FEC: No Law Violated by Obama’s Oprah Appearance

Posted April 14, 2009 at 10:02am

President Barack Obama’s appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show— during last year’s Democratic presidential primary did not violate campaign finance laws, according to a Federal Election Commission decision made public on Monday. “The Oprah Winfrey Show appears to provide news, commentaries, and editorial segments on a regular basis and, therefore, engages in activities traditionally associated with media entities,— FEC lawyers argued in recommending that the commission drop the case.The commission notified Winfrey’s production company, Harpo Inc., last month that it was dismissing the complaint, which was filed on Oct. 18 by William Stotts. Stotts claimed that Obama’s appearance on the show was essentially an in-kind corporate contribution. “It appears that Oprah Winfrey was not a candidate, nor did she organize a political committee,— the FEC added in its decision. “Moreover, the Oprah Winfrey Show is not owned or controlled by a political party or candidate.“There is no suggestion in the complaint that at the time of the show’s airing it was not acting as a legitimate media entity,— the lawyers continued. “Thus, it appears that the respondents fall within the media exemption for their activities.—The FEC posted the notification to its Web site on Monday.