Thursday, August 30, 2007

FEC Slaps $775,000 Fine to Soros Backed America Coming Together

American Coming Together fell apart last year, but the reverberations of their activity continue:
The Federal Election Commission has fined one of the last cycle’s biggest liberal political action committees $775,000 for using unregulated soft money to boost John Kerry and other Democratic candidates during the 2004 elections.

America Coming Together (ACT) raised $137 million for its get-out-the-vote effort in 2004, but the FEC found most of that cash came through contributions that violated federal limits.

The group’s big donors included George Soros, Progressive Corp. chairman Peter Lewis and the Service Employees International Union.

The settlement, which the FEC approved unanimously, is the third largest enforcement penalty in the commission’s 33-year history.

ACT, which ceased operations in 2005, was formed in late 2003 and rapidly deployed an enormous organization to do the retail-level grunt work of politics.
This particular case illustrates one of the great problems with campaign finance enforcement. The complexity of the rules, makes investigation and enforcement a lengthy, costly, and ultimately moot issue. By the time violators are punished, it is often 2, 3 or even more years after the infringing activity. If a group is willing to risk the fine several years down the road, they can engage in some shady behavior, make their mark on the election, then fade from the limelight and later pay their fine to the FEC in a settlement. Just like this case.

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