Federal Election Commission

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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 oversight of the public funding of presidential elections.[1]

The six members of the commission 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.[1]

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.[2]

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.[3] The required reports were as follows:[4]

Note: Filing deadlines are 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 must file a pre-election report if the candidate is running in the election. Political parties and PACs are only required to file pre-election reports if they are filing on a quarterly basis and they make previously undisclosed contributions or expenditures in connection with any primary and/or runoff.[4]

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

Independent expenditures

Depending on the date and amount of expenditure, political committees and other persons may have to disclose independent expenditures within 24 or 48 hours.[4]

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

Structure of the FEC

As of April 30, 2013, the Commission's six seats had one vacant seat and the other five sitting members' terms had expired.[5] President Obama had nominated a replacement, labor lawyer John Sullivan, for the open seat in May 2009, but the Senate placed a hold on the nomination for over a year before Obama withdrew the nomination.[6]

External links