FEC Seeks Public Comment On Adding ‘Valuable Information’ To Defined Contributions
WASHINGTON – The Federal Elections Commission is seeking public comment on a proposal to include “valuable information” to the definition of a “contribution” used in its regulations.
Currently commission regulations define a “contribution” as “any gift, subscription, loan … advance, or deposit of money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for federal office.”
But in April, the FEC received a petition from a quartet of open government advocacy organizations, asking it to amend its definitions.
Not only does it include a request that the agency fold “valuable information” into its definition, it further asked it to define such information as that which is not freely available to the public; is made available to a person regulated by the Federal Election Campaign Act; is offered at below market rate or by a person not hired by the recipient to generate such information; and is likely to influence the outcome of a federal election.
The petition also sets out two types of this “valuable information” for special treatment: “foreign information” and “compromising information.”
‘‘Foreign Information’’ would include any information that comes from a source that is prohibited from making contributions under the Act; ‘‘Compromising Information’’ would include ‘‘any information that could be used to blackmail or otherwise compromise any candidate for federal office (including indirect coercion, such as of a candidate’s family), regardless of source.
The Petition would require any person who receives or is offered foreign or compromising information to notify the FEC in writing within three days.
The commission would then be required to initiate an investigation into the receipt of the information and to provide a report to the FBI and “any other law enforcement entity with likely jurisdiction over the matter” within 14 days.
In the case of compromising information, the petition seeks to have the FEC notify “every reasonably identifiable person against whom such information could be used, or whose private information is disclosed by such information.”
The public may inspect the Petition on the commission’s website, or in the Commission’s Public Records Office, 1050 First Street NE, 12th Floor, Washington, D.C., Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Comments must be submitted on or before Sept. 30, 2019. All comments must be in writing.
Commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically through the commission’s website. Alternatively, comments can be submitted in paper form, addressed to the Federal Election Commission, Attn.: Esther Gyory, Acting Assistant General Counsel, 1050 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20463.
In The News
WASHINGTON - Every month an email from the Federal Election Commission arrives in the inbox with a certain insouciant inevitability. "Pending advisory opinion requests," it says. "That's right," you say to yourself. "They're back to not having a quorum on the commission board." It's never a... Read More
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump frequently says there’s a difference between absentee voting, which he once called “good” in a tweet, and mail-in voting, which he has called “inaccurate and fraudulent.” But the people who run elections don’t make that distinction. Though the terms vary from... Read More
WASHINGTON — New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney has won her primary after six weeks of vote counting in the 12th District. New York City Board of Elections spokeswoman Valerie Vazquez confirmed Tuesday night that the board certified Maloney as the primary winner. The board... Read More
NEW YORK — At least one hotly contested New York primary election is still up in the air thanks to a federal court ruling this week that readmitted thousands of mail-in ballots thrown out because of missing postmarks. The Monday night ruling from Manhattan Federal Court... Read More
Kim Wyman’s phone started ringing at the end of February. As the rapid spread of the coronavirus made it clear that the 2020 election cycle would have to accommodate social distancing, reporters and election officials across the country started reaching out to Washington’s two-term secretary of... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Security systems for mail-in ballots need additional funding and information technology assistance to be ready for the upcoming November election, security experts told Congress Tuesday. They warned that foreign adversaries and other hackers will try to influence the election unless they can be blocked... Read More