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The Federal Election Commission took in a record $1.1 million in fines during the first three months of 2007. During the first quarter, the FEC handed down its stiffest penalty yet, a $750,000 fine to Progress for America Voter Fund, a 527 group that failed to register as a political committee during the 2004 presidential election. [IMGCAP(1)]

“The commission’s results so far in 2007 build upon a proven track record and commitment to rigorous enforcement,” said FEC Chairman Robert Lenhard. “And while the commission has an abiding commitment to encouraging voluntary compliance, serious violations will result in significant civil penalties.”

When it Rains … The Federal Election Commission released the terms of a plea deal Tuesday between the agency and embattled Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.).

Renzi was fined $25,000 by the FEC in early 2007 for unintentionally understating fundraising and payouts by his campaign committee. His campaign also misreported joint-fundraising contributions, according to the agreement.

Ethics Pool. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) has tapped 10 lawmakers for the Member pool to serve on investigative subcommittees if asked by the ethics committee. They are GOP Reps. Rob Bishop (Utah), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Ander Crenshaw (Fla.), Lincoln Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Phil English (Pa.), Tom Latham (Iowa), Frank Lucas (Okla.), Sue Myrick (N.C.), Mike Simpson (Idaho) and Greg Walden (Ore.).

The “ethics pool” is selected each Congress by the respective party leaders, and any of the 20 Members can be asked by ethics to assist in investigations.

Technology Titans. The Government Printing Office is a finalist for the 2007 American Council for Technology awards, given to agencies that use innovative technology to improve business practices, the GPO announced Tuesday.

The agency was nominated for its program GPOExpress, a partnership with FedEx Kinko’s that allows federal government personnel in all three branches to place orders from any FedEx Kinko’s location, day or night. Plus, if federal employees use a special GPOExpress card, they can earn up to a 70 percent discount. Winners of the awards will be announced on June 4 in Richmond, Va.

— Matthew Murray, Susan Davis and Elizabeth Brotherton

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