* I told subscribers about this early yesterday morning, but here’s Politico’s take…
Because [US Rep. Robin Kelly] is federally elected, there’s a question about whether the FEC will permit such [”soft” money state and local] fundraising. That could become a challenge for legislative candidates who for years relied on the party chair, former House Speaker Michael Madigan, to raise campaign cash. […]
After Kelly’s victory, DPI sent a letter to the FEC offering three governance proposals that would allow her to work around the soft-money issue.
In one proposal, Kelly would be “prevented from exercising oversight or influence over the state account’s management or governance.” Another scenario would see a special committee or a vice chair assigned to oversee fundraising for the state campaign account. A third proposal would have Kelly recuse herself from matters pertaining to the state account.
The Illinois Dems’ proposals are at the top of the FEC’s agenda for Thursday’s meeting.
In the meantime, two advisory or draft opinions have emerged. One favors the idea of assigning a special committee to oversee the account. The other says it would be impermissible for Kelly to oversee fundraising under any of the three scenarios.
DPI says it will wait for the official response: “These are draft opinions at this point,” it said in a statement. “We look forward to moving forward after Thursday’s meeting.”
The FEC ruling could determine whether last night wasn’t just Kelly’s first big fundraiser — but her last.
* Well, the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee is now urging the FEC to accept the option allowing a special committee to oversee state and local fundraising and spending…
June 22, 2021
The Honorable Shana M. Broussard
Federal Election Commission
1050 First Street, N.E.
Washington, D.C. 20463
Dear Honorable Shana M. Broussard,
On behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee (CBCPAC), we urgently write this letter to encourage you to adopt draft opinion B in the matter of AOR 2021- 06.
Since the founding of the CBC in 1971, the mission of our caucus has been our commitment to leveraging the power of our elected body and representative democracy to guarantee that Black Americans and other marginalized communities in our nation have the ability to achieve the great American Dream. We do not take the “consensus of the caucus” lightly. The CBC represents more than 82 million Americans (25.3% of the American population) –which includes 17 million Black Americans. Like much of the country, our constituents remain concerned with the growing influence of money in politics. Our caucus has championed campaign finance reform and continues to support a smart regulatory scheme to dull this influence.
Members of the CBC are strong supporters of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act. The overwhelming majority of caucus in the 107th Congress voted for the passage of the Act in 2002 and our current members remain steadfast in our respect for the letter and the spirit of the law. We recognize the need for a strong regulatory scheme to insulate our federal elections from the influence of special interests. At the same time, our members are aware of the important role our state parties play in maintaining a vibrant democracy, and we are active in state party affairs, in ways that are consistent with the law. We find the approach adopted in draft opinion B to strike a reasonable balance between these interests of nurturing healthy democratic institutions while constraining the corrupting influence of funds raised outside of the source restrictions, limits and reporting obligations of federal law.
The Special Committee governance structure proposed in AOR 2021-06, whereby the Democratic Party of Illinois’ state account would be wholly administered by non-Federal candidates or officer holders and without the review or supervision by Representative Kelly, appropriately segregates the state account from any direct or indirect influence of Congresswoman Kelly. As stated in the request, the Congresswoman would have no supervisory authority over the decisions of the Special Committee, nor would she have hiring authority over members of the Special Committee. Congresswoman Kelly would also be prohibited from fundraising non-Federal funds on behalf of the state account. These precautions, in addition to those articulated in draft opinion B, will ensure that Representative Kelly, or anyone acting on her behalf, does not “directly or indirectly” finance, maintain or control the state account. We strongly believe that this is the appropriate balance of factors consistent with the law.
As a PAC, we support the current Advisory Opinion request by U.S. Representative Robin Kelly of Illinois and the Democratic Party of Illinois, and we staunchly urge the Commission to support the Party’s proposed approach. From our purview, the Special Committee governance structure strikes the needed balance between recognizing the special relationship between Members of Congress and their local parties while also safeguarding the anti-corruption framework established by the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.
In closing, we hope that this letter gives you the support you may need to adopt draft opinion B.
Congressman Gregory W. Meeks
Even if they rule in Kelly’s favor, she could still be little more than a figurehead for all but federal races. She couldn’t even put her name and title on the party’s soft money fundraising appeals.