July 31, 2006

The Latest FEC Fun

Carroll Andrew Morse

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve had an exciting new Federal Election Commission matter to discuss, so let’s lead with that this week. According to John E. Mulligan in Sunday’s Saturday's Projo, the FEC has warned the Chafee campaign about a potential violation of campaign finance law…

The Federal Election Commission has asked that Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee's name be removed from the title of the organization that sponsored First Lady Laura Bush's May visit to Providence to raise money for Chafee and Rhode Island's Republican Party.

In one of a series of letters to such groups, known as "joint fundraising committees," the FEC said "enforcement action" may be taken against them if they do not comply with the election campaign rules in question…

The FEC's letter to Chafee-Rhode Island Victory 2006 said the senator's name cannot be used because the group also represents a "multicandidate committee" -- meaning the state party, which assists many Rhode Island Republican office-seekers.

Multicandidate committees have to support five candidates for Federal office to qualify for their multicandidate status. I believe the FEC's position is that an organization can't be a true multicandiate committee if it says in its title that one of its candidate is more equal than the others. Of course, you could also approach this from a “truth in advertising” perspective and say if a single candidate is all that a particular PAC is really interested in, why not let them be up front about it?

Another part of Mulligan's article doesn’t match with current campaign finance rules. According to the “Campaign Fundraising for Dummies” documents available on the FEC website, multicandidate committees are limited to contributing $5,000 per candidate, per election. Mulligan, however, writes about a much bigger sum of money…

The Chafee-Rhode Island Victory 2006 group was formed to run Bush's Rhode Island fundraiser and pass the proceeds on to Chafee and the state party. The committee gave almost $110,000 to the senator's reelection campaign and $63,500 to the Rhode Island Republican State Central Committee, according to its midyear report to the FEC.
I suspect what Mulligan means is that $110,000 in individual contributions to Senator Chafee were collected and bundled by Chafee-Rhode Island Victory 2006, then passed along to the candidate.

Aren’t you glad we have all of our current campaign finance laws on the books making this transparent for you?

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As a Laffey supporter, I continue to pray nightly that nothing happens to Ian Lang and that he keeps his job until 9:00 PM on Sept 12.

The Chafee campaign is falling apart! The best they can do is file bogus FEC complaints while they are openly and arrogantly breaking the law!

They should just change the name to RINO-Rhode Island Victory 2006. Everyone would still know who it's for.

Posted by: roadrunner at July 31, 2006 1:25 PM

Rino Cooke,
That is a mean spirited remark made against a person who is not a public figure in the same way as Chafee, Laffey or Whitehouse. He is a paid employee. I think the moderator should expunge this comment.

Posted by: hopskip at August 2, 2006 9:16 AM