For Immediate Release Contact: Bob Biersack
April 12, 2007 George Smaragdis
Federal Election Commission Makes Legislative Recommendations
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) met in open session today and unanimously approved five legislative recommendations to be forwarded to the President and Congress. Commission Chairman Robert Lenhard described the recommendations as “measured, common-sense changes that would bolster the Commission’s ability to efficiently and effectively perform its disclosure and enforcement duties.” The Commission makes recommendations annually, with an eye toward improving the administration of Federal election laws.
Today’s recommendations include:
- A recommendation that the Senate require electronic filing of campaign finance reports. This proposal, currently under active consideration in the Senate, would speed public disclosure of campaign finance information and enhance the efficiency of FEC operations.
- A recommendation that Congress expand the prohibitions on fraudulent misrepresentation of campaign authority to encompass all persons purporting to act on behalf of candidates or political organizations. The FEC has seen an increase in fraudulent use of candidate and committee names in recent years, and this added authority would assist in the enforcement process.
- A recommendation to add the FEC to the list of Agencies authorized to issue “use” immunity orders under Title 18 with the permission of the Attorney General. A number of federal Agencies currently have this authority. This would give the Commission added flexibility in pursuing information in enforcement investigations.
- A recommendation to require political committees to include FEC identification numbers on contribution checks sent to other political committees and to disclose the identification numbers of other political committees when itemizing contributions from them and contributions to them on reports filed with the Commission. This would help standardize the presentation of information regarding contributions made and received by committees, thereby improving disclosure.
- A recommendation to increase certain monetary registration and reporting thresholds related to actions by individuals and small groups involved in political campaigns. Several thresholds within the Federal Election Campaign Act have not been revised since the 1974 or 1979 amendments to the Act. Congress should raise these amounts to more realistic current levels in light of inflation experienced over the last thirty years. These include changing from $250 to $1,000 the threshold for submitting reports to the FEC when an individual spends independently to advocate the election or defeat of a federal candidate. Also, groups are currently required to register with the Commission as political committees and file financial reports when their expenditures exceed $1,000. The FEC suggests increasing this threshold to $5,000. Finally, individuals are currently permitted to volunteer their services to campaigns and pay their own travel expenses up to $1,000 before that spending would count as a contribution to the candidate. The Commission suggests this limit be increased to $2,000.
The recommendations will be forwarded to the President and Congress.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws . The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
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