Why Hasn’t Unity08 Registered as a PAC?
Unity08 (aka Unity 08) is a registered corporation with the goal of arranging the nomination of one Republican and one Democrat to become the next president and vice president of the United States of America. It declares that next year it will successfully run the first-ever national secure online presidential nomination.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) list of advisory opinions for 2006 shows a process concluding on October 10, 2006 with a final advisory opinion issued by the FEC. That advisory opinion reads:
The Commission concludes that Unity 08 will have to register as a political committee once it makes expenditures in excess of $1,000, and therefore will be subject to the amount limitations, source prohibitions, and reporting requirements of the Act.
Unity 08 will become a political committee once it makes more than $1,000 in expenditures. Unity 08 must register with the Commission by filing a statement of organization within ten days after becoming a political committee, and it will be subject to the provisions of the Act and Commission regulations applicable to political committees.
The Commission notes that Unity 08 must also register as a political committee if it accepts more than $1,000 in contributions.
The FEC rejected Unity08’s request to be classified as a 527 organization and required that instead it be classified and registered as a Political Action Committee (PAC). There is no follow-up reported to the advisory opinion, and no report in the newspapers, on the Unity08 website, at the Campaign Legal Center or any other location I can find indicating that Unity08 has filed any sort of legal appeal. Besides, Unity08 explicitly stated:
The FEC will determine whether or not we are a political committee for FEC purposes. Obviously we will follow their opinion.
As the 2nd quarter and 3rd quarter reports by Unity08 to the IRS under its previous designation as a Section 527 organization show, Unity08 had already well surpassed expenditures of $1,000 by September 30, 2006. As of October 10, 2006, Unity08 was informed of its legal duty to register as a PAC. That made a ten-day deadline of October 20, 2006 for Unity08 to register as a PAC.
Information taken from the reports committees file with the FEC is available to the public within 48 hours of the agency’s receipt of the report. Reports filed electronically are available on the web almost instantaneously.
So, by October 22, 2006 we should have seen a report of Unity08’s filing as a political action committee.
But a search carried out today, January 4, 2007 — two months and 13 days after the F1 statement of organization should have appeared on the FEC system — turns up nothing. The search was tailored for any FEC filings or statements and was set to turn up any PAC with the letters “unity” in it — even PACs with the word “Community” appeared — and so was quite inclusive.
What explains this? Either:
1) Unity08 has registered itself under a name that does not contain the word “Unity”, or
2) The FEC has botched the job and lost the documents or fed them to the office dog, or
3) Unity08 has not filed any documents as a PAC, contrary to the specific instructions of the FEC advisory opinion it received on October 10, 2006.
What do you think happened?