June 29, 2016
In 2008 the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund (TALDF), an arm of TCA, successfully represented U.S. Congresswoman Jean Schmidt before the Ohio Elections Commission. The Commission found by clear and convincing evidence that Rep. Schmidt’s election opponent, David Krikorian, had with actual malice published at least three lies about her in his failed attempt to swing the election. TALDF defended the ruling in subsequent appeals.
Critically, TALDF offered its representation free of charge and only proceeded after being informed by Rep. Schmidt and her staff that she could receive such legal services. Later, the Federal Elections Commission (FEC), upon a complaint from Krikorian, alleged that TALDF’s legal services constituted in-kind campaign contributions to Rep. Schmidt. TCA responded that the legal representation was not in connection with an ongoing campaign and that FEC’s legal guidance over the years was that legal services of this sort were not in-kind contributions.
Prior to the FEC making a probable cause determination, TCA and the FEC recently agreed “to resolve this matter and avoid time-consuming and expensive litigation, with no admission as to the merit of the Commission’s initial legal conclusions” with the payment by TCA of a small fine representing a fraction of what the FEC had originally sought. TCA is pleased to have settled this matter on favorable terms, allowing TCA to continue focusing on its programs that foster understanding and cooperation across the globe.