that Club for Growth, Trent Franks, the principal campaign committee of Trent Franks and Bluepoint Consulting violated the FECA by coordinating expenditures. The FEC found no reason to believe that the respondents violated the law in this matter and closed its file.
FEC MUR Number 5381: On behalf of Utah League of Credit Unions (ULCU).
- The complaint alleged that the ULCU and its eight member credit unions failed to properly report disbursements for communications, improperly granted a loan to a candidate, and expressly advocated the election of a candidate through a newsletter, direct mailings, recorded messages, polling, and neighborhood canvassing. The FEC found no reason to believe that any violations occurred and closed its file.
FEC MUR Number 5342: On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Business-Industry PAC, and National Beer Wholesalers Association.
- The complaint alleged that the respondents made prohibited corporate expenditures by directing "partisan" communications to corporate employees designed to get out the vote in the 2002 elections. The FEC found no reason to believe the ads represented partisan communications and closed its file in the matter.
FEC MUR Number 5279: On behalf of Charles Kushner & 40 associated partnerships.
- The FEC entered into conciliation agreements with Charles Kushner, a New Jersey-based real estate developer, and 40 partnership entities he controlled. The respondents agreed to pay a civil penalty as a result of contributions that the partnerships made without obtaining the agreement of the individual partners to whom the contributions were attributed.
FEC MUR Number 5197: On behalf of Fannie Mae.
- The FEC entered into a conciliation agreement in which Fannie Mae agreed to pay a civil penalty as a result of FEC findings that certain donations from Fannie Mae during the period from 1998 through 2000 were improperly made to or deposited in nonfederal accounts of party committees that were not "building funds."
FEC MUR Number 4953: On behalf of Congressman Dick Armey.
- The FEC entered into a conciliation agreement with the National Republican Congressional Committee resulting from its 1999 transfer of $500,000 in soft money to the U.S. Family Network to pay for issue advertisements. The complaint originally alleged that Rep. Armey violated the law through his affiliation with the organizations. The FEC found no reason to believe that Rep. Armey violated any provision of the law and closed its file in the matter.
FEC MUR Number 5181: On behalf of Precision List, Inc.; Precision Marketing, Inc.
- The complaint alleged that the Spirit of America PAC and Ashcroft 2000 violated the law by making and receiving contributions of value over the statutory limit and by failing to report to the FEC a fundraising list rented to Precision List, Inc. and Precision Marketing, Inc. as a contribution made and received. After reviewing the responses from Precision List, Inc. and Precision Marketing, Inc., the FEC determined to take no further action and closed the file as it pertained to them.
FEC ADR Number 119: On behalf of respondent Mark Kennedy for U.S. Congress.
- The complaint alleged that Mark Kennedy for U.S. Congress failed to report contributions received within 20 days and more than 48 hours before the Minnesota primary election. The FEC concluded that the alleged violation of the law was unsubstantiated and dismissed the matter.
FEC ADR Number 067: On behalf of John D. Ong.
- The respondent brought to the FEC's attention information that he inadvertently exceeded the $25,000 aggregate annual limit on individual contributions to federal election campaigns. The FEC entered into negotiations in which the respondent agreed to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $15,000.
FEC MUR Number 4530: On behalf of Hogan & Hartson LLP.
- The respondent reached a conciliation agreement with the FEC over claims that the respondent participated in improper foreign national donations.
FEC MUR Number 4624: On behalf of Coalition; U.S. Chamber of Commerce; National Association of Manufacturers; National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors; National Restaurant Association; and Rep. John Boehner.
- The complaint alleged that The Coalition, a group of more than 30 trade and business associations, improperly coordinated its $5 million advertising and direct mail effort with Republican party leaders, party campaign committees, and 37 candidate campaign committees in whose districts The Coalition undertook its activities. After investigation, the FEC took no further action and closed the file.
FEC MUR Number 4839: On behalf of KSDK-TV.
- The complaint alleged that the Republican candidate for state auditor purchased numerous 30-second spots and improperly split the ads into 15-second spots among Republican congressional candidates. The FEC took no action against the respondent and closed the file.
FEC MUR Number 4766: On behalf of Brown and Williamson Tobacco Corporation.
- The complaint alleged that Sen. Mitch McConnell informed his colleagues that major tobacco manufacturers promised to run television ads for those who voted against an approaching tobacco bill. The complaint alleged that the future ads were not issue ads but ads intended to influence the outcome of the upcoming election, which would be an illegal "contribution." The FEC found no reason to believe that respondents violated the law and closed the file.
FEC MUR Number 4545: On behalf of CSX Corporation.
- The complaint alleged that costs associated with President Clinton's train trip to the Democratic National Convention in August 1996 were improperly paid by respondents. The FEC found no reason to believe CSX Corporation violated any provision of the law and closed its file in this matter.
FEC MUR Number 4434 On behalf of Outback Steakhouse, Inc.
- The FEC found reason to believe that Outback had solicited contributions for Mark Sharpe for Congress from outside of Outback's restricted class and received and delivered contributions intended for the Sharpe campaign at Outback headquarters. The FEC sent admonishment letters to Outback, took no further action, and closed its file in the matter.
FEC MUR Number 3774: On behalf of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).
- The FEC found probable cause to believe that the NRSC's disbursement of 100% non-federal funds to the National Right to Life Committee in 1994, which was used to finance get-out-the-vote activities, was not in accordance with the law and the FEC's regulations. NRSC contended that no such violations occurred, but, in order to settle the matter, agreed to not contest the FEC's findings and pay a civil penalty.
FEC MUR Number 4546: On behalf of Friends for Jack Metcalf Committee.
- The FEC found probable cause to believe that Friends for Jack Metcalf Committee and Frank M. McCord, as treasurer, failed to provide complete contributor information and did not comply with the requirements for demonstrating "best efforts" under the law. The parties entered into a conciliation agreement in which the respondents agreed to pay a civil penalty.
FEC MUR Number 4428: On behalf of Amway Corporation.
- The complaint alleged that the Republican National Committee (RNC) received an illegal corporate contribution from the San Diego Convention and Tourist Bureau and that the source of these funds was Amway Corporation. The FEC found no reason to believe that Amway violated any statute or regulation within the FEC's jurisdiction and closed its file in the matter.
FEC MUR Number 2314: On behalf of the NRSC.
- The FEC found that the NRSC improperly directed the redesignation of contributions it received and failed to properly report this activity. The NRSC paid no civil penalties and agreed that through December 31, 1998, it would report all contributions that it asked contributors to redesignate to candidates as contributions from both itself and the contributor.
ISSUE: JANUARY 2015
IN THIS ISSUE
- New Pay-to-Play Reporting Requirements for Maryland State and Local Contractors; Report Due February 5
- Additional Contributions Permitted for National Party Committees
- Recent FEC Advisory Opinions Shed Light on Affiliation Issues
- New Oklahoma Lobbying / Gift Rules
- Notable Changes in State Campaign Finance Law—Arkansas, Maryland, and Vermont
- Use of New LDA Filing System Becomes Mandatory For April 2015 Filings
- The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: 2014 Year-in-Review
- FEC, IRS, and Lobbying Disclosure Filing Dates for 2015
- Speeches/Upcoming Events
Two Years of Tax Returns is Plenty
By Michael E. Toner
July 19, 2012 | USA Today
Combating Cybersquatters: A Legal Primer
By Michael E. Toner and David E. Weslow
May/June 2012 | Campaigns & Elections
Pay to Play Rules Need Not Keep You Out of the Presidential Game
By D. Mark Renaud
May 25, 2012 | American Banker