At its open meeting today, the FEC considered an audit division recommendation regarding the Democratic Party of Illinois and issued an advisory opinion in response to a request from Enterprise Holdings, Inc.
The Commissioners’ debate over the audit division recommendation hinged on the records that state parties must keep. (Perkins Coie represented the party in the audit.) One of the findings in the audit division recommendation concerned the FEC’s employee time log requirement. The Commission’s Republican and Democratic members have repeatedly disagreed over how to enforce the rule, which is designed to ensure that state and local parties do not spend nonfederal funds in connection with federal elections. It requires state and local parties to pay employees entirely with federal funds if more than 25 percent of their compensated time during a calendar month is spent on activities in connection with a federal election. The Commission’s Republican members, led by Chair Goodman, have insisted that the requirement should not be enforced for party employees paid only with nonfederal funds, because the Commission has no jurisdiction over purely state-level activity. The Commission deadlocked over whether to adopt an adverse finding over logs for purely non-federal employees.
Next, the Commission considered an advisory opinion request from car-rental company Enterprise Holdings, which had been held over from a previous meeting. At issue was whether a New York Department of Labor regulation prohibited the company’s federal PAC from using a payroll deduction system to raise funds from its New York-based employees. Since the Department of Labor submitted comments on the request saying that its regulation did not apply to the proposed activity, the Commission was unsure at its previous meeting whether it was appropriate to issue an advisory opinion stating that federal law preempted the regulation. The draft the Commission adopted at today’s meeting, however, permitted the company’s proposed activities, while declining to reach the preemption question.