Friday, August 19, 2005

LNC Meeting Report: FEC Compliance

Sorry for the delay in posting more meeting report. Since my return all aspects of the LPNC ballot drive have come to a head at once. More on this later. Most of my writing these days has to be directed to the State Board of Elections and various other lawyers, legislators and bureaucrats, not to mention our members and supporters here in North Carolina. But this writer finds nothing more inspirational than a deadline, and mine for Liberty For All is tomorrow night, so it's time to move this along.

It finally became clear why the LNC has been meeting in so many executive sessions over FEC compliance during the last few meetings. Not only are they discussing any legal response to our past filing errors, they have been spending a lot of time imagineering how to restructure party operations in order to fully comply with FEC regulations.

There were two motions which finally resulted from these discussions. It may be possible that the LNC feels they have more work to do to achieve full compliance with federal campaign finance law that seems to become more restrictive every month.

Rutherford moved to direct staff to not accept money from state parties that are not FEC filing committees. This passed by voice vote. Carling pointed out that there is a distinction between state party federal committees which actually file reports and those which are in compliance with the law although they do not have to file. However this did not cause anyone to attempt to amend the motion.

According to the FEC website, currently only 13 state parties and one county party have federal committees. They are: Alaska, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and York County PA. Some of these committees are probably dormant. I’m sure there are other states, such as North Carolina, which have established federal committees but have avoided going over the thresholds which require them to file reports.

Rutherford also moved to direct staff to investigate how we can outsource our material sales and LP News and report back by September 19th. This also passed by a voice vote, with Wrights as the lone dissenter.

The rationale for this is that a political party cannot accept corporate donations, not even for ad or product sales, but a separate organization that is still controlled by the LNC could. LP News editor Daniel Cloud will most likely be responsible for this transition. It appears to be assumed that Cloud will remain LP News editor no matter what form the entity may take.

While Wrights continues to advocate that the LNC consider fighting federal regulations instead of kowtowing to them (aka “screw BCRA”), the board as a whole seems to regard full compliance as part of their fiduciary responsibility. My personal opinion is somewhere in between, that the cost of compliance is acceptable when it results in operational changes which have a neutral to positive effect on the party, but that we should stand and fight when the government tries to regulate our desired activities out of existence. Despite my own moderation, I cannot help but to fully share my friend’s burning resentment that we are letting the federal government tell us how to run our party.


Blogger Seth said...

Why is it that a state party needs to form a federal committee? Is it because they send some of their funds out-of-state (in this case, to LP National)?

9:34 AM  

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