Federal Politics

Published — April 7, 2009 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

FEC tells Elton John ‘Saturday Night’s All Right’ for fundraising


At the height of the long Democratic presidential primary slog last April, Hillary Clinton’s operation received a $2.5 million boost from a sold-out fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall headlined by Sir Elton John.

But leading up to the concert, American Right to Life Action, an anti-abortion 527 political committee — those political groups largely unregulated by the Federal Election Commission and not subject to contribution limits — filed a formal complaint with the FEC arguing that the Clinton campaign had illegally “accepted an in-kind contribution from a foreign national” — namely, the British singer. Judicial Watch, a conservative, non-profit watchdog group, filed an additional complaint a few days after the event.

At the time, the FEC lacked a quorum and was unable to respond. This week — one year later — the FEC finally rendered its verdict, determining that the Rocket Man’s performance “constituted a volunteer service that is exempted from the definition of ‘contribution’ under the Federal Election Campaign Act.” They noted that the Commission “found no reason to believe that a violation occurred and closed the file.”

Memo to 2012 hopefuls: You can start trying to schedule Bono now for your campaign fundraisers.

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