Commissioner, October 1986 to January 2006 (Reappointed in November 1991 and July 1998)
Commissioner Thomas began his service at the FEC as a legal intern during the summer of 1975. The Commission had just opened its doors in the wake of the Watergate scandal and related congressional hearings. Upon graduating from law school in 1977, Mr. Thomas worked on the FEC’s legal staff, eventually serving as an Assistant General Counsel in the Enforcement Division. In 1983, he became Executive Assistant to then Commissioner Tom Harris, a Democrat and one of the original FEC commissioners.
In 1986, with Commissioner Harris retiring, President Reagan appointed Mr. Thomas to the remainder of a six-year term. He was reappointed in 1991 by President Bush, and reappointed again by President Clinton in 1997.
Commissioner Thomas served as FEC Chairman in 1987, 1993, and 1999. He served as Vice Chairman and Finance Committee Chair in 1992 and 1998. He also has served on the Regulations Committee, the Litigation Committee, and the Commission Operations Review Committee. He has focused over the years on improving the enforcement process through the Enforcement Priority System and adequate staffing, restricting the use of ‘soft money’ through the Commission’s allocation regulations, and streamlining Commission audit, reports analysis, and disclosure procedures.
Commissioner Thomas hails from Wyoming where he graduated from Lander Valley High School in 1970. He received a degree in political science from Stanford University in 1974, and graduated from Georgetown University Law Center in 1977.