Statement of Policy Regarding Commission Action in Matters at the Initial Stage in the Enforcement Process
The Federal Election Commission (``Commission'') is issuing a Policy Statement to clarify the various ways that the Commission addresses Matters Under Review (``MURs'') at the initial stage of enforcement proceedings. The Commission may take any of the four following actions at this stage: find ``reason to believe,'' ``dismiss,'' ``dismiss with admonishment,'' and find ``no reason to believe.''
Filing Dates for the Georgia Special Election in the 10th Congressional District
Georgia has scheduled a special general election on June 19, 2007, to fill the U.S. House of Representatives seat in the Tenth Congressional District held by the late Representative Charlie Norwood. Under Georgia law, a majority winner in a nonpartisan special election is declared elected. Should no candidate achieve a majority vote, a special runoff election will be held on July 17, 2007, between the top two vote-getters. Committees participating in the Georgia special elections are required to file pre- and post-election reports. Filing dates for these reports are affected by whether one or two elections are held.
Policy Statement Establishing a Pilot Program for Probable Cause Hearings
The Federal Election Commission (``Commission'') is establishing a pilot program that will allow respondents in enforcement proceedings under the Federal Election Campaign Act, as amended (``FECA''), to have an oral hearing before the Commission. Hearings will take place prior to the Commission's consideration of the General Counsel's recommendation on whether to find probable cause to believe that a violation has occurred. The Commission will grant a request for a probable cause hearing if any two commissioners agree to hold a hearing. The program will provide respondents with the opportunity to present arguments to the Commission directly and give the Commission an opportunity to ask relevant questions. Further information about the procedures for the pilot program is provided in the supplementary information that follows.
Political Committee Status
In November 2004, the Federal Election Commission (``FEC'') adopted new regulations codifying when an organization's solicitations generate ``contributions'' under the Federal Election Campaign Act (``FECA'' or ``the Act''), and consequently, require that organization, regardless of tax status, to register as a political committee with the FEC. Additionally, the Commission substantially revised its allocation regulations to require the costs of voter drives, certain campaign advertisements, and a political committee's general administrative costs be paid for in whole or in substantial part with funds subject to FECA's limits, prohibitions, and reporting requirements. Pursuant to Shays v. FEC, 424 F. Supp. 2d 100 (D.D.C. 2006) (``Shays II''), the Commission is publishing a supplemental Explanation and Justification to provide a more detailed explanation of (a) The basis for the measures it adopted and (b) the reasons it declined to revise the regulatory definition of ``political committee'' to single out organizations exempt from Federal taxation under section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code (``527 organizations'') for increased regulation. This document also discusses several recently resolved administrative matters that provide considerable guidance to all organizations regarding the receipt of contributions, making of expenditures, and political committee status.
Price Index Increases for Expenditure and Contribution Limitations
As mandated by provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (``BCRA''), the Federal Election Commission (``FEC'' or ``the Commission'') is adjusting certain expenditure and contribution limitations set forth in the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (``FECA'' or ``the Act''), to account for increases in the consumer price index. Additional details appear in the supplemental information that follows.
Privacy Act of 1974; Systems of Records
In accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, 5 U.S.C. 552a, the Federal Election Commission (``the Commission'' or ``the FEC'') is publishing for comment a revised system of records that is maintained by the Commission. The system entitled Inspector General Investigative Records (FEC 12) has been revised to: include additional routine uses (3 through 17); expand the list of ``Categories of records in the system;'' include additional data elements required for systems of records notices, including ``Security Classification,'' ``Purpose,'' ``Disclosure to consumer reporting agencies,'' and ``Exemptions claimed for the system;'' and incorporate administrative and technical changes that have taken place since the last publication of FEC systems of records on December 15, 1997. 62 FR 65694. The minor changes include: clarifying the ``System location;'' adding new language to explain but not increase the ``Categories of individuals covered by the system;'' clarifying the language for ``Storage;'' adding new language under ``Retrievability;'' expanding the ``Safeguards;'' adding language to ``Retention and disposal;'' making a technical change to the ``System manager(s);'' clarifying the ``Notification,'' ``Record access,'' and ``Contesting record'' procedures; and updating the ``Record source categories.'' The revised system of records should provide improved protection for the privacy rights of individuals.
Statement of Policy: “Purpose of Disbursement” Entries for Filings With the Commission
Political committees and other persons required to file campaign finance reports with the FEC must itemize certain disbursements and, for each itemized disbursement, must provide information including a brief description of the purpose of the disbursement. The ``purpose of disbursement'' entry, when considered along with the identity of the disbursement recipient, must be sufficiently specific to make the purpose of the disbursement clear. The guidance below includes a non-exhaustive list of ``purpose of disbursement'' entries that are generally acceptable, and a non- exhaustive list of terms that are generally not acceptable.