Difference between revisions of "Federal Election Commission"

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! !! To each candidate !! To national party committee !! To state, district & local party committee !! To any other political committee !! Special Limits
! !! To each candidate !! To national party committee !! To state, district & local party committee !! To any other political committee !! Special Limits
! Individual may give<td style="background-color:#e5e4e2">
! Individual may give
| $2,600 || $32,400 || $10,000 <small>(combined limit)</small> || $5,000 || No limit
| $2,600 || $32,400 || $10,000 <small>(combined limit)</small> || $5,000 || No limit

Revision as of 08:57, 22 April 2014

Federal Election Commission
Chair:Lee E. Goodman
Annual budget:$65.8 million (2014
Total employed:338 (2012)
Year created:1974
Official website:Office website
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency created by Congress in 1975 to administer and enforce the Federal Elections Campaign Act. The FEC is responsible for disclosing campaign finance information, enforcing limits and prohibitions on contributions and the oversight of the public funding of presidential elections.[1]

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.[1]


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.[2]

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.[3]

An FEC informational video produced in 2009
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.[4]

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.[5]

2014 reporting

Hacked during shutdown

Features of Congress

Federal Election CommissionDemocratic Congressional Campaign CommitteeNational Republican Congressional CommitteeFiling requirements for congressional candidatesClasses of United States SenatorsFilling vacancies in the U.S. SenatePresident Pro Tempore of the SenateUnited States Speaker of the HouseFilibuster

114th Congress113th Congress112th Congress111th Congress110th Congress

Lifetime voting recordsNet worth of United States Senators and RepresentativesStaff salaries of United States Senators and RepresentativesNational Journal vote ratings
According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, the FEC was hacked during the October 2013 government 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:[6]
"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."

Quarterly reports

2014 Quarterly Reports[7]
Report Period covered Deadline
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

2012 reports

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.[8] The required reports were as follows:[9]

Note: Filing deadlines were not extended when they fall on nonworking days.

Quarterly reports

2012 Quarterly Reports
Report Period covered Deadline
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

Pre-election reports

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.[9]

Deadlines for these reports varied by state. A full listing can be found on the FEC's website.

Independent expenditures

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.[9]

These reports varied by state. A full listing can be found on the FEC's website.

Contribution limitations

The following table shows contribution limits for the 2013-2014 election cycle.[2]

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:

to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).[10]

—FEC, [1]


Lee E. Goodman is currently the chair of the FEC. The other commissioners are:

  • Ann M. Ravel (vice chair)
  • Ellen M. Weintraub
  • Matthew S. Peterson
  • Caroline C. Hunter
  • Steven T. Walther

Organizational chart

Fec org chart.jpg
Note: Chart updated April 21, 2014



Obama administration

Federal Election Commission[11] Annual Budget
YearBudget (in millions)% Difference from previous year
  • Note: 2014 only represents the FEC's budget request, not an enacted budget.

Recent news

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.

FEC News Feed

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See also

External links