March 20, 2015

FEC Finally Closes Fiesta Bowl Case, Levies $96,000 In Fines

By Adam Rappaport

Fiesta Bowl LogoAfter nearly four years, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has resolved CREW’s complaint against the Fiesta Bowl and its executives for violating campaign finance laws by reimbursing Fiesta Bowl executives for campaign contributions to Arizona politicians.

In April 2011, CREW filed its complaint based on the public version of a report prepared for the Fiesta Bowl’s board of directors by an outside law firm investigating allegations of illegal campaign contributions.  The issue was first raised by The Arizona Republic in December 2009.  Many of the individuals interviewed for the report admitted they had been reimbursed for their campaign contributions by Fiesta Bowl President and CEO John Junker.

The FEC found that since 2000, the Fiesta Bowl used corporate funds to reimburse at least $46,539 in campaign contributions, at least $30,400 of which were made to federal candidates.

The FEC fined the Fiesta Bowl $71,000 and Junker $25,000 for their roles in the scheme – large penalties for the FEC.  The FEC also said it would have fined former Chief Operating Officer Natalie Wisneski for her involvement, but did not because she lacked sufficient asserts to pay the penalty.  The FEC further declined to take any action against the Fiesta Bowl’s lobbyist and other employees who made the reimbursed contributions.

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