Federal Election Commission (FEC)
- Homepage: http://www.fec.gov/
January 2002: "In 1975, Congress created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) - the statute that governs the financing of federal elections. The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections." http://www.fec.gov/about.html
May 2001: "Political finance experts said that party committees could use donations gathered from individuals to make limited contributions to a federal campaign. But even then, they emphasized, such spending must be done through a registered committee and reported to the Federal Election Commission. During the 1996 campaign, the Bergen County group neither registered with the commission, officials said, nor reported any of the expenses that it covered for the Torricelli campaign."http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/19/politics/19INQU.html
May 2011: 'Against the recommendation of its lawyer, the election commission also declined to take action against the senator after it said it could not disprove sworn statements from Mr. Ensign and his parents about a $96,000 payment to the Hamptons that they said was a gift. The Ethics Committee said the money in fact appeared to be an “unlawful” severance payment and that Mr. Ensign made “false and misleading” statements about it to investigators. It also said the former senator appeared to have destroyed e-mails relevant to the investigation.'http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/14/us/politics/14ensign.html
May 2010: "That second case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, was in some ways the easier of the two, at least under a conception of the First Amendment that is particularly skeptical of government censorship of political speech."http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/us/politics/04bar.html
July 2008: "According to Federal Election Commission records, Mr. Rangel received $2,000 in campaign contributions from Sylvia Olnick, an owner of the company, in 2004. His separate political action committee received $2,500 donations from her in 2004 and 2006."http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/11/nyregion/11rangel.html
June 2008: "The FEC ruled unanimously in March 2007 that presidential candidates could accept general election public financing, provided that they return any money raised for the general election while following certain guidelines.At the time, Obama's actions appeared to be a desire on his part to preserve the public financing option while enabling him to raise general election money."http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/06/19/obama.public.financing/index.html
February 2008: "The law would apply only to robocalls related to candidates running for federal office and would include those placed by supporters and opponents alike. The Federal Election Commission would be empowered to fine violators, and individuals could sue to stop the calls."http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0227/p02s01-uspo.html
February 2008: '"Hillary: The Movie" premièred Jan. 16 in Washington. It is being screened in select cities, including showings in San Diego on Feb. 1 and Santa Ana, Calif., on Feb. 2. But because of its hard edge and timely political subject matter, the Federal Election Commission has put restrictions on three broadcast advertisements promoting the movie. Under campaign-finance regulations, ads for the film must include a political disclaimer and the film's financial backers must be disclosed to the FEC and the public.'http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0201/p03s01-ussc.html
October 2007: Congress tried to outlaw political contributions from those under age 18 as part of the McCain-Feingold Act in 2002, but the Supreme Court struck down that provision as an infringement on the constitutional rights of minors. With that ruling in mind, the Federal Election Commission wrote new regulations two years ago that tried to balance what it considered a legitimate desire among some children to make political contributions against the possibility that parents would seek to pad their donations by funneling money through children.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/23/AR2007102301882.html
September 2007: Free-for-all media. Earlier this month, a carping conservative blogger decided to complain to the Federal Election Committee (FEC) that the Daily KOS should comply with campaign finance laws. The reasoning was that the Daily KOS is not a media entity but a political Web site (blog) subject to FEC scrutiny on how it collects and spends money.http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2184130,00.asp
March 2007: Under a little-noticed rulemaking last year, the FEC opened a loophole in the law for just the sort of videos that de Vellis created. 'Posting a video on a Web site does not result in a 'public communication' unless it is placed on another person's website for a fee,' the FEC declared in its final rules last April.http://archive.salon.com/news/feature/2007/03/27/youtube/index.html
December 2006: The Federal Election Commission yesterday slapped heavy fines on three independent fundraising groups it said had illegally injected tens of millions of dollars into the 2004 presidential campaign, concluding unanimously that the funds were drawn from large donors and corporations in violation of election laws.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/13/AR2006121301241.html
January 2006: At issue in the case, Wisconsin Right to Life Inc. v. Federal Election Commission , No. 04-1581, was the claim by a Wisconsin antiabortion group that ads it wanted to broadcast in the state during the 2004 election were not covered by McCain-Feingold. The ads would have urged the public to tell Feingold, who was up for reelection, not to support a filibuster of President Bush's judicial nominees.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/23/AR2006012300542.html
January 2006: The Wisconsin group is appealing a lower court ruling that its grass-roots lobbying ads in 2004 violated the law. The ads urged voters to ask Wisconsin's Democratic Sens. Russell Feingold and Herb Kohl to oppose any possible filibusters of President Bush's judicial nominees. Feingold was a candidate for reelection at the time, so the Federal Election Commission said the ads could not mention his name from Aug. 15 through Nov. 2, 2004.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/04/AR2006010401954.html
Role Name Type Last Updated Owned by (partial or full, past or present) US Federal Government - Independent Agencies Organization May 4, 2005 Organization Executive (past or present) Lawrence "Larry" Noble Person Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Trevor Potter Esq. Person Oct 20, 2006 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Prof. Bradley A. Smith Esq. Person Mar 26, 2004 Organization Head/Leader (past or present) Commissioner Scott E. Thomas Person Aug 7, 2007 Organization Executive (past or present) Commissioner Michael E. Toner Esq. Person Jan 23, 2007 Employee/Freelancer/Contractor (past or present) Ellen L. Weintraub Person Mar 26, 2004 Organization Executive (past or present) Hans von Spakovsky Person Jan 5, 2006
Articles and Resources
Date Fairness.com Resource Read it at: May 13, 2011 U.S. Scrutinized Ensign, but Senate Dug Deeper
QUOTE: the Senate’s harsh report — contrasted with the Justice Department’s inaction — provided further evidence for those who complain that the agency has seemed skittish about taking on public officials following the fiasco that resulted from the 2008 corruption case against the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, which was ultimately dropped amid charges of prosecutorial misconduct.
New York Times May 04, 2010 Free Speech Through the Foggy Lens of Election Law (Sidebar)
QUOTE: Corporate contributions to candidates are still banned, but corporations may now spend freely in candidate elections. The distinction between contributions and spending has not been popular in the legal academy.
New York Times Oct 21, 2009 Sequoia e-voting code reveals possible FEC rule violations
QUOTE: Though still in its initial stages, the review [by the Election Defense Alliance] has already uncovered evidence indicating that the [Sequoia] voting machines are programmed in a manner that falls afoul of rules and guidelines established by the Federal Election Commission.
Ars Technica Oct 09, 2009 Against Transparency: The perils of openness in government.
QUOTE: More information,[from greater government transparency]" as [Archon] Fung and his colleagues put it, "does not always produce markets that are more efficient." Instead, "responses to information are inseparable from their interests, desires, resources, cognitive capacities, and social contexts..."
New Republic, The (TNR) Jul 21, 2009 Industry Cash Flowed To Drafters of Reform: Key Senator Baucus Is a Leading Recipient
QUOTE: Top health executives and lobbyists have continued to flock to the senator's[Max Baucus] often extravagant fundraising events in recent months. During a Senate break in late June, for example, Baucus held his 10th annual fly-fishing and golfing weekend in Big Sky, Mont., for a minimum donation of $2,500.
Washington Post Jul 18, 2008 Congressman Seeks Ethics Probe of Fundraising: Money to Be Used for Center in His Name
QUOTE: Some ethics experts have called the entreaties troubling because some of the corporations and individuals the New York Democrat has approached, including insurance giant American International Group, have business interests before his committee. The panel has broad jurisdiction over tax and trade matters.
Washington Post Jul 11, 2008 Rangel Rents Apartments at Bargain Rates
QUOTE: Mr. Rangel’s use of the fourth apartment as an office, in addition to his 2,500-square-foot residence, was especially troubling to some advocates, given the city’s chronic shortage of housing for low- and moderate-income residents. “Whether it’s an elected official or not, no one should have four apartments, especially when one is being used as an office,” said Michael McKee, treasurer of the Tenants Political Action Committee, who was not aware of Mr. Rangel’s situation when he was interviewed.
New York Times Jun 26, 2008 High Court Rejects Controversial Campaign Finance Provision
QUOTE: The Supreme Court today narrowly overturned a controversial provision of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance legislation, ruling that it is unconstitutional to allow candidates to accept larger-than-normal contributions if their opponents use their own fortunes to finance election bids.
Washington Post Jun 19, 2008 McCain attacks Obama for opting out of public financing
QUOTE: Obama told supporters in an e-mail message Thursday that he would not accept about $85 million in public funds when he becomes the Democratic presidential nominee...McCain said that Obama's move to drop out of the system "should be disturbing to all Americans" and that he may decide to opt out, too.
CNN (Cable News Network) May 13, 2008 A Usually Legal Practice That Wears Black Eyes
QUOTE: The [Clinton] campaign paid her and seven other members of her family $100 to $200 each to knock on doors, deliver fliers and get voters to the polls for the Democratic primary on March 4, which Mrs. Clinton narrowly won...The payments, known in the political vernacular as “street money,” are a legal but controversial tool that Mrs. Clinton employed at a time when she was desperately seeking a victory after losing 10 consecutive contests to Mr. Obama.
New York Times Mar 14, 2008 NRCC Says Ex-Treasurer Diverted Up to $1 Million
QUOTE: The former treasurer for the National Republican Congressional Committee diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars...of the organization's funds into his personal accounts, GOP officials said yesterday, describing an alleged scheme that could become one of the largest political frauds in recent history.
Washington Post Feb 27, 2008 Campaign 'robocalls' catch Congress's ear: A bipartisan bill, introduced Tuesday, would keep Americans from being flooded with automated political phone calls.
QUOTE: First Amendment protections of political speech prevent a complete ban on such calls, say constitutional specialists. But [a measure] governing such practices – which forces a caller at least to give a name and phone number so that recipients can file complaints – is a reasonable compromise.
Christian Science Monitor Feb 16, 2008 Unfettered Speech, Now
QUOTE: [A new] lawsuit...challenges the constitutionality of requiring independent groups of citizens to register and organize as political committees. For the first time, federal courts will be asked to decide whether independent political speech by groups of individual American citizens has the full protection of the First Amendment.
Washington Post Feb 01, 2008 Now showing: 'Hillary: The Movie' and election-law gripes: The film's creators dispute a finding that election rules apply to their promotional ads. Next stop: the Supreme Court.
QUOTE: In an appeal to the US Supreme Court, [a lawyer for Citizens United] argues that the three ads [for a documentary on Hillary Clinton] are not "electioneering communications" advocating the election or defeat of a particular candidate...For the FEC to impose disclosure and disclaimer requirements is an unconstitutional infringement of free speech, Mr. Bopp says.
Christian Science Monitor Oct 24, 2007 As Campaigns Chafe at Limits, Donors Might Be in Diapers
QUOTE: Congress tried to outlaw political contributions from those under age 18 as part of the McCain-Feingold Act in 2002, but the Supreme Court struck down that provision as an infringement on the constitutional rights of minors. With that ruling in mind, the Federal Election Commission wrote new regulations two years ago that tried to balance what it considered a legitimate desire among some children to make political contributions against the possibility that parents would seek to pad their donations by funneling money through children.
Washington Post Sep 17, 2007 The Road from Media Ethics to Information Anarchy
QUOTE: What we consider ethical journalistic behavior, for the most part, is dictated by the corporate policies designed for specific news organizations. The big news organizations usually preach that their ethical standards are the best and that everyone should use them. This is a form of marketing and nothing more. Unfortunately, it's a trick that tends to confuse the small fries who often no longer define themselves as "true" media.
PC Magazine Aug 07, 2007 Fundraisers Tap Those Who Can't Say No: 'Bundlers' Look to Associates, Employees for Campaign Cash
QUOTE: for the most part, it is not illegal,[former Federal Election Commission chairman] said. The Federal Election Commission prohibits corporate executives or labor leaders from "facilitating" contributions from their subordinates. But that's as far as the language goes, he said.
Washington Post Jul 23, 2007 Loophole Lets Candidates Skirt Donation Limit
QUOTE: Jack Rosen has given Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton… nearly double the amount individuals can donate to any single presidential candidate this election. He is able to do so because of a loophole in political fundraising laws -- one that is allowing several presidential candidates to simultaneously collect donations for their presidential bid and other political entities connected to them.
Washington Post Jul 17, 2007 He backs Clinton; her backers help him: Ex-Iowa Gov. Vilsack endorses senator, then receives $87,000 from her supporters to help pay off his own presidential campaign debt.
QUOTE: Shortly after endorsing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign, former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack received nearly $90,000 in donations to his defunct presidential campaign from some of Clinton's major backers, campaign finance reports show.
Los Angeles Times Jul 06, 2007 Unfree Speech: One of America's greatest achievements, the First Amendment, is being undermined by campaign-finance 'reform.'
QUOTE: The Fourth of July holiday makes this an apt week to reflect on one of the great underreported stories of our time: the rise of speech regulation…
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