MONTPELIER — Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ political action committee has been fined by the Federal Election Commission for failing to file financial reports on time.
Documents obtained by the Vermont Press Bureau show that the Progressive Voters of America Leadership PAC, a so-called leadership committee that current and former members of Congress are allowed to create, paid about $8,000 in administrative fines in May. The FEC levies fines when a committee fails to file required reports or files them late.
The fines are expected to be made public by the FEC next week.
The Burlington-based committee’s treasurer, Phil Fiermonte, a longtime Sanders aide and currently the field director for Sanders presidential campaign, received a letter from the FEC in December warning that the committee may have failed to file required financial reports.
Fiermonte wrote to FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel on May 5 acknowledging the committee, which appears to have been founded in 2004, had in fact missed reporting deadlines.
“We acknowledge that we neglected to file the 12 day Pre-General Report of Receipts and Disbursements and the 30 day Post-General Report of Receipts and Disbursements before the filing deadlines and have enclosed checks to pay for each of the administrative fines for these infractions. This was an inadvertent mistake. As you know, we have since filed both reports with the FEC,” Fiermonte wrote. “We will make certain to be diligent to comply with all filing deadlines in the future.”
The letter included two separate checks, one for $1,090 and another for $6,600.
Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs declined to comment on the fines.
“The letters from the senator’s committee to the Federal Election Commission speak for themselves,” Briggs said.
Leadership PACs are often used by candidates to fund expenses, including travel, office needs and consultants and polling. They can also be used to fund provide financial support to other candidates.
Since Jan. 1, 2013, Sanders’ leadership PAC has raised $535,000 and spent $405,000. Sanders has donated generously to Democratic members of the House and Senate from the committee.
Letter from FEC:
PAC letters to FEC: