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FACT Calls for FEC Investigation into AMPLI “Fellowship” Program for Illegally Contributing to Federal Candidates

Updated: Apr 17

The American Mainstream Policy Leadership Institute

appears to have illegally contributed to candidates running for public office

Washington, D.C.— March 12th, 2024 — Yesterday, the non-partisan ethics watchdog, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), filed a complaint requesting the Federal Election Commission (FEC) investigate and take appropriate action to address apparent violations by The American Mainstream Policy Leadership Institute (AMPLI) and the federal candidates who have accepted funds from their organization.

AMPLI has made payments to candidates for federal office under the guise of a “fellowship” program. However, the founder of the fellowship explained in a public interview that their purpose is to pay the personal expenses of candidates who have lost elections and are highly likely to run again in the near future, and not for actual work product. The founder of the fellowship explained, “they get a stipend, so they don’t have to like worry about paying their rent or their groceries or their mortgage, right, and also they get four months to rethink and reflect and work on and do research on things that they find would be valuable for them as political leadership development.”

This activity, namely paying candidates for reasons directly related to their candidacy, is not allowed. Federal law prohibits any candidate from knowingly accepting a contribution in excess of $3,300, and funds paid for “compensation” qualify as contributions unless it is “genuinely independent of the candidacy.” There are currently eight known federal candidates who were a part of the “fellowship” program, each of which received a different amount that ranged from $5,000 to $60,000–all clearly above the federal contribution limits. 

AMPLI, based upon a combination of their public statements, would not have given the fellowship funds to someone that they did not anticipate running for an office in the near future. It’s clear that the purpose of this program is not to pay failed candidates for bona fide services, but rather to illegally give money to candidates before they file again to run for another office. Thus, the “fellowship” payments are  directly tied to a federal candidacy and therefore are illegal contributions.

“For decades, bipartisan polling has shown that Americans have a distaste for lifelong politicians who are growing increasingly disconnected from the average American. The AMPLI “fellowship”, as blatantly described by its founders, essentially attempts to subsidize a person to be a full-time politician. Not only does existing federal law prohibit any salary payments that are directly related to a federal candidacy, but the underlying premise behind it has long-reaching and destructive implications were it to be repeated and magnified in the future. I hope the FEC will swiftly investigate and take proper action to end this practice.” said Kendra Arnold, Executive Director of FACT.

A full copy of the complaint can be found here.

FACT is a nonprofit organization promoting accountability, ethics, and transparency in government and civic arenas. For more on FACT, visit:




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