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Encyclopedia > Federal Election Commission

The Federal Election Commission (or FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that was founded in 1975 by the United States Congress to regulate the campaign finance legislation in the United States. It was created in a provision of the 1975 amendment to the Federal Election Campaign Act. It describes its duties as "to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections." Type Bicameral Houses Senate House of Representatives President of the Senate President pro tempore Dick Cheney, (R) since January 20, 2001 Robert C. Byrd, (D) since January 4, 2007 Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (D) since January 4, 2007 Members 535 plus 4 Delegates and 1 Resident Commissioner Political... Campaign finance refers to the means by which money is raised for election campaigns. ... The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA, Pub. ...

Contents

Membership

The Commission is made up of six members, who are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. Each member serves a six-year term, and two seats are subject to appointment every two years. By law, no more than three Commissioners can be members of the same political party, and at least four votes are required for any official Commission action. This structure was created to encourage nonpartisan decisions and, some claim, to discourage rulings which would be harmful to both major parties. Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countries Atlas  US Government Portal      For other uses, see President of the United States (disambiguation). ... Type Upper House President of the Senate Richard B. Cheney, R since January 20, 2001 President pro tempore Robert C. Byrd, D since January 4, 2007 Members 100 Political groups Democratic Party Republican Party Last elections November 7, 2006 Meeting place Senate Chamber United States Capitol Washington, DC United States... “Political Parties” redirects here. ...


The Chairmanship of the Commission rotates among the members each year, with no member serving as Chairman more than once during his or her term. The current composition of the FEC includes Republican commissioners David Mason (Vice Chairman) and Hans von Spakovsky, and Democratic commissioners Robert Lenhard (Chairman), Stephen Walther and Ellen Weintraub. One Republican seat is vacant due to the resignation of Commissioner Michael Toner in March 2007. Weintraub is currently serving past the end of her term because her successor has not yet been named. March 2007 is the third month of the year. ...


Official duties

Although the Commission's name implies broad authority over U.S. elections, in fact its role is limited almost exclusively to the administration of federal campaign finance laws. It enforces limitations and prohibitions on contributions and expenditures, investigates and prosecutes violations (investigations are typically initiated by complaints from other candidates, parties, "watchdog groups," and the public), audits a limited number of campaigns and organizations for compliance, and administers the presidential campaign fund, which provides public funds to candidates for president.


The FEC also publishes reports filed by Senate, House of Representatives and Presidential campaigns that list how much each campaign has raised and spent, and a list of all donors over $200, along with each donor's home address, employer and job title. This database also goes back to 1980. Private organizations are legally prohibited from using these data to solicit new individual donors (and the FEC authorizes campaigns to include a limited number of "dummy" names as a measure to prevent this), but may use this information to solicit Political Action Committees. While these exhaustive campaign finance resources are available to everyone, they are rarely used by the public. The FEC also maintains an active program of public education, directed primarily to explaining the law to the candidates, campaigns and committees which it regulates. In the United States, a political action committee, or PAC, is the name commonly given to a private group organized to elect or defeat government officials in order to promote legislation, often supporting the groups special interests. ...


Criticism

Critics of the FEC, including campaign finance reform supporters such as Common Cause and Democracy 21, have complained that the FEC's bipartisan structure renders the agency "toothless." Critics also claim that most FEC penalties for violating election law come well after the actual election in which they were committed. Defenders of the Agency point out, however, that the Commissioners rarely divide evenly along partisan lines, and that the response time problem may be endemic to the system. To complete steps necessary to resolve a complaint - including time for defendants to respond to the complaint, time to investigate and engage in legal analysis, and finally, where warranted, prosecution - necessarily takes far longer than the comparatively brief period of a political campaign. Political campaign Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Campaign finance reform is the common term for the political effort in the United States to change the involvement of money in politics, primarily in political campaigns. ... Common Cause is a U.S. nonpartisan lobbying group. ... Election law is a discipline falling at the juncture of constitutional law and political science. ...


Additionally, some critics claim that the commissioners tend to act as an arm of the "regulated community" of parties, interest groups, and politicians when issuing rulings and writing regulations.


At the same time, however, other critics, such as former FEC Chairman Bradley A. Smith and Stephen M. Hoersting, Executive Director of the Center for Competitive Politics, criticize the FEC for pursuing overly aggressive enforcement theories, and for infringing on First Amendment rights of free speech.[1] For other persons of the same name, see Bradley Smith. ...


A bill, the Federal Election Administration Act of 2007, has been introduced in the US Congress as an attempt to fix perceived problems with the FEC. This bill would replace the FEC with a "Federal Elections Administration" with only three board members and with expanded powers, and would also require enforcement proceedings to take place before administrative law judges. It was introduced in the Senate by John McCain and Russ Feingold, and in the House of Representatives by Martin Meehan and Christopher Shays. An administrative law judge (ALJ) in the United States is an official who presides at an administrative trial-type hearing to resolve a dispute between a government agency and someone affected by a decision of that agency. ... “McCain” redirects here. ... Russell Dana Russ Feingold (born March 2, 1953) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Wisconsin. ... Meehan celebrates gaining enough votes to bring his campaign finance reform bill to the floor. ... Shays is interviewed in a charity facility. ...


Commissioners

  • Joan D. Aikens – April 1975 – September 1998 (reappointed May 1976, December 1981, August 1983 and October 1989).
  • Thomas B. Curtis – April 1975 – May 1976.
  • Thomas E. Harris – April 1975 – October 1986 (reappointed May 1976 and June 1979).
  • Neil O. Staebler – April 1975 – October 1978 (reappointed May 1976).
  • Vernon W. Thomson – April 1975 – June 1979; January 1981 – December 1981 (reappointed May 1976).
  • Robert O. Tiernan – April 1975 – December 1981 (reappointed May 1976).
  • William L. Springer – May 1976 – February 1979.
  • John Warren McGarry – October 1978 – August 1998 (reappointed July 1983 and October 1989).
  • Max L. Friedersdorf – March 1979 – December 1980.
  • Frank P. Reiche – July 1979 – August 1985.
  • Lee Ann Elliott – December 1981 – June 2000 (reappointed July 1987 and July 1994).
  • Danny L. McDonald – December 1981 – January 2006 (reappointed in July 1987, July 1994 and July 2000).
  • Thomas J. Josefiak – August 1985 – December 1991.
  • Scott E. Thomas – October 1986 – January 2006 (reappointed in November 1991 and July 1998).
  • Trevor Potter – November 1991 – October 1995.
  • Darryl R. Wold – July 1998 – April 2002.
  • Karl J. Sandstrom – July 1998 – December 2003.
  • David M. Mason – July 1998 – Present.
  • Bradley A. Smith – May 2000 – August 2005.
  • Michael E. Toner – March 2002 – March 2007. (by recess appointment on March 29, 2002, confirmed to full term 2003)
  • Ellen L. Weintraub – December 2002 – Present. (by recess appointment on December 6, 2002, confirmed to full term 2003)
  • Robert D. Lenhard – January 2006 – Present. (by recess appointment on January 4, 2006)
  • Hans A. von Spakovsky – January 2006 – Present. (by recess appointment on January 4, 2006)
  • Steven T. Walther – January 2006 – Present. (by recess appointment on January 4, 2006)

Thomas Bradford Curtis (May 14, 1911 - January 10, 1993) was a U.S. Representative from Missouri. ... Neil Oliver Staebler (July 11, 1905 – December 8, 2000 was a politician from the U.S. state of Michigan. ... Vernon Wallace Thomson (November 5, 1905 – April 2, 1988) was Governor of Wisconsin from 1957 to 1959. ... William Lee Springer (April 12, 1909 - September 20, 1992) was a U.S. Representative from Illinois. ... For other persons of the same name, see Bradley Smith. ... Michael E. Toner is the current chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the regulatory body that oversees campaign finance for United States federal elections. ... is the 88th day of the year (89th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Ellen L. Weintraub was appointed to be a commissioner on the Federal Elections Commission by recess appointment on December 6, 2002. ... December 6 is the 340th day of the year (341st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Also see: 2002 (number). ... Robert D. Lenhard is Chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the United States Government agency that regulates campaign finances in federal elections. ... is the 4th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Election People This box:      Hans A. von Spakovsky is a Commissioner of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the United States federal agency charged with enforcing campaign finance laws. ... is the 4th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Steven T. Walther was appointed to be a commissioner on the Federal Elections Commission by recess appointment on January 4, 2006. ... is the 4th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

References

  1. ^ Bradley A. Smith; Stephen M. Hoersting (2002). "A Toothless Anaconda: Innovation, Impotence, and Overenforcement at the Federal Election Commission". Election Law Journal 1 (2): 145–171. 
  • Federal Election Commission
  • FEC website: "About the FEC" from FECA website Accessed on July 5, 2005
  • Center for Competitive Politics
  • Federal Election Administration Act of 2007 (S. 478)
  • The Federal Regulations issued by the FEC

is the 186th day of the year (187th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

See also

Federal courts Supreme Court Circuit Courts of Appeal District Courts Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Local Government Other countriesAtlas  Politics Portal      The United States has a federal government, with elected officials at federal (national), state and... Campaign finance in the United States is the financing of electoral campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. ... The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (FECA, Pub. ... The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) is U.S. Congressional legislation which regulates the financing of political campaigns. ...

External links

  • Official FEC website
  • PoliticalMoneyLine
  • C-SPAN and FEC C-SPAN
  • Federal Election Commission Meeting Notices and Rule Changes from The Federal Register RSS Feed

  Results from FactBites:
 
Federal Election Commission v. Akins (6592 words)
The FEC said that, although it was a "close question," these expenditures were not membership communications, because that exception applies to a membership organization's communications with its members, and most of the persons who belonged to AIPAC did not qualify as "members" for purposes of the Act.
Of course, as the FEC points out, Brief for Petitioner 29-31, it is possible that even had the FEC agreed with respondents' view of the law, it would still have decided in the exercise of its discretion not to require AIPAC to produce the information.
The FEC held that the statute's exception to the "expenditure" definition for communications by a "membership organization" did not apply because many of the persons who belonged to AIPAC were not "members" as defined by FEC regulation.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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