Liberal Group MoveOn Fined for FEC Violation Over Earmarked Contributions

Org failed to forward contributions within permissible time period

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• October 3, 2018 4:59 am


The political action committee for, a large progressive activist group, has been fined by the Federal Election Commission for failing to forward earmarked contributions to campaigns within the permissible time period, enforcement filings show.

A negotiated settlement approved in late August and released in September between the commission and MoveOn required the group to pay a civil penalty of $1,575 in fines for its failure to consistently forward the earmarked contributions—or donations given from individuals to MoveOn that were directed toward specific candidates or campaigns—during at least three separate filing periods.

In a 200-page report sent from the Reports Analysis Division to the Office of the General Counsel on Nov. 17, 2017, consisting of the complaint, responses, designation of counsel, and extension of time, the violation was said to have stemmed from the organization's PAC forwarding $65,256.16 in deposited earmarked contributions from individuals to federal committees more than 10 days after the receipt dates during the 2016 elections.

MoveOn had consistently failed to forward the contributions within the allotted time frames numerous times during the election. A majority of the contributions were earmarked for the presidential campaign committee of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), the filings show.

MoveOn's PAC also failed to forward the contributions within the allotted time period to the campaigns of Lucy Flores, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in Nevada's 4th congressional district; Zephyr Teachout, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in New York's 19th congressional district; Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.); Deborah Ross, who unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in North Carolina; and former Wisconsin Democratic senator Russ Feingold's 2016 campaign.

MoveOn is one of the largest liberal Super PACs and reported $20 million in receipts during the 2016 election cycle. The progressive group's PAC shows $17 million in total receipts for the 2018 election cycle.

MoveOn did not return a request for comment on the violation by press time.

MoveOn is not the only liberal group that was fined for violations during the 2016 election cycle. Planned Parenthood Wisconsin was hit with a penalty for failing to report $116,898 worth of independent expenditures in support of Hillary Clinton and Russ Feingold in a timely fashion.

The failure to report the expenditures were discovered on the group's 2016 October quarterly report in which the group had marked $133,305.04 worth of independent expenditures. However, $116,898 of that amount was never submitted in any previous 48-hour reports, as required for independent expenditures.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin received a civil penalty of $5,850 from the commission for their violation.