FEC Review Advisory Opinions (Free Speech, Repledge, Points for Politics)

by - April 26, 2012

Advisory Opinion Request 2012-08 (Repledge) The Commission discussed two drafts and then held over an advisory opinion request from Repledge, regarding its proposed plan to establish a web-based platform allowing supporters of opposing federal candidates to redirect potential contributions to charitable organizations. Repledge asked a number of questions relating to its proposal, including whether it will (1) receive contributions, (2) have the major purpose of influencing a federal election, and (3) violate the prohibition on corporate contributions to candidates. During the discussion, the Commission heard from the requestor.

Advisory Opinion 2012-09 (Points for Politics, LLC) The Commission concluded that Points for Politics, LLC may implement its proposed system of redeeming its customers’ affinity points and transfer their value to political committees under the conditions described in the request to political committees without making contributions or otherwise violating the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended (the Act) or Commission regulations. Points for Politics, LLC stated in its request that it has created and wishes to implement a proprietary technology and business system that would enable individuals who participate in corporate-sponsored loyalty programs to convert rewards they earn from their participation in the form of points into dollar equivalents and to contribute these converted points to candidates, their authorized committees, and other political committees.

Advisory Opinion 2012-10 (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Inc.) The Commission concluded that the provision of the New Hampshire campaign finance statute requiring disclaimers on certain campaign-related telephone surveys made on behalf of federal candidates, their authorized campaign committees, or other federal political committees that refer only to candidates for federal office is preempted by the Act and Commission regulations. The Commission could not reach a conclusion by the required four affirmative votes as to whether the New Hampshire statute is preempted with respect to telephone surveys made on behalf of nonprofit organizations (other than federal candidates’ authorized campaign committees or other federal political committees) where the surveys do not contain express advocacy. During the discussion, the Commission heard from counsel on behalf ofGreenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, Inc.

Advisory Opinion Request 2012-11 (Free Speech) The Commission discussed three draft advisory opinions and voted on two of them but did not reach consensus based on a request from Free Speech, an unincorporated nonprofit association that plans to finance certain advertisements and ask for donations to fund its activities. The request asked (1) whether its advertisements would be express advocacy communications, (2) whether funds received in response to its donation requests would be contributions, and (3) whether its activities would require Free Speech to register and report as a political committee. The Commission directed the Office of General Counsel to prepare and circulate a revised draft advisory opinion reflecting areas of consensus for a future Commission vote. During the discussion, the Commission heard from counsel on behalf of Free Speech.

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