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FEC may audit Common Cause head for breaches
The Hill ^ | 4/30/03 | Alexander Bolton

Posted on 04/30/2003 3:14:58 PM PDT by Jean S

Campaign fundraising reports for Chellie Pingree, a former Democratic Senate candidate form Maine who now heads Common Cause, contain numerous infractions that may prompt an audit by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), The Hill has learned.

The prospect of an election commission audit of Pingree has raised eyebrows among campaign finance experts and lawyers because the well-known government watchdog group spearheaded the passage of the landmark Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act last year.

In fact, campaign finance regulation has become Common Cause's signature issue in recent years. Pingree, who last year lost her bid to oust Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), became president and CEO of the group in February.

Last year, the FEC sent Pingree's campaign 11 requests for additional information relating to a range of problems on six reports: three quarterly reports, two pre-election reports, and a 2001 year-end report.

In response, Pingree amended four of the reports but she failed to file an amendment for her July 2002 quarterly and pre-primary reports. In addition, the four amended reports she filed were received by the FEC after the deadlines it set for "adequate responses." In two instances, the amendments were months late.

"Common Cause is dedicated to honest, open, and accountable government," said the group's spokeswoman, Mary Boyle. "I'm sure Chellie wants to see all these requests for information responded."

Boyle declined further comment, saying the issue related to Pingree's campaign rather than to Common Cause.

The commission found the following infractions listed in Pingree's reports: accepting contributions exceeding federal limits; accepting contributions over $1,000 from political committees not qualified to give such contributions; failure to properly report "bundled" contributions from outside groups; and failure to properly report donors' aggregate totals.

The FEC pointed to these inconsistencies in requests for additional information, often following up the notices with secondary requests for information that contained deadlines for responding.

Additional requests for information routinely note: "Adequate responses received on or before [the deadline] will be taken into consideration in determining whether audit action will be initiated… . Failure to provide an adequate response by this date may result in an audit of the committee. Failure to comply with the provisions of the Act may also result in an enforcement action against the committee."

"The Pingree campaign was awfully meticulous," said campaign manager Deborah Reed.

"It appears these were two routine requests and two oversights on the part of the campaign," she added, referring to mistaken reports the campaign failed to amend. "I'm very upset of the oversights. The Pingree campaign will be providing information immediately to the FEC regarding those two reports."

Election law experts said failure to respond in time to numerous requests for information often triggers an FEC audit.

"I've always told my clients to beat that second notice or we're going to be in for a heap of problems," said Kirk Jowers, an election lawyer at Caplin & Drysdale, a Washington-based law firm. "The second notice [for additional information], we've always interpreted it as you have to get [your response] in by then."

Jowers said a campaign that failed to meet the deadline "would be seen as a likely target."

"We've always found the most likely candidates for audits were people who pile up a lot of letters in a short amount of time, as she obviously did," he added.

Unlike the Internal Revenue Service, the FEC does not conduct random audits. It audits only for cause.

Pingree's campaign treasurer Daniel Crewe said he wasn't aware that the campaign had either failed to respond or responded late to the 11 requests for information. "The mechanics of preparing these reports was done by an accountant that was hired and paid staff," he said. "I would sign the reports [with] hopefully proper accounts."

Crewe referred questions to the campaign's accountant, Mark Cerabona, who did not return a request for comment.

Public records show that in February 2002, John Gibson, an FEC analyst, sent Pingree a mailgram alerting Crewe that the campaign failed to file an amended 2001 year-end report, which could result in "civil money penalties, an audit or legal enforcement action."

Larry Noble, the executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, and a former general counsel at the FEC, declined to predict whether there would be an audit of Pingree's campaign.

"Those are the types of things that could trigger an audit," Noble said, referring to the repeated requests for additional information. "What the commission looks at is the nature of the omissions and also whether you are late in responding to the [requests for information]."

Noble said he could not comment more specifically on the audit threshold because the commission keeps it a secret.

Campaign fundraising reports are reviewed by the FEC's Reports Analysis Division, said commission spokesman Ian Stirton.

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Maine
KEYWORDS: chelliepingree; clarencethomas; collins; commoncause; democrats; donaldsussman; fundraising; fusiongps; hedgefunds; leftwingnuts; marcelias; markelias; me; perkinscouie; pingree; susancollins; sussman; thomas; violence

1 posted on 04/30/2003 3:14:58 PM PDT by Jean S
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To: JeanS
Breeches ? Where are their breeches ? Why are they running around without breeches ?

Oh. breaches ...

Never mind.

2 posted on 04/30/2003 4:05:34 PM PDT by genefromjersey (Gettin' too old to "play nice" !)
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To: Jean S

Speaking of Pingree:

9/23/2010, 4:35:11 PM · by fight_truth_decay · 27 replies
Maine Republican Victory Campaign FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 23, 2010 | Lance Dutson FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUSTA - Congresswoman Chellie Pingree built her career on her professed mission to keep money out of politics. Today, she has been unmasked as a Washington elitist and an unmitigated hypocrite. The website is reporting today that Chellie Pingree has been traveling on the private jet of hedge fund billionaire Donald Sussman, despite previous denials from Pingree’s spokesman. A video taken at the Portland Jetport last week shows Pingree stepping off the lavish plane, reportedly worth $25 million. In testimony before Congress in 2006, Pingree had this to say about House members flying on private aircraft: “Most Americans never...

3 posted on 11/05/2020 3:49:56 AM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: Jean S

Speaking of Pingree’s pal Sussman...

Why did Clinton/DNC need attorney-client privilege for Trump Dossier?
10/26/2017, 5:03:13 PM · by Another Kansan · 14 replies
National Review ^ | Oct 25 | Andrew McCarthy
Here, the Clinton campaign and the DNC retained the law firm of Perkins Coie; in turn, one of its partners, Marc E. Elias, retained Fusion GPS. We don’t know how much Fusion GPS was paid, but the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid $9.1 million to Perkins Coie during the 2016 campaign (i.e., between mid-2015 and late 2016). [Snip] In its capacity as attorney for the DNC, Perkins Coie – through another of its partners, Michael Sussman – is also the law firm that retained CrowdStrike, the cyber security outfit, upon learning in April 2016 that the DNC’s servers had...

4 posted on 11/05/2020 3:53:41 AM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: Jean S

Speaking of Common Cause:

ACLU Scrapes Bottom to Stop Census Citizenship Question
6/6/2019, 6:08:40 PM · by jazusamo · 14 replies
PJ Media ^ | June 6, 2019 | J. Christian Adams
Some people will do anything to prevent us from knowing how many non-citizens live in the United States. Count the ACLU and Common Cause among those who will stoop to the lowest of the low to try to persuade one or two swing justices to block the simple question on the Census: Are you a citizen? This time a sleazy drama between an estranged daughter and her deceased father has given the ACLU a final desperate way to bully the Supreme Court into blocking the citizenship question, as well as personally smearing lawyers at the Justice Department. Last year, the...

5 posted on 11/05/2020 3:56:44 AM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: piasa

“Progressive” Rallyists Call for Lynching of Clarence Thomas
2/4/2011, 12:45:37 AM · by Kartographer · 23 replies
YouTube ^ | 2/2/11 | ChristianHartsock
Demonstrators at “progressive” rally in Palm Springs call for Clarence Thomas be hanged, stringed up, tortured, sent back to the fields, etc. “Uncloaking the Kochs” rally sponsored by Common Cause, AFFCE, The Ruckus Society, 350, Greenpeace, Code Pink, the Progessive Democrats of America, and others. Staged outside venue of Koch Brothers conference in Palm Springs.

6 posted on 11/05/2020 3:58:32 AM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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