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UNITED STATES v. HSIA

September 10, 1998

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MARIA HSIA, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: FRIEDMAN

This case is before the Court on defendant's Motion No. 1 (to Dismiss the Indictment for Violation of Due Process), Motion No. 2 (to Dismiss Counts in the Indictment for Their Positive Repugnance to the Federal Election Campaign Act), Motion No. 3 (to Dismiss Count 1 of the Indictment for Failure to State an Offense), Motion No. 5 (to Dismiss Counts 2 through 6 for Failure to State an Offense (Causation)), Motion No. 6 (to Dismiss Counts 2 through 6 for Failure to State an Offense (False Statements)), Motion No. 7 (to Dismiss Count 4 and 5 for Failure to State an Offense (Soft Money)), Motion No. 9 (to Dismiss Indictment Because it Offends the First Amendment) and Motion No. 10 (to Dismiss Indictment Because It Selectively Prosecutes Maria Hsia). For the reasons discussed below, the Court dismisses Counts 2-6, the false statements counts, and denies all other motions. *fn1"

 I. BACKGROUND

 Maria Hsia has been indicted on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States by impairing and impeding the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") and the Immigration and Naturalization Service ("INS"), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, and five counts of causing others to file false statements with the FEC, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 and 2(b). All six counts are predicated on political campaign solicitations by Ms. Hsia that allegedly involved the use of "conduit" contributors to hide the "true" or "actual" sources of the funds in violation of various provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act ("FECA"), 2 U.S.C. §§ 431, et seq.

 FECA provides a detailed and comprehensive scheme to regulate the financing of federal elections by, among other things, limiting contributions to electoral campaigns and requiring candidates to report receipts and expenditures. Of specific relevance to this case, FECA provides that "no person shall make contributions" that exceed certain limits set forth in the statute, 2 U.S.C. § 441a; that "no person shall make a contribution in the name of another person or knowingly permit his name to be used to effect such a contribution," 2 U.S.C. § 441f; and that it is unlawful for "any corporation whatever . . . to make a contribution or expenditure in connection with any election at which presidential or vice presidential electors or a Senator or Representative in, or a Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, Congress are to be voted for, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any of the foregoing offices." 2 U.S.C. § 441b(a).

 A "contribution" is defined by the statute, in relevant part, as "money or anything of value made by any person for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office." See 2 U.S.C. § 431(8)(A) (emphasis added). *fn2" Because most of FECA's restrictions apply only to funds contributed "for the purpose of influencing any election for Federal office," many political committees have set up separate accounts for money that has been donated: money that has been contributed subject to the proscriptions of FECA ("hard money") is deposited into a "federal" account and is used to finance federal election campaigns, while all other money that is donated ("soft money") is deposited into a "non-federal" account and is used for, among other things, state and local campaigns or issue advertising.

 FECA requires "political committees," including national political parties, to exert "best efforts" to identify each person who made "contribution[s]" in the aggregate annual amount of $ 200 or more and to report that information to the FEC. 2 U.S.C. §§ 432(i), 434. FEC regulations require national political party committees to report any receipt of funds over $ 200, regardless of whether the funds are deemed "hard" or "soft" money. 11 C.F.R. § 104.8(a), (e). The statute charges the Federal Election Commission with the administration of FECA and grants the FEC exclusive jurisdiction over civil enforcement. 2 U.S.C. § 437c. It provides for both civil and criminal enforcement, and specifies criminal penalties for certain violations, up to a maximum of one year imprisonment and/or a fine. 2 U.S.C. § 437g(d). The Department of Justice prosecutes criminal violations of the statute. 2 U.S.C. § 437g(a)(5)(C).

 Count 1 of the indictment charges that Ms. Hsia, a Buddhist, conspired with the International Buddhist Progress Society ("IBPS"), a tax-exempt religious organization doing business as the Hsi Lai Temple (the "Temple"), and other unnamed co-conspirators to defraud the United States by impairing, obstructing, impeding and defeating the lawful functions and duties of the FEC and the INS in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371. *fn3" The indictment alleges that Ms. Hsia solicited IBPS to make contributions and donations through "conduits" (some of whom were monks, nuns and volunteers from IBPS) and that Ms. Hsia in some instances acted as a conduit for donations or contributions. The indictment alleges that Ms. Hsia (1) impaired and impeded the FEC by concealing the fact that IBPS was the true source of the contributions, and (2) impaired and impeded the INS by submitting documents to the INS stating that IBPS was not participating in political campaigns so that the INS would permit foreign nuns and monks associated with IBPS to enter or remain in the United States when she knew that IBPS in fact was making political contributions.

 Counts 2-6 charge Ms. Hsia with causing the making of false statements to the FEC in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2 and 1001. These counts appear to be based on conduct similar to (if not the same as) that alleged in Count 1. The indictment alleges that Ms. Hsia knowingly and willfully caused various political committees to submit material false statements to the FEC by concealing the identity of the true source of contributions from the committees which relayed the false information to the FEC. Each count addresses a different report submitted to the FEC by a political committee which allegedly contained false statements about the identity of actual contributors. Count 2 pertains to a July 18, 1995 report and Count 3 to an October 17, 1995 report by the Clinton-Gore '96 Committee; Count 4 relates to an April 15, 1996 report and Count 5 to a July 15, 1996 report by the Democratic National Committee; and Count 6 pertains to an October 24, 1996 report by the Patrick Kennedy Committee. Counts 2 and 3 do not identify the actual source of the contributions, but Counts 4-6 allege that IBPS was the actual contributor. Counts 2-6 all allege that Ms. Hsia solicited the contributions at issue, but only Count 6 alleges that Ms. Hsia herself wrote a contribution check for which she was reimbursed by IBPS.

 II. MOTIONS TO DISMISS INDICTMENT ON FIRST AMENDMENT GROUNDS

 A. Defendant's Motion To Dismiss Indictment For Its Positive Repugnance to the Federal Election Campaign Act

 Ms. Hsia argues that the Federal Election Campaign Act, 2 U.S.C. § 431, et seq., impliedly repeals the more general provisions of the Federal Criminal Code, specifically the false statements statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1001, and the conspiracy statute, 18 U.S.C. § 371. This Court already has ruled that under accepted principles of statutory construction, repeals by implication are not favored and there must be substantial evidence that Congress expressly intended to preempt a general statute with a more specific statutory scheme in order to deprive a prosecutor of discretion to determine on which of a variety of seemingly applicable statutes to base a prosecution. Under this traditional analysis, FECA does not impliedly repeal or preempt the more general criminal statutes on which the prosecutor and grand jury have proceeded. See United States v. Trie, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12468, Criminal No. 98-0029, 1998 WL 427550, at *9 (D.D.C. July 17, 1998). Ms. Hsia maintains, however, that because the conduct regulated by FECA is political speech subject to First Amendment protection and because Congress carefully crafted and later amended FECA in order to avoid infringing on First Amendment rights, FECA necessarily occupies the field and impliedly repealed more general criminal statutes that are not tailored to protect First Amendment rights of political speech and association.

 18 U.S.C. § 371 and 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 broadly proscribe criminal conduct and have been applied in a wide range of circumstances. FECA, on the other hand, specifically proscribes certain conduct in the context of federal elections and provides both civil and criminal penalties for certain violations of the Act. 2 U.S.C. § 437g(d). The government does not argue that FECA's criminal provisions are unavailable to it in prosecuting Ms. Hsia. Rather, it argues that the more general criminal provisions also are available regardless of whether FECA provides a criminal penalty for the charged conduct and that the government has the discretion to decide under which statutes to proceed, the misdemeanor provisions of FECA or the felony provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and 18 U.S.C. § 1001. It relies on the established principle that "whether to prosecute and what charge to file or bring before a grand jury are decisions that generally rest in the prosecutor's discretion." United States v. Batchelder, 442 U.S. 114, 124, 60 L. Ed. 2d 755, 99 S. Ct. 2198 (1979). See also Bordenkircher v. Hayes, 434 U.S. 357, 364, 54 L. Ed. 2d 604, 98 S. Ct. 663 (1978); United States v. Moore, 423 U.S. 122, 138, 46 L. Ed. 2d 333, 96 S. Ct. 335 (1975).

 Ordinarily, general criminal provisions remain available to supplement a specific statutory scheme unless there is evidence either (1) that Congress expressly intended to preempt a general statute with the more specific statutory scheme, or (2) that there is what the Supreme Court has labeled "a positive repugnancy" between the provisions of the specific statutory scheme and the more general statutes such that Congress must have intended to repeal the more general provisions by implication. See United States v. Borden Co., 308 U.S. 188, 198-99, 84 L. Ed. 181, 60 S. Ct. 182 (1939). The parties here agree that when Congress enacted FECA it did not expressly repeal the more general criminal provisions and that repeal by implication is not favored. See United States v. Borden, 308 U.S. at 198; United States v. Curran, 20 F.3d 560, 566 (3d Cir. 1994); United States v. Hopkins, 916 F.2d 207, 218 (5th Cir. 1990); United States v. Oakar, 924 F. Supp. 232, 244-45 (D.D.C. 1996), aff'd in part, rev'd on other grounds, 324 U.S. App. D.C. 104, 111 F.3d 146 (D.C. Cir. 1997). The question is whether the pervasive First Amendment implications of federal election regulation necessarily alter the framework of analysis.

 The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, Pub.L. No. 92-225, 86 Stat. 3 ("1971 FECA"), sought to regulate campaign financing in a more comprehensive way than its predecessor campaign financing statute. See, e.g., H.R. Rep. No. 92-564 at 3 (1971). The major provisions of the 1971 Act focused primarily on limiting the activities of candidates for federal office, rather than on placing limitations on contributors. The Act imposed spending limits on the amount of personal funds a candidate could use in a federal election, 1971 FECA § 203, amending 18 U.S.C. § 608, and on the amount a candidate could spend for the use of communications media. 1971 FECA § 104. The Act also set forth a variety of disclosure requirements and, as part of those requirements, it prohibited contributions in the name of another, so-called conduit contributions. 1971 FECA § 310, 2 U.S.C. § 440 (1970 ed. Supp. II 1972). A number of specific criminal provisions for violations of the Act were enacted and made a part of Title 18 of the United States Code, the general Federal Criminal Code, but Congress also provided that "any person who violates any of the provisions" of Title III, Disclosure of Federal Campaign Funds, which included the prohibition against contributions in the name of another, "shall be fined not more than $ 1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both." 1971 FECA § 311(a), 2 U.S.C. § 441 (1970 ed. Supp. II 1972). *fn4"

 In 1974, Congress amended the Federal Election Campaign Act to impose individual contribution limits and overall candidate expenditure limits and to establish a Federal Election Commission. Pub.L. No. 93-443, 88 Stat. 1263 ("1974 FECA Am."), The Senate version of the bill made the FEC the "primary civil and criminal enforcement agency for violation of the provisions of the Act" and provided that the Attorney General could only prosecute violations of the Act "after the [FEC] is consulted and consents to such prosecution." S.Rep. No. 93-1237 at 93 (1974) (emphasis added). The Conference Committee deleted that provision and made clear that while "the [FEC] is given power to bring civil actions in Federal District courts to enforce the provisions of the Act . . . the primary jurisdiction of the [FEC] to enforce the provisions of the Act is not intended to interfere in any way with the activities of the Attorney General or Department of Justice personnel in performing their duties under the laws of the United States." H.R. Rep. No. 93-1438 at 94 (1974).

 The 1974 Amendments maintained the prohibition of contributions in the name of another, but moved the prohibition to Title 18 of the United States Code. A separate criminal enforcement provision for violations of that section was passed which retained the maximum one year imprisonment penalty but increased the maximum fine to $ 25,000. 1974 FECA Am. § 101(f)(1), adding 18 U.S.C. § 614; 1974 FECA Am. § 101(f)(4). Both in 1971 when it passed FECA and in 1974 when it amended it, Congress was aware that regulation of elections had First Amendment implications, and the issue of First Amendment rights was discussed during the crafting of FECA's provisions. See, e.g., S. Rep. No. 92-229 at 122-23 (supp. views of Messrs. Prouty, Cooper and Scott) (explaining that 1971 Act did not contain limitation on individual contributions because "such a limitation probably is unconstitutional"); H. Rep. No. 92-564 at 33 (add'l. views of Mr. Frenzel) (commenting on provision of 1971 House bill that would have limited individual contributions: "the limitations of contributions by individuals may . . . be unconstitutional. . . . The suppression of free speech and the reduced participation in political processes is not justified").

 In 1976, the Supreme Court held that a number of the provisions of FECA unconstitutionally restricted the First Amendment rights to political expression and association. Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 46 L. Ed. 2d 659, 96 S. Ct. 612 (1976) (per curiam). The Court first noted that the "Act's contribution and expenditure limitations operate in an area of the most fundamental First Amendment activities. Discussion of public issues and debate on the qualifications of candidates are integral to the operation of the system of government established by our Constitution." Id. at 14. The Court concluded, however, that "although the Act's contribution and expenditure limits both implicate fundamental First Amendment interests, its expenditure ceilings impose significantly more severe restrictions on protected freedoms of political expression and association than do its limits on financial contributions." Id. at 23. "The expenditure limitations contained in the Act represent substantial rather than merely theoretical restraints on the quantity and diversity of political speech, [while limitations on contributions] entail[s] only a marginal restriction upon the contributor's ability to engage in free communication." Id. at 19-21. The Court therefore upheld the constitutionality of the contribution limitations but struck down the expenditure limits because they "place substantial and direct restrictions on the ability of candidates, citizens and associations to engage in protected political expression . . . ." Id. at 58-59. *fn5"

 The Court next turned to the disclosure requirements of FECA. It found that compelled disclosure "can seriously infringe on privacy of association and belief guaranteed by the First Amendment" and "cannot be justified by a mere showing of some legitimate governmental interest." Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. at 64. The constitutionality of the disclosure provisions requiring major political committees to report contributions was not challenged, but petitioners did challenge the constitutionality of the reporting requirements that FECA imposed on individuals and minor political parties. Id. at 68. FECA required any individual who made "contributions or expenditures" aggregating over $ 100 to entities other than political committees or candidates to file a statement with the FEC. 2 U.S.C. § 434(e) (1970 ed. Supp. V). The Court found that in order to avoid problems of constitutional vagueness, the definition of "expenditure" had to be narrowed to "reach only funds used for communications that expressly advocate the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate." Id. at 80. As construed and narrowed, the disclosure provision "bears a sufficient relationship to a substantial governmental interest" and therefore passes constitutional muster. Id. The Court noted that it was especially necessary to clearly define the scope of the reporting requirement because "the violation of its terms carries criminal penalties and fear of incurring these sanctions may deter those who seek to exercise protected First Amendment rights." Id. at 76-77. *fn6"

 The Chief Justice expressed concern that because FECA was intended to operate as a holistic response to campaign financing abuses, the decision in Buckley to strike down discrete portions of FECA would undermine the Act as a whole. See, e.g., Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. at 235 (Burger, C.J., concurring in part and dissenting in part) ("the Court's result does violence to the intent of Congress in this comprehensive scheme of campaign finance . . . the Court fails to recognize that the whole of this Act is greater than the sum of its parts"). The Chief Justice, demonstrating a certain degree of prescience, also predicted that "the Court's holding will invite avoidance, if not evasion, of the intent of the Act, with 'independent' committees undertaking 'unauthorized' activities in order to escape the limits on contributions." Id. at 253 (Burger, C. J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). For similar reasons, Justice White would have upheld both the contribution and expenditure limits as constitutional: "There is nothing objectionable . . . in the attempt to insulate the political expression of federal candidates from the influence inevitably exerted by the endless job of raising increasingly large sums of money. I regret that the Court has returned them all to the treadmill. . . . The holding is perhaps not that federal candidates have the constitutional right to purchase their election, but many will so interpret the Court's conclusion in this case." Id. at 265-66 (White, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part). *fn7"

 Rather than attempting to enact a new comprehensive law in reaction to Buckley, Congress again amended the statute. While the 1976 Amendments primarily focused on reconstituting the Federal Election Commission and correcting the constitutional violations, the Amendments also moved the criminal enforcement provisions of the Act from Title 18 and consolidated them into one provision in Title 2. Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1976, Pub.L. No. 94-283, 90 Stat. 475 (May 11, 1976) ("1976 FECA Am.") §§ 112, 201. Under the new consolidated enforcement provision, any person who "knowingly and willfully commits a violation of any provision or provisions of this Act which involves the making, receiving, or reporting of any contribution or expenditure having a value in the aggregate of $ 1000 or more during a calendar year shall be fined in an amount which does not exceed the greater of $ 25,000 or 300 percent of the amount of any contribution or expenditure involved in such violation, imprisoned for not more than 1 year, or both." 1976 FECA Am. § 201. *fn8" In addition, the 1976 amendments provided that where the FEC finds probable cause to believe there is such a knowing and willful violation, it may refer such apparent violation to the Attorney General, 2 U.S.C. § 437g(a)(5)(D), although such a referral is not a prerequisite to a criminal prosecution. See infra at 16. *fn9"

 Against this backdrop of legislative and judicial decisions, Ms. Hsia argues that because FECA operates in areas protected by the First Amendment and because Congress so carefully crafted a comprehensive enforcement scheme to assure that it does not violate the Constitution, FECA necessarily pro tanto displaces the more general conspiracy and false statements statutes. For her argument, she relies primarily, if not exclusively, on the D.C. Circuit's opinion in Galliano v. United States Postal Service, 267 U.S. App. D.C. 14, 836 F.2d 1362 (D.C. Cir. 1988). Ms. Hsia maintains that Galliano establishes a different framework for analysis of implied repeal in the FECA context, where a complex regulatory statute sets forth an enforcement scheme in an area permeated by First Amendment concerns. *fn10"

 In Galliano, Americans for Phil Gramm ("APG"), a political action committee that was not the authorized committee of then-Congressman Gramm, solicited money in a series of mailings. APG's first mailing failed to include a disclaimer required by FECA stating that the solicitation was not authorized by Representative Gramm or his senatorial campaign committee. Subsequent mailings, however, did contain an appropriate disclaimer. The FEC found "probable cause" to believe that the first mailing violated FECA and entered into a conciliation agreement with APG, but it did not pursue any action with respect to the later mailings. Meanwhile, the United States Postal Service took administrative enforcement action against the APG for all of its mailings, invoking a Postal Service statute prohibiting the use of any scheme or device "for obtaining money . . . through the mail by means of false representations." 39 U.S.C. § 3005 (1982). A Judicial Officer of the Postal Service issued two remedial orders, one of which essentially directed the postmaster to stop each piece of mail addressed to APG, inspect it and return it to the sender if it was a response to APG's solicitations. APG filed suit in federal court to require the Postal Service to set aside its order.

 On appeal, the court of appeals held that "the Postal Service, in its enforcement of [its false statements statute], may not impose constraints upon the names or disclaimers of organizations mailing solicitations for political contributions beyond those imposed by FECA." Galliano v. United States Postal Service, 836 F.2d at 1367. In an opinion by now Justice Ginsburg, the court acknowledged the arguments of the Postal Service that Congress did not expressly repeal the Postal Service statute when it passed FECA and that "repeals by implication are not favored." Id. at 1369. Nonetheless, it concluded that to "permit the Postal Service to base findings of false representation on a political action committee's name and disclaimers that are consistent with FECA requirements would defeat the substantive objective of that Act's first-amendment-sensitive provisions." Id. at 1370. The court therefore held that if "FECA requirements are met, then as we comprehend that legislation, no further constraints . . . may be imposed by other governmental authorities." Id. The Court also held that if the mailings contained false representations of a sort not covered by FECA, for instance if APG made false representations concerning its past fundraising successes, the Postal Service could apply its false statements statute to that conduct even if the mailings were done for a political purpose. Id. at 1371.

 "The tension between the general false representation provisions of [the Postal Service false statements statute] and the specific disclosure requirements of [FECA]" at issue in Galliano has clear parallels to the tension between FECA and the criminal false statements and conspiracy statutes at issue here. See Galliano v. United States Postal Service, 836 F.2d at 1367. The essence of the charges against Ms. Hsia center on alleged conduit contributions which led to false statements by political committees in their disclosure reports to the FEC, and FECA contains a comprehensive enforcement scheme for the civil and misdemeanor prosecution of conduit contributions. See 2 U.S.C. § 437g(d). Moreover, the legislative history cited by the court in Galliano for the proposition that the name and disclaimer provisions at issue in that case specifically safeguard the "full enjoyment of the First Amendment rights of individuals and groups to make expenditures for political expression" arguably applies also to the disclosure provision at issue in this case. See H.R. Rep. No. 94-917 at 5 (1976), cited in Galliano v. United States Postal Service, 836 F.2d at 1370. The Court concludes, however, that Galliano does not control this case.

 First, in Galliano, the court of appeals found that the FEC's authority displaced the authority of the Postal Service; in other words, the authority of one administrative agency under a specific statutory scheme preempted the authority of another administrative agency under a different statutory scheme. The court relied heavily on the fact that both FECA and its legislative history state that only the FEC, "and no other governmental authority," has jurisdiction to enforce the civil provisions of FECA. Galliano v. United States Postal Service, 836 F.2d at 1368. It therefore held that "the FEC is the exclusive administrative arbiter of questions concerning the name identifications and disclaimers of organizations soliciting political contributions." Id. at 1370 (emphasis added).

 In this case, by contrast, Ms. Hsia proposes displacing the authority of the Attorney General, the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, to bring criminal charges under the general provisions of the Federal Criminal Code. The Attorney General, however, is in a fundamentally different position from administrative agencies such as the Postal Service. She is charged with prosecuting criminal violations of the federal election laws as well as other criminal laws, and her authority is in no way limited by the FEC. See Galliano v. United States Postal Service, 836 F.2d at 1368 n. 6 (Attorney General has authority to criminally prosecute FECA violations regardless of whether FEC refers investigation to her); United States v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 701, 638 F.2d 1161 (9th Cir. 1979) (same). Unlike the situation presented in Galliano, there is no issue of another agency infringing on the FEC's authority; in this case, the authority to criminally prosecute rests exclusively with the Attorney General.

 Second, the court in Galliano found it significant that the FEC is required to conciliate civil violations of FECA prior to instituting any formal civil enforcement action. See 2 U.S.C. § 437g(a)(4). If conciliation is not successful, the FEC cannot administratively impose civil penalties; instead it must institute a civil action in federal district court. See 437g(a)(6)(A). If the Postal Service had the authority to administratively impose sanctions for conduct that is covered by FECA, the "first-amendment-prompted arrangements Congress devised for FECA enforcement actions" would be sacrificed. Galliano v. United States Postal Service, 836 F.2d at 1370.

 The "first-amendment prompted" conciliation provisions, however, apply only to civil enforcement actions and do not apply to criminal actions. See 2 U.S.C. § 437g(a)(5)(C). Because the Attorney General may directly prosecute violations of FECA regardless of whether the FEC has attempted to conciliate the violation, see United States v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 701, 638 F.2d at 1163, no procedural protection is sacrificed by allowing her to charge violations under the general provisions of the Federal Criminal Code as well as under FECA. Moreover, unlike the Postal Service in Galliano, the Attorney General cannot impose penalties for violations of criminal statutes without instituting a proceeding in court. Regardless of whether she chooses to criminally prosecute someone under FECA or under a more general provision of the Federal Criminal Code, she must institute an action in a court of law. Allowing the Attorney General to proceed under general provisions of the Federal Criminal Code rather than exclusively under FECA therefore sacrifices none of the "first-amendment prompted" procedural protection of FECA. *fn11"

 Third, the court in Galliano focused on the fact that the finding of the Postal Service that the statements were misleading was inconsistent with the FEC's determination that the solicitations met the disclaimer requirements of FECA. The criminal provisions at issue in this case, however, rely for their meaning on the proscriptions and the definitions of FECA itself, and the definition of "contribution" and other relevant terms will control the scope of the jury's considerations and be included as part of the jury instructions. *fn12" The criminal statutes invoked merely provide additional enforcement mechanisms; they do not seek to penalize conduct that is expressly permitted by FECA. If this were a case in which Ms. Hsia was being prosecuted for conduct that was permissible under FECA, Galliano would be more on point. In this case, however, the conduct allegedly at issue -- the use of conduits to conceal corporate contributions from the FEC -- is specifically proscribed by FECA; there is no inconsistency between FECA and the general criminal provisions employed by the government here.

 Nor is there any indication in the language or legislative history of FECA to indicate that Congress intended the criminal provisions of the Act to displace any of the more general federal criminal provisions in Title 18 of the United States Code. In the 1976 Amendments, Congress created one criminal penalty provision in Title 2 for violations of FECA and relocated the various criminal penalties for FECA violations that had been in Title 18. 1976 FECA Am. § 201, 2 U.S.C. § 437(g). The legislative history concerning the new FECA criminal provision, however, focused on the need to simplify the enforcement scheme and makes no mention of repealing the more generally applicable provisions of Title 18. H.R. Rep. No. 94-917 at 3 (1976) ("on the occasion of reconstituting the Federal Election Commission the Committee concluded that it was appropriate to simplify and rationalize the present enforcement system"). The only legislative history cited by Ms. Hsia indicating that Congress may have reduced criminal enforcement power when it consolidated the criminal provisions is in the statements of those who were opposed to the legislation, not those who supported it. See Def's Motion No. 3 at 7. The characterizations of opponents to legislation, however, are entitled to little weight. See United States v. International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 701, 638 F.2d 1161 at 1168.

 While the defendant's preemption argument is intriguing, it ultimately fails. Wisely or not, Chief Justice Burger's holistic approach to the statute was rejected in Buckley, and there is no language or legislative history anywhere in the "comprehensive scheme" that is FECA to indicate that Congress intended to repeal any of the general criminal provisions of Title 18 when it enacted or amended the statute. Finally, while there are facial similarities between the situations presented by Galliano and this case, the significant differences that appear upon careful analysis ultimately carry the day. The Court therefore concludes that FECA does not displace pro tanto the general criminal provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and 18 U.S.C. §§ 1001 and 2(b).

 B. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Indictment Because It Offends the First Amendment (Religion)

 Ms. Hsia next asserts that the indictment infringes on the right to free exercise of religion in violation of the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb. The indictment is premised on the government's allegation that Ms. Hsia orchestrated a scheme in which monks and nuns from the Hsi Lai Temple wrote checks to political committees for which they were reimbursed. According to the government, the contributions therefore were made with money that "actually" belonged to the Temple and the monks and nuns were acting as conduits for the Temple, the "true contributor."

 Ms. Hsia maintains that the government's theory misperceives religious doctrine and the role and use of wealth within the Buddhist community at the Temple. According to her, the Temple does not possess "property" separate from the monks' and nuns' property; all of the property that "belongs" to the Temple "belongs" to each of the monks and nuns. Under the Temple's religious doctrine, funds are held communally but are used for individual personal expenses; a monastic who incurs personal expenses may receive a payment for the expense from a Temple account, but this personal expense is not thereby converted into a Temple or "corporate" expenditure. Ms. Hsia argues that because the entire premise of the indictment is that monks and nuns acted as "conduits" for the Temple, the indictment necessarily relies on a notion of property that fundamentally is opposed to the religious doctrines of Humanistic Buddhism espoused by members of the Temple. She therefore contends that the indictment must be dismissed because it violates the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. Alternatively, she has requested an evidentiary hearing on the issue of Buddhist beliefs and particularly the beliefs and practices of members of the Hsi Lai Temple.

 The government first contends that Ms. Hsia has no standing to assert a free exercise defense because any such First Amendment right that might be implicated in this case belongs to the Temple and its monastics rather than to Ms. Hsia. Ms. Hsia argues that she ...


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