POLITICS
09/08/2014 06:25 pm ET Updated Sep 08, 2014

Officials Tell Ready For Warren To Change Its Name

ASSOCIATED PRESS

This story was originally published by The Center for Public Integrity, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.

Ditch your name — or else, federal election regulators are telling an upstart super PAC that's urging Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., to seek the presidency.

In a letter Sunday, the Federal Election Commission explained to Chicago-based "Ready for Warren PAC" that only committees authorized by a federal political candidate may use the candidate's name.

If not — and Ready for Warren PAC isn't — "you must amend your statement of organization to change the name of your political committee so that it does not include the candidate's name and/or provide further clarification regarding the nature of your committee," FEC campaign finance analyst Romy Adame-Wilson told the super PAC.

Failure to comply with the law may "result in an enforcement action against the committee" or an audit, the FEC wrote in its letter.

The Ready for Warren PAC officially formed Aug. 7. Erica Sagrans, Ready for Warren PAC's treasurer, confirmed that "the goal of our campaign is to draft Elizabeth Warren to run for president in 2016." 

Sagrans noted that candidate draft committees aren't subject to federal political committee naming rules and, by law, may use a federal candidate's name as part of its own.

Federal rules also note, however, that draft committees may use a candidate's name "provided the committee's name clearly indicates that it is a draft committee."

Sagrans declined to comment on whether she believes the name “Ready for Warren PAC” adequately indicates it's a draft committee.

Warren has repeatedly said she won't run for president in 2016, and last month, her election attorney, Marc Elias, disavowed the Ready for Warren effort in a statement to the FEC.

The FEC asking Ready for Warren PAC to change its name is only the latest in a string of similar demands.

PACs ostensibly incorporating the names of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.; Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rank among the FEC's other recent targets.

But Ready for Hillary, a nearly two-year-old hybrid PAC that's raised millions of dollars to urge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president, doesn't violate federal political committee naming rules because Clinton isn't yet an active federal candidate.

The FEC gives Ready for Warren PAC until Oct. 14 to respond to its letter.

Since the super PAC is so new, it has yet to reveal who has donated to the committee, or how the committee has spent any money it's raised. It will be required to file such a disclosure next month.

Warren won her U.S. Senate office in 2012, defeating then-Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who's now attempting to win a U.S. Senate seat in New Hampshire.

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