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Federal Election Commission
|Federal Election Commission|
|Chair:||Ann M. Ravel|
|Annual budget:||$65.8 million (2014|
|Total employed:||338 (2012)|
|Official website:||Office website|
- 1 History
- 2 Requirements for candidacy
- 3 2014 reporting
- 4 2012 reports
- 5 Contribution limitations
- 6 Structure
- 7 Analysis
- 8 Recent news
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 References
The commission is led by six members. The six members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. They each serve six-year terms, with two seats up for appointment every two years. To prevent partisanship, no more than three members can be of the same political party and there is a four vote minimum for any proposal to be passed. Chairs of the commission serve one year terms and are limited to one term as chair during their tenure.
President Theodore Roosevelt pushed Congress for campaign finance reform in 1905, which resulted in a series of legislative actions between 1907 and 1966 regarding primary and general election campaign funding and expenditures. The Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) was passed in 1971 which made disclosure laws stricter on candidates, political action committees (PACs) and the political parties themselves. FECA was amended in 1974 to limit campaign contributions by individuals, political parties and PACs. The 1974 amendments also allowed for the establishment of the Federal Election Commission. The FEC opened its doors in 1975. The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) passed in 2002, banning national parties from raising or spending soft money contributions, placed restrictions on issue ads and increased federal contribution limits.
Two 2010 United States Supreme Court cases, Citizens United v. FEC and SpeechNow.org v. FEC represented the largest changes to campaign finance laws in decades. The ruling in the Citizens United case allowed corporations and unions to fund ads created independently from the campaign. The SpeechNow.org ruling expanded on the Citizens United ruling and allowed the establishment of super PACs. Previous limitations on contributions from corporations and unions to political organizations run independently from campaigns were struck down. Another Supreme Court case decided in April 2012, McCutcheon v. FEC, struck down previous limitations on how much a single donor can contribute to candidates and political parties in total during an election cycle. The limitation on how much a donor can give to each candidate and political party remain intact, but individual donors were no longer limited as to how many candidates and political parties they wished to contribute.
Requirements for candidacy
According to the FEC, an individual becomes a federal candidate, and must begin to report their campaign finances, once he or she has either raised or spent $5,000 in pursuit of his or her campaign. Within fifteen days of this benchmark for status as a candidate, the candidate must register with the FEC and designate an official campaign committee, to be responsible for the funds and expenditures of the campaign. This committee must have an official treasurer, and cannot support any candidate but the one who registered the committee. Detailed financial reports are then made to the FEC every financial quarter after the individual is registered with the FEC. Reports are also made before primaries and before the general election.
Hacked during shutdowngovernment shutdown. All 339 FEC employees were furloughed when Chinese hackers infiltrated their computer system. This came after a security audit done in 2012. The results of the audit were:
- "Without adopting and implementing National Institute of Science and Technology minimum security controls, the FEC’s computer network, data and information is at an increased risk of loss, theft, manipulation, [and] interruption of operations."
- Note: Filing deadlines were not extended when they fall on nonworking days.
|2014 Quarterly Reports|
|Year-End 2013||October 1 – December 31, 2013||January 31, 2014|
|April Quarterly||January 1 – March 31, 2014||April 15, 2014|
|July Quarterly||April 1 – June 30, 2014||July 15, 2014|
|October Quarterly||July 1 – September 30, 2014||October 15, 2014|
|Pre-General||October 1 – October 15, 2014||October 23, 2014|
|Post-General||October 16 – November 24, 2014||December 4, 2014|
|Year-End 2014||November 25 – December 31, 2014||January 31, 2015|
Candidates for President, Congress, State, District and Local Party Committees and political action committees were required to file seven quarterly reports in 2012. Congressional campaigns were required to file if they raised or spent over $5,000 during the election cycle. The required reports were as follows:
- Note: Filing deadlines were not extended when they fall on nonworking days.
|2012 Quarterly Reports|
|Year-End 2011||October 1 – December 31, 2011||January 31, 2012|
|April Quarterly||January 1 – March 31, 2012||April 15, 2012|
|July Quarterly||April 1 – June 30, 2012||July 15, 2012|
|October Quarterly||July 1 – September 30, 2012||October 15, 2012|
|Pre-General||October 1 – October 17, 2012||October 25, 2012|
|Post-General||October 18 – November 26, 2012||December 6, 2012|
|Year-End 2012||November 27 – December 31, 2012||January 31, 2013|
All 2012 candidates for U.S. House and Senate were required a pre-election report if the candidate ran in the election. Political parties and PACs were only required to file pre-election reports if they were filing on a quarterly basis and they made previously undisclosed contributions or expenditures in connection with any primary and/or runoff.
Deadlines for these reports varied by state. A full listing can be found on the FEC's website.
Depending on the date and amount of expenditure, some political committees and other persons were required to disclose independent expenditures within 24 or 48 hours.
These reports varied by state. A full listing can be found on the FEC's website.
The following table shows contribution limits for the 2013-2014 election cycle.
|To each candidate||To national party committee||To state, district & local party committee||To any other political committee||Special Limits|
|Individual may give||$2,600||$32,400||$10,000 (combined limit)||$5,000||No limit|
|National Party Committee may give||$5,000||No limit||No limit||$5,000||$45,400 to Senate candidate per campaign|
|State, District and Local Party Committee may give||$5,000 (combined limit)||No limit||No limit||$5,000 (combined limit)||No limit|
|PAC (multicandidate) may give||$5,000||$15,000||$5,000 (combined limit)||$5,000||No limit|
|PAC (not multicandidate) may give||$2,600||$32,400||$10,000 (combined limit)||$5,000||No limit|
|Authorized Campaign Committee may give||$2,000||No limit||No limit||$5,000||No limit|
The official FEC mission statement is as follows:
|“||In 1975, Congress created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) - the statute that governs the financing of federal elections.||”|
Ann M. Ravel is currently the chair of the FEC. The other commissioners are:
- Matthew S. Peterson (vice chair)
- Lee E. Goodman
- Ellen M. Weintraub
- Caroline C. Hunter
- Steven T. Walther
|Federal Election Commission Annual Budget|
|Year||Budget (in millions)||% Difference from previous year|
- Note: 2014 only represents the FEC's budget request, not an enacted budget.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Federal + Election + Commission
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Federal Election Commission, "About the FEC," accessed June 27, 2012
- FEC, "The FEC and the Federal Campaign Finance Law," accessed 4/18/2014
- Journalist's Resource, "State of campaign finance policy: Recent developments and issues for Congress," October 3, 2011
- Washington Post, "Winners and losers from the McCutcheon v. FEC ruling," April 2, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "Candidate Registration Brochure," accessed December 7, 2012
- The Hill, "Report: FEC system hacked during shutdown," accessed December 17, 2013
- Federal Election Commission, "2014 Reporting Deadlines," accessed February 26, 2014
- Federal Election Commission, "2012 Supplemental Filing Information," accessed June 27, 2012
- Federal Election Commission, "2012 Reporting Deadlines," accessed June 27, 2012
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Federal Election Commission, "Members," accessed February 23, 2015
- FEC, "Plans, Performance and Budget," accessed April 21, 2014