The Federal Election Commission collected civil penalties totaling more than $2.2 million during the first six months of 2007, the secondlargest half-year total of any year in FEC history.
In one case, the FEC collected a $750,000 penalty from the conservative Progress for America (PFA) Voter Fund, the third-largest penalty in the commission’s history. Under the terms of the settlement, the PFA did not admit to any wrongdoing, but said it agrees “to register as a political committee if it undertakes any activities similar to those in 2004.”
It was in 2004, at a reported cost of $14 million, that the PFA produced and aired the highly emotional “Ashley’s Story,” a campaign ad that was televised 30,000 times in the four weeks leading up the 2004 presidential election. It showed President Bush hugging 15-year-old Ashley Faulkner, who lost her mother in the September 11, 2001, terror attacks.
More recently, the PFA produced pro-Iraq-War ads, calling the conflict essential to fighting terrorism.