|WASHINGTON The Federal Election Commission has submitted to
Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) a budget request of $50,440,000 for
fiscal year 2004, an increase of only 1.8% over the enacted FY2003 appropriation of
In the Executive Summary of the Budget Request Justification, the FEC notes
that the requested FY2004 budget "
represents a continuation of the FY2003
funding level, as adjusted for inflation and salary and benefits increases. As such it
represents essentially a Current Services request for FY2004 with no additional funds or
staff for new programs or initiatives."
The requested appropriation is identical to the Administrations budget mark for
the FEC. Both seek funding approval for a total of 391 FEC employees in FY2004.
The Executive Summary also emphasizes:
- In FY2002 and 2003, the FEC achieved several major successes: meeting statutory and
court deadlines for the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) implementation and legal
challenges to the BCRA; expansion of the compliance program; implementation of mandatory
electronic filing; and issuance of the Voting Systems Standards (VSS).
- Operating under strict statutory deadlines, the Commission issued new regulations within
the mandatory time frame to implement the various changes to the FECA enacted in the BCRA.
In addition, the FEC staff has been required to review all programs and processes for
disclosure and compliance to ensure that all forms and procedures comply with the BCRA
- Swift Congressional action on mandatory electronic filing for large filers and the
establishment of an Administrative Fine Program
.resulted in programs allowing the
FEC to carry out its disclosure and compliance missions more effectively. The
administrative fine and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) programs both received
accolades from the regulated community.
- The administrative fine and ADR programs have improved compliance and streamlined the
enforcement process. For example, from FY1995 through FY2000, the FEC closed an average of
205 cases each fiscal year. In FY2001, with the addition of the administrative fine and
ADR programs, the Commission closed 517 cases, a 152% increase over the 1995-2000 annual
average. As of March 14 this year, the administrative fines program had made public 509
cases, $721,371 in fines collected.
- The mandatory electronic filing program began in January 2001. A total of 2,460
committees electronically filed either their mid-year reports or their July monthly
reports in 2001, with 1,135 committees filing electronically for the first time. The 2002
year-end filings included electronically-filed reports from 3,236 PAC, party, and campaign
committees. Election-cycle to-date financial activity for those committees filing
electronically represented 84% of the total disbursements for all committees filing
reports with the FEC (Senate filers submit reports to the Secretary of the Senate and do
not file electronically). Electronic filing has increased the timeliness, scope, and
amount of data available to FEC staff and external users of campaign finance disclosure
The Summary concludes, "The success of these initiatives has resulted, and will
continue to result in, improved disclosure through electronic filing, improved compliance
through varied enforcement programs, and improved federal election administration through
updating and enhancing the VSS. When considered within the context of the continuing
record levels of total federal campaign finance activity each election cycle,
initiatives have enabled the Commission to handle an expanding workload without
proportionate requests for additional staff.
"In order to continue reaping the benefits of automation in our disclosure and
compliance programs without adding additional staff, it is imperative that the Commission
receive the requested resources in FY2004 to continue to implement the automated review of
financial disclosure reports, to initiate the portal development project to enhance the
analysis and accessibility of information, and to continue the alternative compliance
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