Election Complaint with FEC : Tuesday, April 10, 2012 3:14 PM
The Federal Election Commission frequently receives questions about how to file a complaint concerning possible violations of federal election campaign laws.1 This brochure explains how to file a complaint with the Commission and describes how complaints are processed.2 I. Filing a Complaint Any person may file a complaint if he or she believes a violation of the Federal Election Campaign Laws or Commission regulations has occurred or is about to occur. The complaint must be made in writing and sent to the Office of General Counsel, Federal Election Commission, 999 E Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20463. The original must be submitted along with three copies, if possible. Facsimile or e-mail transmissions are not acceptable. A complaint must comply with certain requirements. It must:
- Provide the full name and address of the person filing the complaint (called the complainant); and
- Be signed, sworn to and notarized. This means that the notary public's certificate must say "...signed and sworn to before me...," or words that connote the complaint was affirmed by the complainant, (such as “under penalty of perjury”).
- Clearly recite the facts that show specific violations under the Commission's jurisdiction (citations to the law and regulations are not necessary);
- Clearly identify each person, committee or group that is alleged to have committed a violation (called the respondent);
- Include any documentation supporting the allegations, if available; and
- Differentiate between statements based on the complainant's (the person who files the complaint) personal knowledge and those based on information and belief. Statements not based on personal knowledge should identify the source of the information.
Election From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
An election is a formal decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual to hold public office
Electoral reform describes the process of introducing fair electoral systems where they are not in place, or improving the fairness or effectiveness of existing systems
Lack of open political debate or an informed electorate The electorate may be poorly informed about issues or candidates due to lack of freedom of the press, lack of objectivity in the press due to state or corporate control, or lack of access to news and political media. Freedom of speech may be curtailed by the state, favoring certain viewpoints or state propaganda
Maryland State Election Law 13-306-5(i): ‘Public Communication’ means a communication by means of any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, mass mailing, or telephone bank to the general public, or any other form of general public political advertizing’. If a federal candidate asks a newspaper editorial board or broadcast station to “endorse my candidacy” and the media corporation thereafter does exactly that, under existing FEC regulations, the subsequent expenditure does not constitute a ‘coordinated public communication’ because of the ‘media exemption’ under the Commission’s regulations. If, however, a federal candidate asks a grassroots organization or, alternatively, a local business corporation to endorse his/her candidacy and that corporate entity thereafter publicly communicates its support for the candidate, such expenditures by the corporation very well might be deemed a ‘coordinated public communication’.
Drawing on judicial guidance in 9 Christian Coalition, the Commission defined a new term, "coordinated general public 10 political communication" ("GPPC"), to address communications paid for by unauthorized 11 committees, advocacy groups, and individuals that were coordinated with candidates or 12 party committees. A GPPC that "included" a clearly identified candidate was 13 coordinated if a third party paid for it and if it was created, produced, or distributed (1) at 14 the candidate's or party committee's request or suggestion; (2) after the candidate or 15 party committee exercised control or decision-making authority over certain factors; or 16 (3) after "substantial discussion or negotiation" with the candidate or party committee 17 regarding certain factors. 11 CFR 100.23(b), (c) (2001). The regulations explained that 18 "substantial discussion or negotiation may be evidenced by one or more meetings, 19 conversations or conferences regarding the value or importance of the communication for 20 a particular election." 11 CFR 100.23(c)(2)(iii) (2001).
JOURNALISM WITH HISTORY OF ELECTION:
Muse flyer questioned over religious message 7
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun 5:18 p.m. EDT, March 28, 2012 Updated with additional response from Muse campaign.
The head of the Baltimore Jewish Council raised questions Wednesday about a campaign flyer from Democratic Senate candidate C. Anthony Muse that notes that there are no African-Americans serving in the U.S. Senate but that there are 12 Jews. Muse, a state senator from Prince George's Countyis black. He is running against incumbent Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, who is Jewish. The primary takes place Tuesday. The flyer, which carries an authority line from Muse's campaign and is being distributed at early voting centers, has a picture of President Barack Obama and Muse with the words "making history together." Obama has actually endorsed Cardin in the race and recently campaigned with the senator in Prince George's County. The back of the flyer includes a list of the racial composition of the Senate and notes that there are no black members. Then, it lists the number of Jewish members as 12. It's a contrast the campaign has drawn previously. Earlier this year Muse used his Twitter account to highlight a link to an article that discussed the number of Jews in the Senate. The campaign later deleted the tweet after it was noted by reporters. Asked about the flyer, Muse campaign spokeswoman Brandi Calhoun said in an e-mail that it is "misleading and inaccurate, therefore we will have a response to that at the appropriate time." The campaign did not respond when asked to clarify whether the Muse campaign had actually distributed the flyer or whether a third party was involved. Muse's campaign, meanwhile, has never filed a campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission as other candidates did last week. Calhoun said that Muse was not required to do so because he established his candidacy in February, late in the cycle. It's not clear why Muse's February entrance would exempt him from filing the pre-primary report, which was due March 22. The campaign did not respond to a follow up question seeking clarification. Update: In an e-mail Thursday, the Muse campaign said Calhoun's comments were directed at the line of questioning from The Sun -- not the flyer itself. The campaign also released the following statement, which was not attributed to any one individual. "The purpose of our campaign has been to give voice to those who HAVE no voice in our community and within the U.S. Senate. "And what we have attempted to do in all of our campaign materials and messages is highlight that there are segments of our community that have no representation in the Senate. "This has nothing to do with who IS in the U.S. Senate. "It's about who isn't. "It's just unfortunate that anyone would take any of this message out of context."
John Bolton says Md. is "winnable" for GOP
By John Fritze, The Baltimore Sun 8:26 p.m. EST, March 6, 2012
John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush, appeared at a fundraiser in Washington on Tuesday for Republican Senate candidate Richard J. Douglas, telling about two dozen supporters that Maryland "is a winnable state" for the GOP with the right candidate. Bolton, a Baltimore native who lives in Montgomery County, acknowledged that Maryland is "a tough state for a Republican" -- Democratic Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, for instance, won reelection with 62 percent of the vote in 2010 -- but suggested that this year "a lot of incumbent Democrats are going to be overly confident" because "they haven't faced effective challenges in the past." Douglas is seeking the seat currently held by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin. In addition to Bolton's endorsement, Douglas, 55, brings a hefty resume to the Republican primary, including a stint as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under Bush and five years on Capitol Hill as a senior attorney to two high-profile Senate committees. He's an Iraq veteran, served on fast attack submarines in the Navy in the 1970s and appears to be plugged in to defense and diplomatic circles in Washington. The College Park resident said he is running for the seat because of what he views as a lack of leadership in Washington. Douglas has promised to force uncomfortable votes in the Senate, even if that means alienating fellow Republicans. He also has vowed to serve a maximum of two terms. "My assessment today of the U.S. Congress is that Maryland has one senator -- her name is Barbara Mikulski," Douglas told supporters Tuesday. "Nevada has three…Looking at Mr. Cardin's record, it appears to be skewed towards the majority leader’s priorities," he said, referring to Democratic Sen. Harry Reid, who represents the Silver State. But Douglas is unquestionably an underdog in the race. First, he is one in a crowded, 10-candidate field in the GOP primary that includes Dan Bongino, a Severna Park man who has effectively used his background as a former Secret Service agent to bring national attention to his campaign. Bongino got into the race early and has been campaigning aggressively. Campaign finance reports show that, at the end of 2011, Bongino had raised about $130,000 compared with about $17,000 for Douglas. Though he shuns characterizations, Douglas appears to be aligned more closely with the centrist wing of the party. Several supporters at the fundraiser Tuesday are also close to former Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., for instance. Bongino has courted conservatives, has appeared on Glenn Beck's program and chose Brian Murphy as a campaign chair. Murphy ran to the right of Ehrlich in the 2010 GOP gubernatorial primary. Even if Douglas manages to win the nomination, he would be running in an overwhelmingly blue state and would likely face a popular and experienced incumbent who has made few if any missteps. Cardin, who has a primary challenge of his own from state Sen. C. Anthony Muse, had a 51 percent approval rating in a January poll by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies. Cardin’s fundraising has eclipsed all other candidates. He has more than $2.6 million on hand
THE ENTIRE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP GIVING FULL-THROATED ENDORSEMENT OF A CANDIDATE BEFORE THE ELECTION EVEN STARTS? WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF CRONYISM?
Government Discord rings out at Dems luncheon
Published 01/11/12 ANNAPOLIS --
The Democrats’ yearly pre-session luncheon at the Westin Hotel in Annapolis turned ugly Tuesday when a challenger for the seat held by U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin climbed onto the stage and blasted some of the party’s most prominent leaders for using the occasion to endorse Cardin. Laura-Chase McGehee — The Capital U.S. Senator Ben Cardin applauds a joke made by Governor Martin O'Malley about the Ravens during the Democratic Legislative Lunch on Tuesday at The Westin Annapolis, the day before session
Date: April 10, 2012 RE: Violations of Federal Election Campaign Laws in the April 3, 2012
Federal elections in Maryland Political Campaigns involved: Ben Cardin, Elijah Cummings
Public Communication institutions involved: All Baltimore area radio, TV, newsprint, and online media.
Attachments: Definition of Election, Election Reform, Fair and Balanced Elections as regards the press, Maryland Law defining ‘Public Communication’, Description of Candidate Influence on Election Communication
Complaint: This complaint addresses an ongoing problem with media participation or lack thereof in Maryland elections and in this case, in Baltimore area. It seeks to show that what is an entrenched approach to election coverage by media has over years come to favor the incumbent, of which Maryland has in abundance. It is a violation of Fair and Balanced elections in not allowing political challengers the benefit of name recognition and fundraising ability that comes with that recognition, and it burdens the voters who must go to the polls year after year not knowing who their candidates are or what issues these candidates support or what their voting histories reveal. A lack of political debate in an open forum creates an electorate who is poorly informed. A lack of freedom of press, lack of objectivity in the press due to state or corporate control, or lack of access to news and political media all limit the viewpoints an electorate receives and upon which they can form an opinion. The political news in Baltimore was not missing. There was a truly democratic approach to election coverage of the Republican primaries on National media stations throughout the length of the primary. We saw every candidate in multiple situations expressing their views and hearing their political stance and records. So, Baltimore media know Fair and Balanced when they see it. We also heard or read frequent updates on the race in Montgomery County, the wealthy enclave outside of Washington DC. We did not hear or read anything about the candidates in our elections. I will include the one exception found in the Baltimore Sun that when read, can clearly be seen as a political advertisement rather than a news article. My complaint involves the power of the incumbent to affect political coverage and it affects what could be construed as demographic bias. These are the two sources of my complaint. Just to emphasize the totality of the media blackout over the election coverage, I attended a national conference of academics handling politics and at lunch, while sitting at a table of Baltimore area activists, the first thing that came forward from everyone-----‘is there an election? And do you know the candidates?’ We were all lifelong political activists and we hadn’t gotten the information we needed…..the general public is uninformed. Ben Cardin and Elijah Cummings both voted in 2011 on the funding of NPR. I love NPR, but I could not get their local affiliate to mention my elections despite repeated contacts asking for coverage. One would expect a public media outlet to be the first line of information for public elections, so I came down hard on them over this. Plenty of Montgomery County election…..absolutely no Baltimore area election. They said that the other races were not competitive, but as I said, polls taken at the time that my candidate, Anthony Muse, announced showed Cardin at 51% and Muse as a strong candidate. That was the last media we saw of Muse. The only media on the candidates were of the incumbent Cardin doing all kinds of good things for his constituents in well-placed primary time electioneering. It may be fair play for an incumbent in a healthy election environment, but with a blackout of coverage otherwise, you see the bias amplified. The demographic bias is seen in the power structure of the State of Maryland. The Washington suburbs are the richest in the nation and as such, they exude an influence on all areas of the state in everyday politics. If someone were to follow politics, they could see that Ben Cardin voted in ways that benefits these wealthy residents to the detriment of those less wealthy. This is subjective so I won’t go into providing proof from voting records, but, coming from Baltimore, the poor step-child of the wealthy suburbs, and given that the candidate Anthony Muse is African-American, you easily see sign s of bias in race and class from this complete media blackout of the election. This demographic bias is less a factor than the incumbency bias, but not by much. I will conclude by saying that I feel that there was a clear case of election fraud in this 2012 primary election. The evidence is complete. At a time in American history when the American people feel there is deep and open corruption in government, at every level, the public must stand up and shout loudly and strongly against all election irregularities that work against our ability to make a change in government. If you cannot find a way to vote your incumbent out…..then the corruption remains entrenched. I will say that Maryland was ranked ‘D-‘ on the Center for Public Integrity State Corruption study and I dare say, that if our elections fail to be a representative election (20% turnout is the normal) we may as well be honest and say ‘the US is no longer a representative democracy’ . I want a determination that this election was not Fair and Balanced and I want election reform to be part of the solution brought by the Office of General Council.