ACT Fined $775,000
FEC SENDS A MESSAGE
ACT Fined $775,000
The Federal Election Commission yesterday issued the latest in a string of six-figure fines against partisan political groups -- this time, against America Coming Together, a group financed by George Soros and labor organizations that sunk more than $100 million into campaign activities intended to help Democrats in the 2004 elections.
The decision to fine the group $775,000, the FEC's third-largest penalty in its three-decade history, was intended to send a stern message to independent groups. The FEC has said it will crack down on groups that raise unlimited resources outside of the campaign finance system but then spend that money on activities aimed at influencing specific elections.
The groups are permitted to spend such funds on generic activities, such as voter drives. But in this case, the FEC determined that ACT was spending its money on political ads, telemarketing, and door-to-door canvassing and other activities that clearly targeted identified federal candidates.
The fine was reached as part of an agreement with ACT, meaning the group agreed to the findings and the terms of the settlement. ACT released a statement on the FEC announcement, signaling that the ruling made clear the violations were not deliberate.
The complaint against ACT was brought by Democracy 21, a nonpartisan campaign finance reform group.
In a statement yesterday, the group's president, Fred Wertheimer, welcomed the decision.
-- Matthew Mosk
OLD WARRANT SURFACES
A Fundraiser Shunned
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton will donate to charity the $23,000 in direct contributions she has received from Norman Hsu, her campaign announced last night, citing concerns about published reports that Hsu faces an outstanding arrest warrant in California.