The Federal Election Commission was established in 1975 to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act. That statute limits the sources and amounts of contributions used to finance federal elections and requires public disclosure of the funds raised and spent.

To mark the agency's 40th anniversary, the Commission has created this interactive timeline that highlights some of the key developments in the agency's history. Click on the entries that interest you to reveal additional information, including links to related documents and media. To see details for every entry, click the "expand all" button below. If you're interested in a particular category of entries, select the appropriate filter from the list below.

Additional information about the Commission is available on our FEC Mission and History page. If you have questions, please contact the FEC by phone at 800-424-9530 or by email at info@fec.gov.

Filter by:

Back to top
FEC Connect On Demand logo twitter logo

Complete FEC Timeline

+ expand all

1971

Revenue Act of 1971 December 10, 1971

Title VIII, Sec. 802 of the Revenue Act of 1971 (Pub. L. No. 92-178) provided for the establishment of public funding for presidential candidates who agreed to abide by spending limits. The new law allowed citizens to check a box on their tax forms authorizing the federal government to use tax dollars to finance Presidential campaigns in the general election. It did not apply to the 1972 election.

1972

Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 February 7, 1972

The 1971 Act (Pub. L. No. 92-225) required full reporting of campaign funds raised and spent, and provided legal framework for establishment of separate segregated funds by corporations and labor organizations. It also set expenditure limits on media advertising and set limitations on spending from a candidate's personal funds (both later removed).

1974

Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974 October 15, 1974
Original Public Law Number 93-443

The 1974 Amendments to the Act (Pub. L. No. 93-443) established contribution and expenditure limits for federal candidates and other political committees. It also formally established the FEC and enumerated its responsibilities and duties, which included jurisdiction in civil enforcement matters, authority to write regulations, and responsibility for monitoring compliance. The amendments also made changes to the Presidential public funding program, allowing for primary candidates to receive funds and for presidential nominating conventions hosted by political parties to receive funds (Note that the convention funding provision was terminated by the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act in 2014).

1975

FEC Opens Its Doors April 14, 1975
Original FEC building, 1325 K Street, N.W.

Original FEC building, 1325 K Street, N.W.

From 1975-1986, the FEC was located at 1325 K Street, N.W. in Washington, DC.

First Commissioners Sworn in at White House Ceremony April 14, 1975
(L to R) President Gerald R. Ford, Commissioners Thomas B. Curtis, Joan D. Aikens, Vernon W. Thomson, Thomas E. Harris, Neil O. Staebler, and Robert O. Tiernan

(L to R) President Gerald R. Ford, Commissioners Thomas B. Curtis, Joan D. Aikens, Vernon W. Thomson,
Thomas E. Harris, Neil O. Staebler, and Robert O. Tiernan

First Commissioners sworn in at White House ceremony. The Commissioners held their first meeting later that day.

Thomas B. Curtis (R) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - May 21, 1976
Commissioner Thomas B. Curtis

Commissioner Thomas B. Curtis

Commissioner Thomas B. Curtis was the first FEC Chairman. A Republican from Missouri, Mr. Curtis served in the House from 1951-69. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Senate against Democrat Thomas F. Eagleton in 1968 and 1974. A former vice president and general counsel for the "Encyclopedia Britannica," Curtis chaired the Federal Rent Advisory Board (1971-73), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (1972-73) and the Twentieth Century Fund's Task Force on Financing Congressional Campaigns (1970). He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1932 and received his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1935. He was originally appointed for six years.

Neil O. Staebler (D) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - October 25, 1978
Commissioner Neil O. Staebler

Commissioner Neil O. Staebler

Commissioner Neil O. Staebler was the Commission's first Vice Chairman. Mr. Staebler was formerly chairman of the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee (1950-61), a member of the National Democratic Committee (1965-68 and 1972-75), a one-term Member of the House (1963-65) and a gubernatorial candidate in 1964 against former Governor George W. Romney. He served on President Kennedy's Commission on Campaign Financing in 1961 and was vice chairman of the 1970 Twentieth Century Task Force on Financing Congressional Campaigns.

Mr. Staebler graduated from the University of Michigan in 1926. Originally appointed to the Commission for three years in 1975, he was reappointed upon reconstitution for a one-year term. Although Commissioner Staebler's term expired on April 30, 1977, he continued to serve actively on the Commission until the "recess appointment" of Commissioner John W. McGarry on October 25, 1978.

Vernon W. Thomson (R) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - July 31, 1979
Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson

Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson

Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson, the Commission's second chairman, was a Republican Member of Congress from Wisconsin from 1961-75. Before that, he was his state's Governor (1957-59), Attorney General (1951-57) and a member of the state legislature (1935-49). He holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and is a graduate of its law school. He was originally appointed for five years and for three years when the Commission was reconstituted.

Robert O. Tiernan (R) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - December 17, 1981
Commissioner Robert O. Tiernan

Commissioner Robert O. Tiernan

Commissioner Robert O. Tiernan was appointed to the Commission on April 14, 1975. Previously, he served as a Democratic Member of Congress from Rhode Island for eight years. He had also served as a state legislator for seven years.

An attorney, Mr. Tiernan graduated from Providence College and Catholic University Law School and was admitted to practice in all federal courts, the State of Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. He also held various national and state party positions. He was one of the six original Commissioners appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975.

Thomas E. Harris (D) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - October 14, 1986
Commissioner Thomas E. Harris

Commissioner Thomas E. Harris

Commissioner Thomas E. Harris, was associate general counsel to the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC, from 1955-75. He had held the same position with the CIO from 1948 until it merged with the AFL in 1955. Prior to that he was an attorney in private practice and with various government agencies. A native of Little Rock and a 1932 graduate of the University of Arkansas, Mr. Harris is a 1935 graduate of Columbia University Law School, where he was on the Law Review and was a Kent Scholar. After graduation, he clerked one year for Supreme Court Justice Harlan F. Stone. He was originally appointed for four years and upon reconstitution received a three-year appointment.

Joan D. Aikens (R) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - September 18, 1998
Commissioner Joan D. Aikens

Commissioner Joan D. Aikens

Commissioner Joan D. Aikens, a Republican, was first appointed to the Commission in March 1975. Following the reconstitution of the FEC that resulted from the Supreme Court's Buckley v. Valeo decision, President Ford reappointed her to a five-year term. She served as FEC Chair between May 1978 and May 1979. In 1983, President Reagan reappointed Mrs. Aikens, this time for a six-year term. She was reappointed by President Bush in 1989. Mrs. Aikens served as FEC Chair between May 1978 and May 1979, and again in 1986, 1992 and 1998.

Before serving on the Commission, Mrs. Aikens was Vice President of Lew Hodges/Communications, a public relations firm located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. From 1972 until 1974, she was president of the Pennsylvania Council of Republican Women and served on the board of directors of the National Federation of Republican Women. She served as Alternate Delegate-at-Large to the 1972 Republican National Convention and, at the time of her appointment to the Commission, she was a member of the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee. She was also active in a variety of other volunteer organizations. A native of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Mrs. Aikens received her B.A. and honorary Doctor of Law degree from Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA.

In this video clip from 1991, Commissioner Aikens offers a concise description of the FEC's mission.

Orlando B. Potter Serves as Staff Director April 23, 1975 - July 4, 1980

Before joining the Commission, Orlando Potter was consultant to the Secretary of the U.S. Senate in the administration of campaign disclosure laws. Prior to that he was legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, and in 1968 was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from New York. Mr. Potter previously was a Washington correspondent and editorial writer for the Providence (R.I.) Journal Bulletin. A 1950 graduate of Hamilton College, Mr. Potter also holds a Masters Degree from Yale University. He received a congressional staff fellowship from the American Political Science Association in 1970, and did graduate work in computer science at American University.

John G. Murphy, Jr. Serves as General Counsel May 1, 1975 - December, 1976
John G. Murphy Jr.

John G. Murphy Jr.

John G. Murphy, Jr. came to the Commission from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he is a tenured professor specializing in constitutional law. While on leave from Georgetown, Mr. Murphy advised the Faculty of Law of the Lebanese National University in Beirut for the Ford Foundation. Earlier he served as a consultant to OEO and HEW on developing legal services programs. The General Counsel graduated from Harvard in 1958 and from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1961. He served as editor of the Georgetown Law Journal and, later, as law clerk to the then U.S. District Court of Appeals judge Warren E. Burger.

Public Records Division Opens June 2, 1975
Original FEC Public Records Office, c. 1977

Original FEC Public Records Office, c. 1977

Now known as the Public Disclosure Division, this office maintains the financial records submitted by candidates and committees and makes them available to the public. It was the first Commission office to be fully staffed and operative.

Commission Issues First Notice of Proposed Rulemaking June 2, 1975

The newly created Federal Election Commission issued its very first Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - a set of proposed regulations upon which the public may comment - to implement the 1974 amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act.

FEC Disclosure Regulations Sent to Congress July 1, 1975 - December 4, 1975

The proposed regulations cover the organizational and disclosure provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended in 1974, including: definitions; candidate status; political committee organization and registration; campaign finance recordkeeping and reporting; political party convention finance reports; and filing requirements with state officers.

New Hampshire Special Election is First to Require Disclosure Reports August 20, 1975 - September 16, 1975

The FEC issued an "Interim Guideline" which stated that the provisions of the 1974 Campaign Finance Act would apply to the special Senate election. The "Interim Guideline" also set forth procedures for candidates and political committees to follow to comply with the financial disclosure requirements and the contribution and expenditure limits of the new law.

FEC Stores Public Documents on Microfilm Fall 1975
FEC staff inspect microfilm, c. 1976

FEC staff inspect microfilm, c. 1976

The Commission chose to use microfilm as its primary system for storing and retrieving records.

National Parties Certified November 13, 1975

Both major parties were certified as eligible to receive public funds for their presidential nominating conventions.

First Candidates Certified for Matching Funds December 18, 1975

Terry Sanford, Gerald Ford and Lloyd Bentsen became the first candidates certified to the Secretary of the Treasury for primary matching funds.

1976

First Mandatory Audits of Presidential Campaigns January 1, 1976

1976 marked the first year in which the FEC conducted mandatory audits of publicly funded Presidential campaigns.

FEC Begins Its Regional Seminar Series January 6, 1976
FEC Regional Conference in Austin TX, 1980 (L to R) Commissioner John Warren McGarry, Chairman Robert Tiernan, Judith Corley, Comissioner. Joan Aikens, Comissioner. Frank Reiche)

FEC Regional Conference in Austin TX, 1980 (L to R) Commissioner John Warren McGarry,
Chairman Robert Tiernan, Judith Corley, Commissioner Joan Aikens, Commissioner Frank Reiche

The Commission announced it would hold a series of "Regional Seminars" around the country to explain the new Federal Campaign Finance Laws to candidates and political committees. The agency continues to hold regional conferences today, supplemented by webinars, e-learing videos and other educational outreach programs.

The Commission Opens "Storefront" Public Records Office January 14, 1976
Original FEC Public Records Office, November 1976

Original FEC Public Records Office, November 1976

A "storefront" Public Records office was opened on the ground floor of the FEC building in Washington, DC to facilitate public inspection and copying of disclosure reports.

Buckley v. Valeo January 30, 1976

The Supreme Court upheld contribution limits as safeguards to the integrity of government by preventing the reality and appearance of corruption of federal officials. The Court also upheld the Act's disclosure regime. However, it overturned most limits on expenditures as limits on First Amendment freedoms. The Court also overturned the Act's provisions on the appointment of Commissioners, holding that the Constitution permitted only the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint Commissioners. The Court suspended many of the Commission's functions until Commissioners were reappointed by the President pursuant to the FECA Amendments of 1976.

Commission Implements a Computer-Based Information System Spring 1976
The FEC's first computer network, c. 1976

The FEC's first computer network, c. 1976

A computer system was designed and implemented for storing and compiling data from campaign disclosure reports. Six indexes and compilations of campaign finance data were made available prior to the 1976 general election.

FEC's Executive Powers Temporarily Suspended March 22 - May 21, 1976

As a result of the Supreme Court's decision in Buckley v. Valeo, the Commission's executive powers were suspended from March 22, 1976, until President Ford reappointed the Commissioners on May 21, 1976.

FEC Publishes First Annual Report March 31, 1976

The Commission issued its first Annual Report to Congress and the President, as required by FECA.

Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1976 May 11, 1976

The 1976 Amendments (Pub. L. No. 94-283) changed how FEC Commissioners were appointed (to the present-day system where appointment now requires nomination by the President and confirmation by the Senate), repealed campaign expenditure limits (declared unconstitutional by Buckley v. Valeo) and established rules for conducting solicitations of voluntary contributions to corporate and union SSFs.

Justice Brennan Delivers Oath to FEC Commissioners after Reconstitution May 12, 1976
(L to R) Associate Justice William J. Brennan Jr., Robert O. Tiernan, Neil O. Staebler, Thomas E. Harris, William L. Springer, Joan D. Aikens, President Gerald R. Ford

(L to R) Associate Justice William J. Brennan Jr., Robert O. Tiernan, Neil O. Staebler, Thomas E. Harris, William L. Springer, Joan D. Aikens, President Gerald R. Ford

President Gerald R. Ford delivered the following remarks at the White House ceremony:

"I think this is a very good day for the country and for the political process that we're going through at the present time. At long, long last, after many regrettable delays, we are finally putting the Federal Election Commission back into business.

The significance of today, however, is that once again we have a watchdog to ensure that the election process proceeds as fairly and as honestly as possible in full accord with the law.

By their actions, the members of this Commission whom we are swearing in today can do a great deal to build and to restore public trust in the political process. This is one of the greatest contributions that anyone can make in public life in America.

So, all of us wish you the very best and wish you well as you begin your work once again."

Citation: Gerald R. Ford: "Remarks at the Swearing In of the Six Members of the Federal Election Commission.," May 21, 1976. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=6023.

William L. Springer (R) Serves as Commissioner May 21, 1976 - February, 1979
Commissioner William L. Springer

Commissioner William L. Springer

Commissioner William L. Springer served as State's Attorney of Champaign County, Illinois, 1940 to 1942. After military service in the Navy, he returned to Champaign, Illinois, and served as County Judge from 1946 to 1950. In 1950 he was elected to the 82nd Congress and was reelected to each succeeding Congress from the 22nd Congressional District of Illinois until his retirement at the close of the 92nd Congress. President Nixon appointed him to be a Commissioner of the Federal Power Commission in 1973. He resigned in December 1975 and was appointed to the FEC by President Ford in 1976. Mr. Springer is a graduate of DePauw University and the University of Illinois Law School. He received LL.D. degrees from Millikin University in 1953, Lincoln College in 1966, and DePauw University in 1972.

First Candidates Certified for General Election Grant July 20, 1976

The Democratic Party nominees for President and Vice President, Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, were certified eligible for Presidential Election Campaign Fund payments. The Republican nominees, Gerald Ford and Robert Dole, were certified on August 24. Each campaign received $21.82 million in public funds for the general election campaign.

FEC Publishes First Record Newsletter and Campaign Guide Series September 1, 1976
Campaign Guide Series

FEC Record and Campaign Guide Series

The Commission published its first Record newsletter and a six-part Campaign Guide series to help candidates and committees comply with the Federal Election Campaign Act. Over time, the Record and Campaign Guide series evolved into the comprehensive set of print and online publications that are available today.

The Commission Issues First Disclosure Series Report September 21, 1976

The Commission issued the first report in the FEC Disclosure Series: Presidential Pre-Nomination Receipts and Expenditures, 1976 Campaign. This series was a precursor to the Reports on Financial Activity Series.

Commission Releases First Public Funding Audit Report October 14, 1976

The Commission released its first audit report, covering the Sanford for President Committee. The report is the first statutory audit to be completed on a Presidential committee receiving matching funds.

1977

Data Systems Development Division Established January 1, 1977

The Commission established its Data Systems Development Division to manage the agency's information technology.

William C. Oldaker Serves as General Counsel January 1, 1977 - October 1, 1979

William C. Oldaker began serving as General Counsel on January 1, 1977, after being Assistant General Counsel. for Compliance and Litigation since 1975. Holding B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Iowa, he also attended the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. Prior to coming to the Commission, Mr. Oldaker served with the Federal Communications Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Following its Reconstitution, the Commission Transmits and then Re-Transmits Regulations Implementing FECA to Congress January 11, 1977

After its reconstitution on May 21, 1976, the Commission re-published its draft regulations for public comment on May 26. It held hearings in June 1976 on those regulations and submitted final rules to Congress on August 3, 1976. Congress adjourned before the rules had been pending for 30 legislative days, however, meaning that the rules were not promulgated. The Commission voted to make two minor changes and resubmitted the rules to Congress on January 11, 1977.

Commission Establishes Office of Planning and Management January 17, 1977

The Commission established its Office of Planning and Management to manage the agency's budget.

First Set of Comprehensive Regulations Implementing FECA Take Effect April 13, 1977
1977 Code of Federal Regulations, cover

1977 Code of Federal Regulations, cover

The regulations that the Commission had been working on since 1975 finally pended before Congress for 30 legislative days on March 29, 1977; thereby enabling the Commission to promulgate them effective as of April 13, 1977.

1978

Commission Establishes Reports Analysis Division January 1, 1978

The Reports Analysis Division assigns teams of analysts to review reports submitted by filers for accuracy and completeness. If a report is inaccurate or incomplete, the Commission may send the filer a Request for Additional Information (RFAI). An adequate response to the RFAI is processed as any other report. Failing to respond or responding inadequately may be handled as an enforcement case.

Reports of Financial Activity Series Debuts April 9, 1978
FEC staff printing financial activity report, 1982

FEC staff printing financial activity report, 1982

Reports on Financial Activity was a statistical series of reports that provided a comprehensive study of campaign finance activity by candidates, party committees and nonparty committees in a timely manner.

John Warren McGarry (D) Serves as Commissioner October 25, 1978 - August 11, 1998
Commissioner John Warren McGarry

Commissioner John Warren McGarry

Commissioner John Warren McGarry was appointed to the FEC under the "recess appointment" clause of the U.S. Constitution on October 25, 1978. He was reappointed in 1983 and 1989. He served as FEC Chairman in 1981, 1985, 1991 and 1997. Before his Commission appointment, Commissioner McGarry served as special counsel on elections to the House Administration Committee. He previously combined private law practice with service as chief counsel to the House Special Committee to Investigate Campaign Expenditures, a special committee established by Congress every election year through 1972. Before his work with Congress, Commissioner McGarry was the Massachusetts assistant attorney general. After graduating cum laude from Holy Cross College, Commissioner McGarry did graduate work at Boston University and earned a J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law School.

1979

Max L. Friedersdorf (R) Serves as Commissioner March 1, 1979 to December 16, 1980
Commissioner Max L. Friedersdorf

Commissioner Max L. Friedersdorf

Commissioner Max L. Friedersdorf, served as Staff Director of the Senate Republican Policy Committee from January 1977 until his appointment to the Commission in February 1979. A native of Indiana, Mr. Friedersdorf received his B.A. from Franklin College in 1952 and earned an M.A. from American University in 1970. He pursued a journalism career in Indiana before serving as administrative assistant and press secretary for former Congressman Richard L. Roudebush (R-Ind.) from 1961 to 1970. In 1970, he was Director of Congressional Relations for the Office of Economic Opportunity. From 1971 to 1977, Mr. Friedersdorf served in several White House posts. He was Deputy Assistant for Congressional Affairs to President Nixon from 1971 to 1974. He continued as Deputy Assistant to President Ford until 1975, when he became the President's Assistant for Legislative Affairs.

Personal Financial Disclosure Statements of all Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates are Made Available April 26, 1979

Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates must file Ethics in Government Act reports disclosing personal financial information. These reports are filed with the Commission within 30 days of becoming a candidate, under the election law, and on or before May 15 of each successive year in which the individual continues to be a candidate.

Commission Approves New Data Entry Procedures for 1980 Presidential Elections April 26, 1979
FEC staff scanning compliance forms, 1982

FEC staff scanning compliance forms, 1982

Data coding and entry of information contained in Presidential reports was expanded to include all summary information on campaign receipts and expenditures (including receipt of public funds), information on exempt fundraising expenses, legal and accounting disbursements, and all information on expenditures of public funds in primary campaigns on a State-by-State basis. This new database could provide such up-to-date information on matching fund requests as total contributions submitted for matching funds (by each candidate and a summary figure for all candidates) and total certifications made by the Commission.

Commission Certifies Initial Payment for the Republican National Committee's 1980 National Convention June 28, 1979

On June 28, 1979, after adopting procedures for the certification of public funds for national party committee nominating conventions, the Commission certifies to the U.S. Treasury an initial payment of $750,000 for the Republican National Committee's 1980 national nominating convention.

Frank P. Reiche (R) Serves as Commissioner July 31, 1979 to August 9, 1985
Commissioner Frank P. Reiche

Commissioner Frank P. Reiche

On July 31, 1979, Commissioner Frank P. Reiche of Princeton, New Jersey, was sworn into office as an FEC Commissioner by Supreme Court Justice William R. Rehnquist. The ceremony took place at the FEC. Mr. Reiche replaced Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson whose term had expired.

Mr. Reiche was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He received his A.B. from Williams College in 1951 and an M.A. in Foreign Affairs from George Washington University in 1959. An attorney specializing in taxation, Mr. Reiche graduated from Columbia Law School in 1959, and received a Master of Laws degree in Taxation from New York University in 1966. Mr. Reiche was with the Princeton firm of Smith, Stratton, Wise and Heher from 1962 until his appointment to the Commission.

Mr. Reiche was a member of New Jersey Governor William T. Cahill's Tax Policy Committee from 1970 to 1972. Governor Cahill appointed Mr. Reiche Chairman of the first New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission in 1973; he was reappointed as Chairman by Governor Brendan Byrne in 1975. The Commission is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the New Jersey campaign finance disclosure act. Prior to that, Mr. Reiche served in a variety of Republican party positions, including eight years as a Republican county committeeman.

Commission Certifies Initial Payment for the Democratic National Committee's 1980 National Convention August 16, 1979

On August 16, 1979, the Commission certifies to the U.S. Treasury an initial payment of $300,000 for the Democratic National Committee's 1980 national nominating convention.

Information Submitted by Presidential Candidates Seeking Eligibility for Primary Matching Funds is Made Available to the Public September 6, 1979

In addition to the reports filed by Presidential candidates on their campaign finance activity, the Public Records Office released lists of contributions (alphabetized by contributor) for which Presidential candidates had requested matching payments.

Charles N. Steele Serves as General Counsel December 6, 1979 - March 1, 1987
Charles N. Steele, 1982

Charles N. Steele, 1982

Mr. Steele became General Counsel in December 1979, after serving as Acting General Counsel during November of that year and as Associate General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation between April 1977 and October 1979. He received a B.A. from Harvard College in 1960 and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1965. Before joining the Commission in 1976, Mr. Steele was a staff attorney with the appellate court branch of the National Labor Relations Board.

Commission Reduces Fees December 13, 1979

The Commission adopted a policy that reduced fees for information made available to the public in the FEC's Public Records Office. The policy also addressed the availability of standard computer indexes. The Data Systems Development Division would also make available at cost computer tapes on statistical information contained in the Reports on Financial Activity series.

Commission Sends to Congress the First Comprehensive Revision of Presidential Public Funding Regulations December 31, 1979

Following its experiences with administering the public funding of the 1976 Presidential election, the Commission went to work to revise its public funding regulations for the 1980 elections. The revisions included proposed regulations concerning matching funds for Presidential primary candidates. The Commission sent three sets of public funding regulations to Congress in 1979.

1980

Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1979 January 8, 1980

The 1979 amendments (Pub. L. No. 96-187) included several modifications. Changes included simplified reporting requirements of federal committees, expanded grassroots opportunities for state and local party committees (by creating what are today known as "exempt party activities") and prohibited personal use of candidate campaign committee funds.

FEC Establishes New Procedures for Special Election Reports January 31, 1980

The 1979 Amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act required the Commission to establish filing dates for reports within five days of the setting of the date for a special election. The Commission was also now required to publish the dates and notify the principal campaign committees of all candidates involved in the special election of those reporting dates.

Commission Certifies Remainder of Entitlements to Finance 1980 National Party Conventions February 13 and 24, 1980

On February 13, 1980, the Commission certifies the remainder of the Democratic National Committee's full entitlement of $4,416,000 to finance the 1980 Democratic national convention. On February 24, 1980, the Commission certifies the remainder of the Republican National Committee's full entitlement of $4,416,000 to finance the 1980 Republican national convention.

Commission Redesigns Reporting Forms to Implement the 1979 Amendments April 1, 1980

The Commission redesigned the reporting forms to implement the 1979 FECA Amendments and to make the forms easier for committees to use. For the first time, the final forms included line-by-line instructions.

Congress Disapproves Regulations Regarding Candidate Debates; FEC Resubmits along with Additional Regulations Implementing the 1979 FECA Amendments April 1, 1980

FEC regulations are transmitted to Congress where they must pend for 30 legislative days before going into effect (and at the time these regulations were pending, Congress also could have "disapproved" them; the Supreme Court later ruled this practice to be unconstitutional). In the case of 1979 regulations that set out rules governing the conduct of candidate debates, Congress disapproved the Commission's initial regulations; however, a second revised submission went into effect on April 1, 1980. The Commission also transmitted regulations that implemented the 1979 amendments to the FECA. Both sets of regulations took effect April 1, 1980.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act April 14, 1980

On April 14, 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously affirms two lower court decisions upholding the constitutionality of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act challenged by the Republican National Committee in RNC v FEC, 445 U.S. 955 (1980).

Commission's Revised FOIA Regulations and New Regulations Governing Access to Public Records Take Effect June 12, 1980

The Commission's revised regulations on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) became effective, as did new regulations governing public access to Commission documents. The regulations set out uniform procedures and fees for providing documents to the public both under FOIA and pursuant to the Commission's public disclosure duties.

Commission Introduces New Computer Indexes on Independent Expenditures July 14, 1980

In response to the growing interest in independent expenditures activity, the Commission created three new indexing programs. The first index listed independent expenditures by the committees or person who made them, indicating the candidates they supported or opposed and the total amounts they spend, per candidate. The second index gave the particulars of each independent expenditure as well as the summary information provided by the first index. The third index, a revision of one used in 1979, listed independent expenditures by candidate, providing the details of each expenditure made for or against a candidate.

Commission Certifies Public Funds to 1980 Major Party General Election Presidential Campaigns July 24 and August 21, 1980

The Commission certifies $29.44 million in public funds each to the general election campaigns of Republican Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan and his running mate, George Bush (on July 24, 1980), and of Democratic Presidential nominee Jimmy Carter and his running mate, Walter Mondale (on August 21, 1980).

Commission Adopts New Procedures for Approving Computerized Forms September 2, 1980

The Commission authorized the Report Analysis Division to approve computerized formats used by committees to itemize their receipts and disbursements.

B. Allen Clutter, III Serves as Staff Director September 15, 1980 - May 15, 1983
B. Allen Clutter III, 1982

B. Allen Clutter III, 1982

Before joining the Commission, B. Allen Clutter, III was the executive director of the Minnesota Ethical Practices Board and also served as faculty member of the Hamline University Law School. Prior to this, Mr. Clutter was an assistant professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy and served with the Air Force administrative units in Thailand and California. He also worked with the World Press Institute of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. A native of Oskaloosa, Iowa, he received a graduate degree in geography from Eastern Michigan University and attended business administration courses at the University of Colorado. Mr. Clutter was listed among the Outstanding Young Men in America in 1978.

Commission Certifies Public Funds to 1980 New Party Candidate November 13, 1980

On November 13, 1980, the Commission certifies $4,164,906 in public funds to the general election campaign of new party Presidential candidate John Anderson and his running mate, Patrick Lucey.

1981

Vernon W. Thomson (R) Serves Interim Appointment as Commissioner January 2, 1981 - December 17, 1981
Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson

Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson

Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson, the Commission's second chairman, was a Republican Member of Congress from Wisconsin from 1961-75. Before that, he was his State's Governor (1957-59), Attorney General (1951-57) and a member of the State legislature (1935-49). He earned a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and graduated from its law school. He was originally appointed for five years and for three years when the Commission was reconstituted.

Commission Certifies Additional Funds to New Party Candidate for 1980 Campaign January 8, 1981

On January 8, 1981, the Commission certifies an additional $77,398 in public funds for the general election campaign of new party Presidential nominee John Anderson and his running mate, Patrick Lucey.

FEC Adds Consolidated Index of Documents February 1, 1981

The Commission announced the availability of a card index that consolidates information on Commission advisory opinions, completed compliance cases and completed audits.

Computer Tapes Summarize 1977-78 Campaign Finance Information March 1, 1981

The Commission made available computer tapes containing final information on 1977-78 campaign finances of party and nonparty (noncandidate) committees.

Microfilmed Audit Reports Made Available March 1, 1981

The Commission made available for public view and purchase microfilm cartridges of audit reports issued between 1975 and 1980.

California Medical Association v. FEC June 26, 1981

The Supreme Court held that the annual limit on contributions to multicandidate political committees (or PACs) did not violate the First Amendment or the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, even though it placed some restrictions on unincorporated associations that were not placed on corporations and labor unions.

FEC v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee November 10, 1981

In reviewing the Commission's dismissal of an administrative complaint, the Supreme Court found that deference was owed to the Commission in that context and held that the FEC's interpretation of the Act to permit a state party committee to enter into an agency agreement with a national senatorial committee was sufficiently reasonable to survive judicial review.

Press Office Relocates to be Near Public Records Office December 1, 1981

The Press Office relocated to the first floor, across from the Public Records Office. The move was designed to help reporters coordinate their research in the two offices and provide easier access to FEC press spokespersons.

Lee Ann Elliott (R) Serves as Commissioner December 17, 1981 - June 1, 2000
Commissioner Lee Ann Elliott

Commissioner Lee Ann Elliott

Commissioner Lee Ann Elliott was first appointed in 1981 and reappointed in 1987 and 1994. She served as Chairman in 1984, 1990 and 1996. Before her first appointment, Commissioner Elliott was vice president of a political consulting firm, Bishop, Bryant & Associates, Inc. From 1961 to 1979, she was an executive of the American Medical Political Action Committee. Commissioner Elliott was on the board of directors of the American Association of Political Consultants and on the board of the Chicago Area Public Affairs Group, of which she is a past president. She was also a member of the Public Affairs Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In 1979, she received the Award for Excellence in Serving Corporate Public Affairs from the National Association of Manufacturers.

A native of St. Louis, Commissioner Elliott graduated from the University of Illinois. She is a Certified Association Executive, an author, lecturer, educator and patent holder.

Danny L. McDonald (D) Serves as Commissioner December 17, 1981 - January 4, 2006
Commissioner Danny L. McDonald

Commissioner Danny L. McDonald

Commissioner Danny L. McDonald, a Democrat, originally was nominated to the Commission by President Ronald Reagan in December 1981, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July 1982. He served as FEC Chairman in 1983, 1989, 1995, and 2001.

Prior to his initial appointment in 1981, the Sand Springs, Oklahoma, native served as General Administrator of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Additionally, he served as Secretary of the Tulsa County Election Board and as Chief Clerk of that Board. He was also a member of the Advisory Panel to the FEC's National Clearinghouse on Election Administration. Commissioner McDonald received a B. A. Degree from Oklahoma State University and attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has served as a member of the JFK School Advisory Board for State and Local Government.

1982

Microfilmed Agenda Items Made Available January 4, 1982
FEC staff at microfilm reader, 1979

FEC staff at microfilm reader, 1979

The Commission microfilmed all agenda items discussed in open Commission meetings from 1975 through 1980 and developed a computerized index to help locate the documents. This process facilitated both public and staff access to Commission agenda items.

Bread Political Action Committee v. FEC March 8, 1982

The Supreme Court held that trade associations and political committees, which were not among the three categories of parties listed in 52 U.S.C. § 30110 (then 2 U.S.C. § 437h), could not invoke that provision's special procedure for judicial review of constitutional claims.

FEC v. National Right to Work Committee December 13, 1982

The Supreme Court held that the persons a corporation solicited to contribute to its separate segregated fund were insufficiently attached to the corporation to qualify as members under 52 U.S.C. § 30118(b)(4)(C) (then 2 U.S.C. § 441b(b)(4)(C)), and that any burden on First Amendment associational rights this interpretation of the Act caused was outweighed by the interests Congress sought to protect in limiting such activity.

1983

FEC Introduces Matter Under Review (MUR) Index June 6, 1983

The Commission introduced a computerized FEC MUR Index, which presented information on publicly released enforcement cases.

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 1984 Presidential Nominating Conventions June 23, 1983

The Commission certifies $5,871,000 in public funds to both the Republican and Democratic parties for their 1984 national Presidential conventions.

John C. Surina Serves as Staff Director July 25, 1983 - July 31, 1998
John C. Surina, Staff Director

John C. Surina, Staff Director

Before joining the Commission in July 1983, John C. Surina was assistant managing director of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), where he was detailed to the "Reform 88" program at the Office of Management and Budget. In that role, he worked on projects to reform administrative management within the federal government. From 1973 to 1980, Mr. Surina served the ICC in other capacities. Between 1972 and 1973 he was an expert consultant to the Office of Control and Operations, EOP-Cost of Living Council-Pay Board. He was previously on the technical staff of the Computer Sciences Corporation. Mr. Surina joined the U.S. Army in 1966, completing his service in 1970 as executive officer of the Special Security Office. In that position, he supported senior U.S. delegates to NATO's civil headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Mr. Surina holds a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He also attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, and American University in Washington, DC

Presidential Computer Index Debuts November 4, 1983

The Commission introduced a new computer index that provided a concise summary of the financial activity of major Presidential campaigns. The 1984 Presidential Campaign Summary Report was designed to extract information from reports filed by Presidential campaigns and to adjust numbers to reflect actual amounts raised and spent.

1984

FEC Begins Monday Afternoon Clinics March 5, 1984

The Commission began hosting Monday afternoon clinics to assist committees.

Program Providing State Access to Data Begins March 6, 1983 - March 7, 1984

Six State election offices joined the Commission in a 1984 pilot project to broaden the accessibility of computerized campaign finance information. The primary objective was to give those located outside Washington, DC, immediate access to several FEC computer indexes. The State offices had a computer terminal linked to the FEC computer through a national telecommunications system.

Commission Certifies Additional Public Funds for Major Party 1984 Presidential Nominating Conventions July 12, 1984

The Commission certifies an additional $2.020 million in public funds to both the Republican and Democratic parties for their 1984 national Presidential conventions, bringing each party's grant to $8.080 million.

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 1984 General Election Campaigns July 26 and August 27, 1984

The Commission certifies $40.4 million in public funds each for the general election campaigns of Democratic Presidential nominee Walter Mondale and his running mate, Geraldine Ferraro (on July 26, 1984) and of Republican Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan and his running mate, George Bush (on August 27, 1984).

Commission Revises its Regulations on Access to Information October 19, 1984

The Commission revised regulations that affected the activities of the Press Office, which handled requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the Public Records Office. The new rules updated fees to reflect actual costs of providing documents. The regulations also changed the billing procedures for the sale of FEC microfilm and computer tapes. The amended rules provided that individuals who purchase these materials pay the firm that reproduces them, rather than the FEC. Finally, the revised regulations made clear that the FEC does not charge for staff time devoted to duplicating information to fill FOIA requests.

New Regulations Implement Rehabilitation Act November 2, 1984

The Commission promulgated regulations that provided for programs and auxiliary aids to ensure handicapped persons' access to Commission information and facilities.

1985

FEC v. National Conservative Political Action Committee March 18, 1985

The Supreme Court held that 26 U.S.C. § 9012(f), a provision of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act limiting independent expenditures by political committees to further the election of publicly financed candidates, violated the First Amendment.

FEC Reorganizes Information Services Division April 4, 1985

The Commission divided the Information Services Division into three parts: Information, Press and Clearinghouse.

FEC Publishes Ten Year Report May 1, 1985
The First Ten Years, 1975-1985

The First Ten Years, 1975-1985

The Commission published The First Ten Years, a special report to mark the agency's 10th anniversary. The report reviewed the historical context in which the Commission was formed and described the agency's role in administering the FECA during its first decade.

Testing-the-Waters Regulations Provide Guidance to Potential Candidates July 1, 1985

After a series of early 1980s Advisory Opinions about activities of prospective Presidential candidates, the Commission issued regulations that exempted individuals "testing-the-waters" from having to register as candidates, so long as their activities were limited in scope as defined by the regulations. These rules remain in effect today.

Thomas J. Josefiak (R) Serves as Commissioner August 9, 1985 - January, 1992
Commissioner Thomas J. Josefiak

Commissioner Thomas J. Josefiak

Commissioner Thomas J. Josefiak was appointed to the Commission in 1985 and was the 1988 FEC Chairman. He previously served at the Commission as Special Deputy to the Secretary of the Senate. Before assuming that post in 1981, he was legal counsel to the National Republican Congressional Committee. His past experience also includes positions held at the U.S. House of Representatives. He was minority special counsel for federal election law on the Committee on House Administration, U.S. House of Representatives and served as legislative assistant to the late Congressman Silvio O. Conte.

A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Josefiak graduated from Fairfield University, Connecticut, and earned a J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Direct Computer Access (Direct Access Program) Debuts September 10, 1985

The Commission inaugurated a subscription service that provided individuals with direct computer access to the FEC campaign finance disclosure base. In addition, users could request raw data, which they could store and then arrange according to their own research needs.

1986

FEC Completes Move to New Headquarters February 18, 1986
FEC Headquarters 999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC

FEC Headquarters 999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC

The Commission completed its move from K Street to a new headquarters building at 999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC on February 18, 1986.

Scott E. Thomas (D) Serves as Commissioner October 7, 1986 - January 4, 2006
Commissioner Scott E. Thomas

Commissioner Scott E. Thomas

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, 1999 and 2005. He 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.

FEC Commissioners Group Photo November 4, 1986
(L to R) Sitting - Vice Chairman John Warren McGarry and Chairwoman Joan D. Aikens. Standing - Senate Ex Officio Scott Morgan, Commissioners Danny L. McDonald, Lee Ann Elliott, Scott E. Thomas, Thomas J. Josefiak and House Ex-Officio Douglas Patton

(L to R) Sitting - Vice Chairman John Warren McGarry and Chairwoman Joan D. Aikens. Standing - Senate Ex Officio Scott Morgan, Commissioners Danny L. McDonald, Lee Ann Elliott, Scott E. Thomas, Thomas J. Josefiak and House Ex-Officio Douglas Patton

Massachusetts Citizens for Life (MCFL) v. FEC December 15, 1986

The Supreme Court ruled that prohibitions on corporate expenditures were unconstitutional as applied to independent expenditures made by a narrowly defined type of nonprofit corporation.

Budget Cuts Reduce Accessibility of Computerized Campaign Finance Data January 30, 1986 - December 31, 1986

As a result of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act and a cut in personnel funds, the Commission sustained a loss of $858,000 from its fiscal year 1986 funding. The largest cuts ($250,000) were borne by the computerized disclosure program, resulting in a reduction in the amount of campaign finance information accessible through the computer. In addition, the Commission's program to provide states with computer access to the FEC's campaign finance database was curtailed. Both were later restored using fiscal year 1987 funds.

1987

FEC Publishes Citizens Guide March 31, 1987
Supporting Federal Candidates, A Guide for Citizens

Citizens Guide

The Commission published Supporting Federal Candidates - A Guide for Citizens to provide the public a brief overview of the FECA's limits, prohibitions and disclosure requirements. The current edition of the Citizens Guide is available on the FEC's website.

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 1988 Presidential Nominating Conventions July 6, 1987

The Commission asked the Secretary of the Treasury to pay $8,892,000 in public funds to both the Republican and Democratic parties to finance their 1988 national Presidential conventions.

Lawrence M. Noble Serves as General Counsel October 6, 1987 - January 1, 2001
Lawrence M. Noble

Lawrence M. Noble

Lawrence M. Noble became General Counsel in 1987, after serving as Acting General Counsel. He joined the Commission in 1977, becoming the Deputy General Counsel in 1983. He previously served as Assistant General Counsel for Litigation and as a litigation attorney. Before his FEC service, he was an attorney with the Aviation Consumers Action Project. A native of New York, Mr. Noble holds a degree in political science from Syracuse University and a J.D. degree from the National Law Center at George Washington University. He is a member of the bars for the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and the District of Columbia. He is also a member of the American and District of Columbia Bar Associations.

1988

Commission Certifies Additional Public Funds for Major Party 1988 Presidential Nominating Conventions March 2, 1988

The Commission certifies an additional $328,000 in public funds to both the Republican and Democratic parties to finance their 1988 national Presidential conventions.

The Commission Offers First Warning on Potential Shortfall March 2, 1988

The Commission offers its first warning on a potential shortfall in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

Commission Adopts New Procedures to Speed Up Enforcement May 12, 1988

The Commission approved a recommendation by the General Counsel's Office to expedite FEC enforcement matters involving violations of the election law's reporting requirements.

FEC Produces Videos for House and Senate Candidates and State Parties August 1, 1988
Why Me Video

The cover of Why Me?, the FEC's
instructional video for candidates.

The Commission produced two videotapes, one for House and Senate campaigns entitled Why Me? and another for state party committees entitled Help. The tapes presented an overview of major statutory provisions and were mailed to all registered House and Senate campaigns and state party committees.

The Commission Certifies Grants to 1988 Presidential General Election Campaigns July 26 and August 22, 1988

The Commission certifies $46.1 million each in public funds to the general election campaigns of Democratic Presidential nominee Michael Dukakis and his running mate, Lloyd Bentsen (on July 26, 1988) and of Republican Presidential nominee Vice President George Bush and his running mate, Dan Quayle (on August 22, 1988).

1989

Office Automation Project Provides Commission Staff with New Equipment January 1, 1989

The Commission replaced its 1970s-vintage word processing equipment with an up-to-date office automation system. Staff used their new desktop terminals to locate data in minutes.

FEC Sends Questionnaires to State Parties February 10, 1989

The Commission sent questionnaires regarding allocation methods to state party chairs.

Commission Warns Congress of Possible Funding Shortfall April 3 and November 1, 1989

Chairman Danny L. McDonald alerts Members of Congress of a projected 1996 deficit in Presidential Election Campaign Fund and consequences to the public funding system in letters sent on April 3, 1989 and November 1, 1989.

FEC Delegation Visits USSR June 4 - 14, 1989

At the invitation of the Central Electoral Commission of the USSR, a 12-person delegation of Commissioners and FEC staff visited the Soviet Union to exchange information and ideas on the electoral process with government officials and academics.

USSR Delegation Visits FEC November 2 - 11, 1989
CEC Chairman Vladimir Orlov and FEC Chairman Danny Lee McDonald

L to R - CEC Chairman Vladimir Orlov, FEC Chairman Danny Lee McDonald

A delegation from the USSR's Central Electoral Commission visited the US to exchange information and ideas on the electoral process with government officials and academics.

1990

Lynne A. McFarland Serves as Inspector General February 9, 1990 - Present
Lynne A. McFarland Inspector General

Lynne A. McFarland Inspector General

Ms. Lynne A. McFarland was appointed by the Federal Election Commission to serve as the agency's first permanent Inspector General on February 9, 1990.

Ms. McFarland was responsible for establishing the Office of Inspector General (OIG) in the Federal Election Commission from the ground up. This required staffing the office with the appropriate skill sets, ensuring the necessary policies and procedures were created, and creating an initial audit/work universe. As with all IGs, she has dual reporting responsibilities to Congress and the head of the agency, in this instance six presidentially appointed Commissioners.

Ms. McFarland has been actively involved in the Inspector General community, serving on the committee that provided the groundwork for the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) operations once the Inspector General Reform Act was passed by Congress and signed by the President. She is a past Vice Chair of the Professional Development Committee and is currently a member of the committee. Ms. McFarland also served as CIGIE Vice Chair from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014.

Ms. McFarland is Chair of the Inspector General Recommendation Panel which receives resumes from those interested in presidentially or agency appointed inspector general positions. The panel reviews the resumes, along with a questionnaire all applicants are asked to complete, and forwards those applicants to the White House Office of Personnel that would appear to be qualified candidates for their consideration. The panel also provides assistance to those agencies that select their own IGs through their competitive process.

Commission Warns of Possible Funding Shortfall for 1992 Presidential Campaigns February 12, 1990

The Commission notifies Congress, the President and the Secretary of the Treasury that the Presidential Election Campaign Fund will likely be insufficient to finance the 1992 campaigns.

Commission Asks Treasury Department to Write Rules to Address Shortfall July 11, 1990

The Commission asks the U.S. Department of the Treasury to write rules to address the looming shortfall in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

1991

Commission Promulgates New Rules on Allocating Spending that Affects Both Federal and Nonfederal Elections January 1, 1991

Originating from a rulemaking petition filed in 1984, the Commission promulgated rules on the allocation of expenditures by party committees and PACs that affect both federal and nonfederal elections. The rules sought to address which expenditures must be paid for with "hard" federal dollars, and which expenditures could be partially funded with "soft" money raised under nonfederal law. During the rulemaking, the Commission issued four notices of proposed rules for comment, conducted two hearings, and asked 110 state party heads and chief national party fundraisers for input. Approved in June 1990, the rules went into effect beginning with the 1992 election cycle, and the Commission undertook extensive outreach efforts to train party committees in the new "allocation" system. BCRA ultimately invalidated many of the allocation regulations promulgated in 1991 that affected political party spending, and the Commission removed those provisions in subsequent rulemakings (see entry under 2003).

FEC Offers Allocation Training to Party Committees January 11, 1991

Commission representatives travelled to several cities to conduct training sessions on new allocation regulations. The training program was designed to help state and local party committees comply with new rules that specified methods for allocating disbursements for activities that jointly benefit federal and nonfederal candidates and elections. Under the new rules, committees that maintained federal and nonfederal accounts would be required to file new reporting schedules disclosing information on allocated activity.

FEC Projects Public Funding Shortfall February 11, 1991

The Commission opened 1991 discussing the possible shortfall in the fund for the 1992 cycle. Commissioners appeared in various media outlets to inform the public about the tax checkoff program.

FEC Launches Public Education Program on Tax Checkoff March 5, 1991

The Commission launched a public education program to teach taxpayers about the purpose of the dollar tax checkoff. This came after years of declining participation. The public information program featured television and radio public service announcements as well as newspaper Op-ed pieces, a brochure, a flyer, and media appearances by the Chair. This phase of the program reached 92 million taxpayers.

Commission Declines to Adopt Proposed Ban on U.S. Subsidiaries of Foreign Corporations Forming PACs June 13, 1991

After a series of Advisory Opinions permitted domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations to establish and administer SSFs (with some restrictions), the Commission considered, but ultimately decided not to adopt, proposed regulations prohibiting such subsidiaries from having SSFs.

Commission Certifies Public Funds to Major Parties for 1992 Nominating Conventions June 28 and July 3, 1991

The Commission certifies the eligibility of the 1992 Democratic National Convention Committee (on June 28, 1991) and the Committee on Arrangements for the 1992 Republican National Convention (on July 3, 1991) to receive $10.6 million each for their Presidential nominating conventions.

1992

Trevor Potter (R) Serves as Commissioner January 1, 1992 - October, 1995
Commissioner Trevor Potter

Commissioner Trevor Potter

Trevor Potter was confirmed by the Senate as a Commissioner in November of 1991. He served as FEC Chairman in 1994.

Before his appointment, Mr. Potter specialized in campaign and election law as a partner in a Washington, DC law firm. His previous experience in government includes serving as Assistant General Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission from 1984 to 1985 and as a Department of Justice attorney from 1982 to 1984.

Mr. Potter graduated from Harvard College. He earned his J.D. degree at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Virginia Journal of International Law and was a member of the order of the Coif. He served as vice chairman of the American Bar Association Committee on Election Law, Administrative Law Section.

Commission Press Conference and Educational Outreach Campaign Regarding Shortfall January 3, 1992

In a press conference, the Commission makes an announcement concerning an educational outreach campaign to alert the public to the shortfall in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. The same day, the Commission introduces checkoff education ads and a special checkoff 800-number.

Chair Aikens Appears on C-Span to Discuss Shortfall in 1992 Presidential Campaign Funding February 24, 1992

Chair Joan D. Aikens appears on a C-Span call-in show to discuss the public funding program and the possible shortfall, as well as the FEC's efforts to get the checkoff raised.

Direct Access Program Expands March 1, 1992

The Direct Access Program, launched in 1985, expanded its offerings to include computer access to advisory opinions and court cases.

Commission Predicts 1996 Shortfall in Press April 3, 1992

In a press conference, the Commission predicts 1996 shortfall in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund unless Congress amends the law. Also on this day, Chair Aikens discusses the tax checkoff on Larry King's nationally-syndicated radio program.

Commission Certifies Public Funds to 1992 General Election Major Party Candidates July 17 and August 21, 1992

The Commission certifies $55.25 million each in public funds to the general election campaigns of Democratic Presidential nominee Bill Clinton and his running mate, Albert Gore, Jr. (on July 17, 1992) and of Republican Presidential nominee George Bush and his running mate Dan Quayle (on August 21, 1992).

FEC Commissioners Group Photo December 3, 1992
(L to R) Sitting - Chairwoman Joan D. Aikens, Vice Chairman Scott E. Thomas. Standing - Commissioners Danny L. McDonald, Trevor Potter, John W. McGarry, Lee Ann Elliott, Senate Ex-Officio David G. Gartner

(L to R) Sitting - Chair Joan D. Aikens, Vice Chairman Scott E. Thomas. Standing - Commissioners Danny L. McDonald, Trevor Potter, John W. McGarry, Lee Ann Elliott, Senate Ex-Officio David G. Gartner

1993

Fax Service Implemented January 1, 1993

The Public Records Office implemented a fax service under which, for example, a subscriber could place a standing order to receive copies of all items on the agenda of a Commission meeting when those documents became public, or copies of all advisory opinions as they were issued.

FEC Publishes Comprehensive Report on Public Funding April 14, 1993 and July 23, 1993
Public Funding Report

Public Funding Report

A comprehensive report published by the FEC on July 23, 1993 (with advance copies released on April 14, 1993) chronicles the history and experiences of Presidential public funding and forecasts a warning for the 1996 shortfall.

Tax Checkoff Increased from $1 to $3 August 10, 1993

President Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which raised the $1 checkoff to a $3 checkoff for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

Congress Amends FECA in the Late 1980s and Early 1990s November 30, 1989 to August 10, 1993

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, several amendments to FECA were enacted, including provisions that:

  • Banned honoraria for federal officeholders (Pub. L. No. 109-90, 1991);
  • Repealed a grandfather clause that had permitted some Members of Congress to convert excess campaign funds to personal use (Pub. L. No. 101-194, 1989);
  • Assigned significant new administrative duties to the Commission under the National Voter Registration Act (Pub. L. No. 104-132, 1993; effective 1/1/1995); and
  • Increased the tax checkoff for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund from $1 to $3 (Pub. L. No. 103-66, 1993).

Commission Announces Enforcement Prioritization System December 13, 1993

At a news conference, Chairman Scott E. Thomas announced implementation of a comprehensive enforcement prioritization system designed to produce timely resolution of significant cases.

1994

Commission Automates Toll-free Line June 10, 1994

The FEC added an automated menu to its toll free information line.

"Flashfax" System August 1, 1994

The Commission introduced its automated Flashfax service. The technology permitted callers to dial a phone number, review a menu of documents and, using a touch-tone phone, place an order for documents to be faxed to them in a return call.

FEC v. NRA Political Victory Fund October 22, 1993 and December 6, 1994

In October 1993, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the composition of the Commission "violates the Constitution's separation of powers" because Congress "placed its agents, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives, on the independent Commission as non-voting ex officio members." In response, the Commission voted to reconstitute itself as a six-member body and as a precaution, voted to ratify its regulations in effect at the time.

In December 1994, the Supreme Court ruled that the Solicitor General must represent the Commission before that Court in FECA cases.

1995

FEC Publishes Twenty Year Report June 15, 1995
Twenty Year Report

Twenty Year Report

To mark its 20th anniversary, the FEC issued a Twenty Year Report. The Report provided a brief historical context, reviewed the agency's administration and enforcement of the law and examined key issues the Commission was debating at the time. The Report concluded with a chapter that offered FEC statistics to supplement the debate over the role of PACs and parties, and the costs of political campaigns.

Commission Certifies Funds for Major Parties' 1996 Presidential Nominating Conventions June 30, 1995

On June 30, 1995, the Commission certified the eligibility of the Democratic National Convention Committee and the Committee on Arrangements for the 1996 Republican National Convention to receive $12.024 million each for their 1996 Presidential nominating conventions.

Pilot Program for Electronic Filing Begins July 26, 1995

The FEC invited selected PACs, party committees and candidate committees to participate in a voluntary pilot program for electronic filing. Committees were selected on the basis of their proximity to the FEC and the complexity of their reports.

Commission Issues Regulations on Independent Expenditures by Non-Profit Corporations October 5, 1995

In 1986, the Supreme Court held in FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life that certain nonprofit corporations could legally make independent expenditures. A resulting petition for rulemaking initiated the FEC's rulemaking in response and garnered over 17,000 comments. The Commission ultimately promulgated new rules amending the definition of "express advocacy" and describing the nonprofit organizations that were exempt from the Act's ban on corporate independent expenditures (this ban was later found unconstitutional as to all corporations in Citizens United).

New Legislation: Point of Entry and Electronic Filing December 28, 1995

President Clinton signed Public Law 104-79, which contained important changes to the ways certain FEC reports were filed. The legislation officially changed the point of entry for House candidates' reports and paved the way for the State filing waiver program and electronic filing. Candidates had previously filed their reports with the Clerk of the House, but on January 1, 1996, they began filing them with the FEC. (The law did not affect the point of entry for reports from Senate candidates.) The amendments also waived the requirement for candidates to file reports in their respective states, if the state permitted electronic access to and duplication of FEC reports. Finally, the law authorized the Commission to develop the technical and regulatory framework to enable political committees to file reports on computer disk or through other electronic means.

1996

The FEC Has a New Address: http://www.fec.gov February 14, 1996
FEC/FECA Brochure, 1996

A sample page from the very first FEC.gov website.

The FEC launched its website, offering the public another FEC access point for information on campaign financing and the election process.

House Candidates Begin Filing Directly with FEC April 15, 1996

As a result of a 1995 legislative change, House candidates began filing campaign finance reports directly with the FEC, rather than with the Clerk of the House. The change in point of entry improved both the timeliness and quality of the Commission's public disclosure process.

FEC Initiates Pilot Program for Electronic Filing via Computer Disk April 15, 1996

The Commission also took steps during 1996 to implement an electronic filing system that would allow committees to file reports via computer disk or other electronic format on a voluntary basis.

First General Election Grant Certified to Third Party August 22, 1996

For the first time, the FEC certified a partial public funding grant to a third party Presidential campaign. The Reform Party's Perot/Choate campaign received a $22.055 million general election grant.

Commission Certifies Funding for 1996 Major Party General Election Candidates August 15 and August 30, 1996

The Commission certifies $61.82 million each in public funds to the general election campaigns of Democratic Presidential nominee President Bill Clinton and his running mate, Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. (on August 30, 1996) and of Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole and his running mate Jack Kemp (on August 15, 1996).

1997

Interim Electronic Filing Program Begins January 1, 1997

The Commission launched an interim Electronic Filing Program that allowed committees to file reports via computer disk. To assist electronic filers, the agency created and distributed free filing software, named FECFile, to more than 200 interested users.

Legislation Limits Commissioners to One Term in Office Enacted October 10, 1997; Effective After December 31, 1997

The Treasury and Government Appropriations Act, 1998, Pub. L. No. 105-61, Sec. 512, signed into law on October 10, 1997, contained a clause that limited FEC Commissioners to a single term of six years. The amendment applied to individuals nominated by the President after December 31, 1997.

1998

Disclosure Reports Added To the FEC's Website January 2, 1998

With the exception of Senate filings,* all 1997-1998 cycle reports filed by PACs, political parties, Presidential and House campaigns were made available for viewing at the click of a button. The agency updated its website within 48 hours of receipt of paper reports.

*Senate candidates and their campaign committees, as well as committees supporting/opposing only Senate candidates, file their reports directly with the Secretary of the Senate. Because the Commission received these reports on microfilm and did not receive the original copy of these reports, it was impossible to achieve the quality necessary for imaging purposes. As a result, they were not included in this program.

Electronic Filing Enhanced to Allow Committees to Transmit Reports Directly to FEC March 1998

The second version of the agency's free electronic filing software, FECFile, became available. Electronic filers could now send their computer-prepared reports electronically through a direct transmission to the FEC.

James A. Pehrkon Serves as Staff Director April 14, 1998 - December 15, 2005
James A. Pehrkon, 2001

James A. Pehrkon, 2001

James A. Pehrkon became Staff Director on April 14, 1999, after serving as Acting Staff Director for eight months. Prior to that, Mr. Pehrkon served for 18 years as the Commission's Deputy Staff Director with responsibilities for managing the FEC's budget, administration and computer systems. Among the agency's first employees, Mr. Pehrkon is credited with setting up the FEC's Data Systems Development Division. He directed the data division before assuming his duties as Deputy Staff Director. An Austin, Texas, native, Mr. Pehrkon received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and did graduate work in foreign affairs at Georgetown University

FEC Unveils New Query System on Website July 21, 1998

The Commission added a new online query system that provided immediate access to the name and contribution amount of any individual who had contributed $200 or more to a federal political committee during the 1997-1998 election cycle. The FEC's new searchable database also allowed users to access lists of PACs or party committees that have contributed to specific candidates and view lists of candidates to whom selected PACs and parties have contributed.

Darryl R. Wold (R) Serves as Commissioner July, 1998 - April 1, 2002
Commissioner Darryl R. Wold

Commissioner Darryl R. Wold

Darryl R. Wold was nominated to the Commission by President Clinton on November 5, 1997, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 30, 1998. He served as Chairman in 2000.

Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Wold had been in private law practice in Orange County, California, since 1974. In addition to his own practice, he was counsel to Reed and Davidson, a California law firm, for election law litigation and enforcement defense matters. Mr. Wold's practice included representing candidates, ballot measure committees, political action committees and others with responsibilities under federal, state and local election laws. Mr. Wold's business practice emphasized business litigation and counseling closely-held companies.

Commissioner Wold graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna College in California and earned an LL.B. from Stanford University. He is a member of the California and U.S. Supreme Court bars. Commissioner Wold departed from the Commission on April 1, 2002.

Karl J. Sandstrom (D) Serves as Commissioner August, 1998 - December 9, 2002
Commissioner Karl J. Sandstrom

Commissioner Karl J. Sandstrom

Commissioner Karl J. Sandstrom, a Democrat, was nominated to the Commission by President William Clinton on July 13, 1998, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 30, 1998.

Prior to his appointment Commissioner Sandstrom served as Chairman of the Administrative Review Board at the Department of Labor. From 1988 to 1992 he was Staff Director of the House Subcommittee on Elections, during which time he also served as the Staff Director of the Speaker of the House's Task Force on Electoral Reform. From 1979 to 1988, Mr. Sandstrom served as the Deputy Chief Counsel to the House Administration Committee of the House of Representatives. In addition, he has taught public policy as an Adjunct Professor at the American University.

GAO Conducts Customer Satisfaction Survey Regarding FEC Products, Services and Processes August 1, 1998

The GAO contacted randomly selected congressional candidate committees, political party committees and PACs to evaluate the FEC's effectiveness in providing information to the regulated community and facilitating disclosure of campaign finance information.

David M. Mason (R) Serves as Commissioner August 6, 1998 - July, 2008
Commissioner David M. Mason

Commissioner David M. Mason

David M. Mason was nominated to the Commission by President William Clinton on March 4, 1998 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 30, 1998. He was nominated for a second term by President George W. Bush on December 19, 2005. He served Chairman in 2002 and 2008.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Mason was Senior Fellow in Congressional Studies at the Heritage Foundation. He joined Heritage in 1990 and served at various times as Director of Executive Branch Liaison, Director of the Foundation's U.S. Congress Assessment Project, and Vice President, Government Relations.

Commissioner Mason served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, where he managed the Pentagon's relations with the U.S. House of Representatives. One of his major accomplishments there was guiding base closing legislation to a successful conclusion.

He has served on Capitol Hill, as a Legislative Assistant to Senator John Warner, Legislative Director to Representative Tom Bliley, and Staff Director to then-House Republican Whip Trent Lott. He was active as a staffer and volunteer in numerous Congressional, Senate, Gubernatorial and Presidential campaigns, and was himself the Republican nominee for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 48th District in 1982.

Commissioner Mason attended Lynchburg College in Virginia and graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna College in California.

FEC Enhances Web Page to Highlight Last-Minute Money October 19, 1998

The Commission introduced a new search process that consolidates all last-minute contributions and allows users to see which candidates filed reports on a given day, or to view the reports filed on a given day by all candidates from a particular state.

Mandatory E-Filing Begins for Presidential Campaigns that Accept Matching Funds November 11, 1998

New regulations required Presidential candidates that maintain computerized campaign finance records to participate in the Commission's electronic filing program as a condition of accepting federal funding.

1999

FEC Makes Meeting Documents Available by Email June 1, 1999

The Public Records Office offered constituents the option to receive open meeting agenda documents by email.

Commission Certifies Funds for Major Parties' 2000 Presidential Nominating Conventions June 28, 1999

On June 28, 1999, the Commission certified the eligibility of the Democratic National Convention Committee, Inc. and the Committee on Arrangements for the 2000 Republican National Convention to receive $13.224 million each for their 2000 Presidential nominating conventions.

George W. Bush Becomes First Major Party Candidate to Decline Primary Election Public Funding July 15, 1999

On July 15, 1999, Republican Presidential candidate George W. Bush announced that his campaign would not accept primary matching funds. As a result, the campaign is not subject to the spending limits that are a condition of receiving federal matching funds in the primary season.

Advisory Opinions Now on FEC Website August 18, 1999

The Commission placed its historical databank of hundreds of advisory opinions on the agency's website. Advisory opinions are official Commission responses to questions relating to the application of the Federal Election Campaign Act to a specific, factual situation.

Congress Authorizes Administrative Fine Program September 29, 1999

The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-58) authorized the Commission to institute the Administrative Fine Program in order to collect civil penalties for late and non-filed reports during fiscal year 2000. (The initial authorization expired at the end of 2001, but has since been extended by law several times.)

Commission Approves State Filing Waiver Program October 14, 1999

The Commission approved the state filing waiver program, relieving qualified state offices of the requirement to receive and maintain paper copies of campaign finance reports from Presidential and House candidates and most other political committees that file their reports with the Commission. The waiver program also relieved committees of the obligation to file these paper copies.

Commission Defines "Member" of a "Membership Association" November 2, 1999

Incorporated membership organizations may solicit funds for their PACs from their "members" as well as executive and administrative personnel of the organization. Following litigation and Advisory Opinions issued in the 1980s, the FEC promulgated a new definition of the term "member." After further litigation, which found the revised definition and accompanying rules too restrictive because they required that a "member" both pay dues and hold voting privileges, the Commission adopted a broader definition of "member" that requires that a "member" either have a significant financial or organizational attachment, or pay annual dues of any amount to the organization. This definition remains in place today.

FEC Commissioners Group Photo November 4, 1999
(L to R) Karl J. Sandstrom, Danny L. McDonald, Vice Chairman Darryl R. Wold, Chairman Scott E. Thomas, Lee Ann Elliott and David M. Mason

(L to R) Karl J. Sandstrom, Danny L. McDonald, Vice Chairman Darryl R. Wold, Chairman Scott E. Thomas,
Lee Ann Elliott and David M. Mason

Commission Certifies Funding for Reform Party 2000 Convention November 22, 1999

The Commission certified $2,468,921 to the Reform Party for its 2000 Presidential nominating convention. As a minor party, it had qualified for public funding of this convention based on a ratio of votes cast in the preceding Presidential election.

FEC Certifies First 12 States for Filing Waiver December 8, 1999

The Commission certified 12 states as exempt from a federal requirement to receive and maintain paper copies of campaign finance reports from Presidential and U.S. House of Representatives candidates and most political committees. This was the initial certification group, with some 20 other states expected to follow soon.

States certified by the Commission to participate in the program are Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin. The FEC certification indicates that they possess an adequate computerized system to allow the public electronic access to, and duplication of, reports and statements that are filed with the FEC.

FEC Redesigns, Streamlines Website December 23, 1999
FEC's Website from 1999

FEC's Website from 1999

The Commission reorganized its website to offer the most efficient presentation of relevant and appropriate information to various audiences, including the general public, candidates and their campaign workers, and the media.

Items available on the newly designed www.fec.gov include images of campaign finance reports; summaries and searchable databases of campaign contributions; candidate and committee guides and reporting forms; news releases and media advisories; statistics and data on voting and elections; Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guidelines; FEC advisory opinions; a "What's New" scrolling menu; daily highlights; and more.

Additionally, the FEC implemented Media-Independent Presentation Language (MIPL), an Internet-based technology designed to facilitate access for persons with special needs to many types of information by using a wide variety of hardware and software solutions.

2000

FEC Adds Open Meeting Agenda Documents to Website February 1, 2000

The FEC added agenda documents for its open public meetings to its website.

Commission Approves EFOIA Rules February 17, 2000

The Commission approved rules implementing the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (EFOIA). The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides public access to all federal agency records except those that are protected from release by specified exemptions. The EFOIA extends that access to electronic records and makes other changes in FOIA procedures that are designed to expedite and streamline the process by which agencies disclose information generally. The EFOIA requires each agency to make reasonable efforts to ensure that its records can be reproduced and searched electronically, except when such efforts would significantly interfere with the operation of the agency's automated information system. The Commission has amended its FOIA rules to apply these statutory changes to its electronic records and procedures.

Commission Certifies Additional Funds for Parties' 2000 Presidential Nominating Conventions March 28 and May 25, 2000

On March 28, 2000, the Commission approved an additional public funding payment of $288,000 for each of the major parties' 2000 national nominating conventions, ensuring that each party received their full public funding entitlement of $13,512,000. Similarly, on May 25, 2000, the Commission certified an additional $55,769 to the Reform Party for its 2000 convention, bringing its total entitlement to $2,522,690. These additional payments reflected an adjustment in the consumer price index.

Mandatory Electronic Filing Begins June 15, 2000

On June 15, 2000, the Commission approved rules implementing mandatory electronic filing. Beginning with the reporting periods that start on or after January 1, 2001, all persons required to file reports with the FEC who receive contributions or make expenditures in excess of $50,000 in a calendar year, or who expect to do so, must submit their campaign finance reports electronically. Any filers who are required to file electronically, but who file on paper, will be considered nonfilers and may be subject to enforcement action.

Bradley A. Smith (R) Serves as Commissioner June 26, 2000 - August 21, 2005
Commissioner Bradley A. Smith

Commissioner Bradley A. Smith

Bradley A. Smith was nominated to the Commission by President William Clinton on February 9, 2000, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 24, 2000. He served as FEC Chairman in 2004.

Prior to his appointment, Smith was Professor of Law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, where he taught Election Law, Comparative Election Law, Jurisprudence, Law & Economics, and Civil Procedure. Smith's writings on campaign finance and other election issues have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, the Harvard Journal of Legislation, the Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy, and other academic journals. As a law professor, Smith was a much sought-after witness in Congress on matters of campaign finance reform, and also a frequent guest on radio and television and a contributor to popular publications such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Prior to joining the faculty at Capital in 1993, he had practiced with the Columbus law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, served as United States Vice Consul in Guayaquil, Ecuador, worked as a consultant in the health care field, and served as General Manager of the Small Business Association of Michigan, a position in which his responsibilities included management of the organization's political action committee.

Commissioner Smith received his B.A. cum laude from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan and his J.D., cum laude from Harvard Law School.

FEC Introduces Election Cycle Reporting for Authorized Committees July 5, 2000

The Commission approved new regulations conforming to federal legislation that required authorized committees of federal candidates to aggregate and report receipts and disbursements on an election-cycle basis rather than on the traditional calendar-year basis. These revised regulations affect reports covering periods that begin on or after January 1, 2001. The new rules did not affect PACs or party committees.

FEC Launches Administrative Fine Program July 14, 2000

In response to a legislative mandate, an Administrative Fine Program was implemented in July 2000 to address late and non-filing of disclosure reports in a more efficient and effective manner. The AF Program is administered by the Commission's Reports Analysis Division (RAD) and Office of Administrative Review (OAR), which are within the Office of Compliance.

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 2000 General Election Candidates August 4 and August 18, 2000

The Commission certified $67.56 million each to the major party 2000 general election campaigns of Republican Presidential nominee George W. Bush and his Vice-Presidential running mate Richard Cheney (on August 4, 2000) and of Democratic Presidential nominee Al Gore and his Vice-Presidential running mate Senator Joseph Lieberman (on August 18, 2000).

Commission Certifies Funds to Reform Party 2000 General Election Campaign September 14, 2000

On September 14, 2000, the Commission certified $12,613,452 million to the general election campaign of Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan and his Vice-Presidential running mate Ezola Foster.

Senate Candidates' Campaign Finance Reports Made Available on FEC Website September 22, 2000

In a joint effort by the U.S. Senate and the Commission to provide better public access to Senate campaign finance reports, the public can now view at the FEC website reports of money raised and spent by U.S. Senate candidates. Previously, Senate reports had been delivered by the Senate to the FEC on microfilm, which could not be transferred to quality images on the website.

Commission Extends State Filing Waiver Program to U.S. Senate Candidates September 27, 2000

The Commission voted to extend the State Filing Waiver Program to include campaigns for U.S. Senate candidates and other political committees that support only U.S. Senate candidates.

Prior to the Commission's decision to extend the program, the state filing waiver did not apply to reports filed by candidates and committees whose point-of-entry for filing reports is the Office of the Secretary of the U. S. Senate.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Program Begins October 1, 2000

The Commission established the Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (ADRO) as a pilot program to reduce enforcement case processing times and free up Commission resources.

Online Submission of 48-Hour Notices Debuts for the General Election October 18, 2000

The Commission developed a web-based filing system to enable candidate committees to create and submit their 48-hour notices entirely online. Using the new system, even campaigns that did not file electronically and those that used software that did not generate the 48-Hour disclosure form (FEC Form 6) could file their 48-Hour Notices online.

Commission Expands Disclosure on its Website October 18, 2000

On October 18, 2000, the Commission announced several additions to its website to enhance campaign finance disclosure. As a result, individuals could now easily view summary statistical information about candidates, PACs and party committees on the FEC Website.

2001

OCR-Ready Disclosure Forms Debut January 1, 2001

The Commission issued new disclosure forms designed to be processed more quickly through the use of optical character recognition (OCR), in anticipation of the Commission's future use of this technology. The Commission made updated FEC forms 1, 2, 3, 3X, 3P, 6 and 8 available to committees filing in 2001. The changes to Forms 3 and 3P also adapted these forms for election-cycle reporting beginning January 2001.

Commission Implements 1995 Legislation Concerning Recordkeeping, Reporting and Filing January 1, 2001

Over the last half of the 1990s, the Commission conducted several rulemakings that implemented late 1995 statutory changes to the reporting and recordkeeping provisions of the Act. The rulemakings concerned point of entry for FEC reports on the federal and state level, electronic filing by political committees, best efforts requirements for committee treasurers in obtaining, maintaining and submitting contributor information, and election-cycle reporting for authorized committees. These rules mostly remain in effect today.

FEC Semi-Finalist in 'Innovation' Competition May 2, 2001

The Commission was named one of 99 semi-finalists from some 1,300 applicants in the "Innovations in American Government" award competition sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The recognition highlights the success of the FEC's "State Filing Waiver Program." Initiated in 1999, the program follows the letter of the law (Public Law 104-79; 1995) and enhances the spirit of it by eliminating the need for administration of paper filings of campaign reports at the state level, replacing that paper with electronic immediacy for public and media.

FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee June 26, 1996 and June 25, 2001

In 1996, the Supreme Court ruled that the Act's party coordinated expenditure limits at 52 U.S.C. § 30116(d) (then 2 U.S.C. § 441a(d)) cannot constitutionally be applied to a radio ad aired by a political party committee because the ad was not coordinated with any candidate and thus was an independent expenditure. In 2001, following remand of the matter, the Court held that those limits were constitutional.

Lawrence H. Norton Serves as General Counsel September 17, 2001 - January 1, 2007
Lawrence H. Norton

Lawrence H. Norton

Lawrence Norton became General Counsel of the Commission on September 17, 2001. Prior to joining the agency, Mr. Norton served as an Associate Director at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for five years. He also worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Maryland Attorney General's office. Mr. Norton graduated Order of the Coif from the University of Maryland School of Law.

2002

Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 March 27, 2002

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (Pub. L. No. 107-55) (BCRA) contained a number of substantive changes to federal campaign finance law. It increased certain contribution limits and indexed them for inflation, banned the raising and spending of nonfederal funds by national party committees, required state party committees to pay for certain federal activity with 100 percent federal funds, created reporting requirements for persons making electioneering communications and prohibited corporations and labor unions from making them (a ban that is no longer in effect), strengthened the ban on foreign national contributions and increased penalties for knowing and willful violations. BCRA also added a "Millionaires' provision" which enabled candidates who were facing self-funded opponents to raise additional contributions once certain thresholds were met (no longer in effect). The BCRA also prohibited federal candidates and officeholders from raising or spending nonfederal funds in connection with any election, including for state/local candidates. It also authorized state/local party committees to raise "Levin funds" for the purpose of paying for certain types of generic activity such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote activity.

Michael E. Toner (R) Serves as Commissioner April 1, 2002 - March 14, 2007
Commissioner Michael E. Toner

Commissioner Michael E. Toner

Michael E. Toner was nominated to the Commission by President George W. Bush on March 4, 2002 and appointed on March 29, 2002. Mr. Toner was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 18, 2003. He served as FEC Chairman in 2006.

Prior to being appointed to the FEC, Mr. Toner served as Chief Counsel of the Republican National Committee. Mr. Toner joined the RNC in 2001 after serving as General Counsel of the Bush-Cheney Transition Team in Washington, DC and General Counsel of the Bush-Cheney 2000 Presidential Campaign in Austin, TX.

Before joining the Bush campaign in Austin, Mr. Toner was Deputy Counsel at the RNC from 1997-1999. Prior to his tenure at the RNC, Mr. Toner served as Counsel to the Dole/Kemp Presidential Campaign in 1996.

Mr. Toner was an associate attorney at Wiley, Rein, & Fielding in Washington, DC from 1992-1996. His work there included advising political committees and corporate clients on federal and state election law compliance. He was also involved in a number of First and Fourteenth Amendment appellate litigation matters, including two cases that were successful in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Toner has written widely on campaign finance matters, including in the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Washington Times, The Hill, and Roll Call. Mr. Toner is a contributing author in the book "Divided States of America: The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election" (edited by Professor Larry J. Sabato, University of Virginia Center for Politics). Mr. Toner has also appeared as a guest commentator on Fox News Channel, Bloomberg News and C-SPAN.

Mr. Toner has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the William and Mary Law School and as a lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia.

Mr. Toner received a J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School in 1992, an M.A. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University in 1989, and a B.A. with distinction from the University of Virginia in 1986. He is a member of the District of Columbia and Virginia bars, as well as the United States Supreme Court bar, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and the Eastern District of Virginia.

FEC Launches BCRA Web Pages September 1, 2002

As part of an extensive educational outreach effort, the Commission added a new section to its website devoted to the new Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA).

Alternative Dispute Resolution Program Becomes Permanent October 1, 2002

After a vote of the Commission, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, which had been a pilot program, became a permanent part of the FEC's enforcement process.

Ellen L. Weintraub (D) Serves as Commissioner December 9, 2002 - Present
Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub

Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub

Ellen L. Weintraub took office as a Commissioner on December 9, 2002. After an initial recess appointment, her nomination was confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on March 18, 2003. Commissioner Weintraub has twice served as Chair of the Commission, for calendar years 2003 and 2013.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Weintraub was Of Counsel to Perkins Coie LLP and a member of its Political Law Group. There, she counseled clients on federal and state campaign finance and election laws, political ethics, nonprofit law, recounts, and lobbying regulation. During the election contest arising out of the 1996 election of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ms. Weintraub served on the legal team that advised the Senate Rules Committee. Her tenure with Perkins Coie represented Ms. Weintraub's second stint in private practice, having previously practiced as a litigator with the New York law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

Before joining Perkins Coie, Ms. Weintraub was Counsel to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the U.S. House of Representatives (the House Ethics Committee). Like the Commission, the Committee on Standards is a bipartisan body, evenly divided between Democratic and Republican members. Ms. Weintraub's work focused on implementing the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 and subsequent changes to the House Code of Official Conduct. She also served as editor in chief of the House Ethics Manual and as a principal contributor to the Senate Ethics Manual. While at the Committee, Ms. Weintraub counseled Members on investigations and often had lead responsibility for the Committee's public education and compliance initiatives.

Ms. Weintraub received her B.A., cum laude, from Yale College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. A native New Yorker, she is a member of the New York and District of Columbia bars and the Supreme Court bar.

2003

Commission Issues "Soft Money" Regulations January 1, 2003

The Commission's first of seven rulemaking projects to implement the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) included regulations that restrict and, in some cases, ban the receipt, solicitation and use of nonfederal funds (sometimes called "soft money"). The rules prohibit national parties from raising or spending nonfederal funds; require state, district and local party committees to fund certain "federal election activities" with federal funds and, in some cases, with money raised according to new limitations, prohibitions and reporting requirements (i.e., "Levin funds"), or with a combination of such funds; and address fundraising by federal and nonfederal candidates and officeholders on behalf of party committees, other candidates and nonprofit organizations.

Commission Adjusts Contribution Limits for Inflation for the First Time; Certain Contribution Prohibitions are Strengthened or Enabled January 1, 2003 and January 13, 2003

Contribution limits and prohibitions regulations that increased the individual contribution limits and implemented their regular indexing for inflation took effect on January 1, 2003. The Commission issued additional regulations, effective January 13, 2003, implementing BCRA's provisions that strengthened the foreign national ban and prohibited minors from making contributions (later removed, as explained in an later entry).

Commission Addresses Coordinated Communications and Independent Expenditures in Rulemakings May 9, 2001 and February 3, 2003

Seeking to address various 1990s litigation results, the Commission promulgated a new definition of coordinated communications. The regulations became the subject of litigation in Shays I and Shays III, and were revised several times (see later entry).

Commission Issues Regulations on Electioneering Communications and Other Campaign Communications November 22, 2002, January 13, 2003 and February 3, 2003

As part of its BCRA implementation, the Commission promulgated new rules on electioneering communications certain television and radio communications that refer to a clearly identified Federal candidate and are publicly distributed to the relevant electorate within 60 of a general election or within 30 days of a primary election for Federal office. In other BCRA rulemakings, the Commission addressed the disclosure and disclaimer requirements (including BCRA's new design and wording requirements for disclaimers on print, television, and radio ads) for independent expenditure and electioneering communications.

FEC Creates New Disclosure Forms and Revises Existing Forms to Implement BCRA March 1, 2003

The Commission revised FEC Forms 1, 2, 3, 3X and 5 and their supporting Schedules and instructions to facilitate disclosure under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA). The revisions to Forms 1, 2, 3 and 3X primarily affect House and Senate campaigns and state, district and local political party committees, while the revisions to Form 5 affect individuals and qualified nonprofit corporations filing reports of independent expenditures. The Commission also created five new forms in order to implement various provisions of the BCRA:

* FEC Form 9, for use by individuals and qualified nonprofit corporations in reporting electioneering communications;

* FEC Forms 10, 11 and 12, incorporated various notices required of House and Senate campaigns under the Millionaires' Amendment. (Other notices required under that amendment were incorporated into Forms 3 and 3X Schedules.) The Millionaires' Amendment and resulting reporting requirements are no longer in effect after they were overturned by the Supreme Court.

* FEC Form 13, for use by inaugural committees. (This form was developed in 2004, after the others.)

Beaumont v. FEC June 16, 2003

The Supreme Court upheld the Act's prohibition on contributions by corporations as applied to nonprofit advocacy corporations.

New Procedures for RFAI Letters June 18, 2003

Analysts would now send only one letter requesting additional information, allowing respondents 30 days to reply (this has since been extended to 35 days). This is intended to prevent duplication and enable analysts more time to review reports. After receipt of the letter, the committee treasurer can make additions or corrections to the report, which are then added to the public record. Apparent violations, however, may be referred to the Audit Division, Alternative Dispute Resolution Office or to the Office of General Counsel for possible enforcement action. At this same time, the direct extensions of the assigned analysts were added to the letters to allow for better service to filers who need assistance.

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 2004 Presidential Nominating Conventions June 27, 2003

On June 27, 2003, the Commission certified $14.592 million each to the convention committees of the Democratic and Republican parties for their 2004 Presidential nominating conventions.

McConnell v. FEC December 10, 2003

The Supreme Court upheld the two principal features of BCRA: the ban on raising and use of soft money in federal elections by political parties and the application of financing and disclosure rules to electioneering communications.

FEC Launches System for Searching Closed Enforcement Cases December 11, 2003

The Commission launched the Enforcement Query System (EQS) on the agency's website to improve public access to enforcement documents.

Enforcement Disclosure Policy Approved December 11, 2003

The Commission approved a Statement of Policy regarding disclosure of closed enforcement and related files that identified the categories of records that will be released to the public once enforcement cases are closed. The policy provided for the release of additional documents when enforcement cases were closed, including original complaints or internal FEC referrals that initiate enforcement actions, along with reports and briefs from the Office of General Counsel (OGC) and responses to those reports and briefs by respondents.

2004

Commission Initiates Rulemaking on Definition of Political Committee March 4,2004

The Commission undertook a rulemaking to revisit whether the definition of "political committee" adequately encompassed all organizations that should be considered political committees subject to the limitations, prohibitions and reporting requirements of FECA. The Commission held two days of public hearings in April 2004 and received roughly 100,000 written comments. The Commission ultimately decided not to define "major purpose" by regulation. (A supplemental notice published in 2007 explained that the Commission would make major purpose determinations on a case-by-case basis.) The Commission did adopt a new regulation that treated funds received in response to certain solicitations as "contributions," counting toward an organization's threshold for registering as a political committee. That rule was repealed in 2010.

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 2004 Presidential General Election Candidates July 30 and September 2, 2004

The Commission certified $74.62 million each to the major party 2004 general election campaigns of Republican Presidential nominee President George W. Bush and his Vice-Presidential running mate Vice President Richard Cheney (on September 2, 2004) and of Democratic Presidential nominee Senator John Kerry and his Vice-Presidential running mate Senator John Edwards (on July 30, 2004).

FEC Launches Updated Website September 30, 2004

Since the last major overhaul of the Commission's homepage in 1999, dramatic increases in the quantity of information available overwhelmed the existing site's structure and navigational tools. The new site featured more FEC information in a more user friendly format.

2005

FEC Introduces Online Version of Court Case Abstracts January 30, 2005

The Commission launched a new hypertext version of the FEC's Court Case Abstracts publication. This continuously-updated online index of FEC litigation replaced the paper publication that had typically been updated on an annual basis.

FEC Publishes Thirty Year Report January 30, 2005
Thirty Year Report

Thirty Year Report

The Commission published the Thirty Year Report to commemorate the Commission's 30-year anniversary.

BCRA Challenge in McConnell v. FEC Results in Several Rulemakings December 3, 2004 and March 7, 2005

The Commission revised regulations that had governed two provisions of BCRA found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC: the ban on contributions from minors and the so-called "choice provision," which prevented party committees from making both coordinated and independent expenditures on behalf of a candidate after that candidate's primary election. The Commission completed work on these rulemakings in 2004, reinstating pre-BCRA rules on contributions by minors (effective March 7, 2005) and clarifying that a party committee may make both coordinated and independent expenditures for general election candidates (effective December 3, 2004).

New Rules on Filing by Priority Mail, Express Mail and Overnight Delivery March 10, 2005

The Commission approved final rules regarding the timely filing of documents using Priority Mail, Express Mail or overnight delivery service. The rules implemented FECA amendments included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, that permitted filers to use these additional delivery options to satisfy the Commission's "timely filing" requirements for certain designations, reports and statements filed on paper with either the FEC or the Secretary of the Senate.

FEC Introduces Online Filing via Webforms May 27, 2005

The FEC launched several webforms on its website, allowing for a quicker and easier way to file reports of last-minute contributions, independent expenditures and electioneering communications. The webforms included Forms 5, 6 and 9.

E-Review Launched July 22, 2005

In 2005, RAD, in coordination with the Information Technology Division, launched the first two phases of a web-based review system (Modules 1 and 2). The first two phases allow for greater sharing of information within the Division and outside it, increase management's ability to assign and track work, provide analysts with better control over work assignments and consolidate information about filing entities for easier access.

50th State Certified for State Filing Waiver August 5, 2005

Montana became the 50th state to be certified by the FEC as exempt from a federal requirement to receive and maintain paper copies of campaign finance reports from Presidential, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives candidates, party committees and political action committees (PACs).

The State Filing Waiver Program began in 1999 with 12 states. After Montana was certified, among all states and territories only Guam and Puerto Rico were not in the waiver program.

2006

Hans A. von Spakovsky (R) Serves as Commissioner January 9, 2006 - December 31, 2007
Commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky

Commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky

Hans A. von Spakovsky was nominated to the Commission by President George W. Bush on December 15, 2005 and was appointed on January 4, 2006.

Prior to his appointment, Commissioner von Spakovsky served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he provided expertise and advice on voting and election issues, including of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Commissioner von Spakovsky has had a wide range of experiences in election related issues, including as a member of the first Board of Advisors of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections, which administered elections in the largest county in Georgia. He served on the Voting Standards Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and on the Election and Voter Service Technical Committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), which were developing standards for voting equipment and electronic data interchange.

Commissioner von Spakovsky is a past member of the Board of Advisors of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, the Georgia Election Officials Association and the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers. The Commission on Federal Election Reform organized by President Jimmy Carter and Secretary James Baker has also sought his expertise. Commissioner von Spakovsky has testified before state and congressional legislative committees and published articles on voter fraud, election reform, e-government, and Internet voting. He has appeared before numerous organizations including the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors.

Prior to entering public service, Commissioner von Spakovsky worked as a government affairs consultant, in a corporate legal department, and in private practice. He received a J.D. from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1984 and a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981. He is a member of the Georgia and Tennessee bars. He is a first-generation American whose parents immigrated to the United States in 1951. They met in a refugee camp as displaced persons after the end of World War II. He is originally from Huntsville, Alabama

Robert D. Lenhard (D) Serves as Commissioner January 9, 2006 - December 31, 2007
Commissioner Robert D. Lenhard

Commissioner Robert D. Lenhard

Robert D. Lenhard was appointed to the Commission in 2006 and served as Chairman in 2007.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Lenhard was an Associate General Counsel with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME). At AFSCME, he was responsible for legal issues related to federal and state election laws. His work included counseling the union on federal and state campaign finance issues, litigating enforcement actions before the FEC and state agencies, and providing training to field staff on federal and state election law issues. Prior to becoming an Associate General Counsel at AFSCME, Mr. Lenhard was an associate at the law firm of Kirschner, Weinberg & Dempsey, where he represented AFSCME and other labor unions. Prior to that, Mr. Lenhard worked for the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU). After graduating from law school, Mr. Lenhard worked as an associate at the Los Angeles law firm of Grace, Neumeyer & Otto.

Mr. Lenhard is a 1981 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University where he earned a B.A. with Honors and a 1984 graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

Steven T. Walther (I) Serves as Commissioner January 10, 2006 - December 31, 2007
Commissioner Steven T. Walther

Commissioner Steven T. Walther

Steven T. Walther was first sworn in as an FEC Commissioner on January 10, 2006, as a recess appointee. Although his name was placed before the Senate for confirmation in June, 2007, his recess term expired on December 31, 2007, before the Senate acted. On June 24, 2008, he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate and sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on June 27, to resume the balance of his statutory term. Mr. Walther served as Vice Chairman of the FEC for the balance of 2008 and served as the Commission's Chairman in 2009.

Prior to joining the FEC as a Commissioner, Mr. Walther practiced law in the Reno, Nevada law firm of Walther, Key, Maupin, Oats, Cox & LeGoy, now known as Maupin, Cox & LeGoy which he co-founded in 1972.

During his legal career Mr. Walther has been active in professional legal and judicial organizations and activities, as well as numerous civic activities. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and currently serves as co-chair of the ABA Center for Human Rights. He has been active in ABA initiatives focusing on international relations, human rights and the rule of law. He was appointed by the ABA President to serve as the ABA Representative to the United Nations. He served on the Executive Board of the ABA Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (CEELI), which oversees the ABA's democracy building programs in over 21 countries -- programs, which promote development of fair and open election laws. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees and lecturer for the National Judicial College, both in the United States and in Russia. Mr. Walther has lectured extensively, both domestically and internationally (principally in Russia), on rule of law, human rights, litigation and international law issues. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the International Bar Association.

Mr. Walther is a former president of the State Bar of Nevada, the Western States Bar Conference, and the National Caucus of State Bar Associations. He is a past chair of the 6,000 member Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, the legal research arm of the ABA. From 1971 until his FEC appointment, Mr. Walther served as a member of the Nevada State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

He received his J.D. degree from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley in 1968, and recently served as president of the Boalt Hall Alumni Association. He received his undergraduate degree, with a major in Russian, from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1965.

FEC Makes Audio Recordings of Commission Meetings Available on Website via Podcast January 19, 2006

The FEC began posting to its website the audio recordings of all public Commission meetings. Recordings are available both as complete meeting audio files and as individual agenda item audio files. The FEC originally committed to making these recordings available within 48 hours, but reduced that to 24 hours in 2012. Today, it's not unusual for the recordings to be available the same day as the event.

Budget Cuts Force FEC to Cancel Spring Conferences March 2, 2006

The Commission announced that budget constraints would force it to cancel its educational outreach conferences planned for the spring of 2006.

FEC Upgrades Website Search Process March 27, 2006

The FEC launched a new search process on its website that offered several new features. The key match feature, for example, highlighted some of the pages that are viewed most often and listed them first in the search results. Other features suggested synonymous search terms and spelling alternatives that helped to improve results.

Commission Levies Record Fine Against Freddie Mac for FECA Violations April 17, 2006

The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement with Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), a federally chartered corporation, concerning its use of corporate resources to host campaign fundraising events and to collect and forward political contributions to federal candidates. The $3.8 million civil penalty Freddie Mac agreed to pay for these violations is the highest civil penalty in FEC history.

Commission Adopts Internet Regulations that Create Exemptions for Voluntary Individual Internet Activities May 12, 2006

After the court in Shays I ruled in 2004 that the FEC's definition of "public communication" impermissibly excluded all internet communications, the Commission amended the definition to include only paid internet ads placed on another person's website. The Commission further amended its regulations governing disclaimers and definitions of "contribution" and "expenditure" "to ensure that political committees properly financed and disclosed their internet communications, without impeding individual citizens from using the internet to speak freely regarding candidates and elections."

Commission Introduces Tips for Treasurers Web Page and RSS Feed May 18, 2006

The FEC posted a new Tips for Treasurers web page and RSS feed designed to keep treasurers updated on the latest FEC compliance information.

Patrina M. Clark Serves as Staff Director July 10, 2006 - July 1, 2008
Patrina Clark

Patrina Clark

On July 10, 2006, Patrina M. Clark began her tenure as Staff Director of the Commission, succeeding Acting Staff Director Robert Costa. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Clark served as Regional Executive Director for Naval District Washington. As the senior civilian official in the region, she managed the Human Resources, Information Technology, Comptroller and Public Affairs offices, among other activities. Before her service with the Department of the Navy, she held a number of key positions with the Internal Revenue Service, most recently as Director, Cooperative Efforts and Strategic Support. A Texas native, Ms. Clark began her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas as a National Merit Scholar and University of Texas Presidential Scholar. She completed her undergraduate studies at Thomas Edison State College with an emphasis in Communications and Human Resources Management. Ms. Clark has a graduate certificate from the Cornell University School of Industrial Labor Relations in Human Resources Management and a Master's Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University (GWU). She was awarded a joint certificate in Advanced Public Policy Leadership from the Brookings Institution and GWU, and is a graduate of GWU's Senior Executive Development Program. She completed Georgetown University's Senior Executive Leadership Continuing Studies Certificate Program and is certified as a Senior Human Resources Professional by the Human Resources Certification Institute.

FEC Establishes Office of Compliance During Enforcement Restructuring November 26, 2006

The Office of Compliance was established as part of a high-level restructuring of the Office of the Staff Director. The Compliance Office was set up with four branches: the Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, the Audit Division, the Office of Administrative Review and the Reports Analysis Division.

2007

Commission Replaces Paper Mailings with Email January 1, 2007

The Commission announced that it would send all courtesy materials to committees exclusively by electronic mail. The switch from paper to electronic mail was intended to improve the timeliness of communications with committees, offer opportunities for new types of communications and simplify the process of providing information tailored specifically to each committee's needs, all while saving tax dollars.

Revised Continuing Appropriations Act Resolution, 2007 February 15, 2007

This legislation (Pub. L. No. 110-5) granted the Commission authority to charge fees for conferences and workshops and to use those fees to defray conference costs.

Commission Adopts "Best Efforts" Defense for Administrative Fines Challenges March 22, 2007

The Commission voted to revise its rules to allow committees to use "best efforts" as a defense for challenges in the Administrative Fine Program. To use best efforts as a defense, respondents must demonstrate that they could not file due to reasonably unforeseen circumstances beyond their control, and that they filed the late report within 24 hours after those circumstances ended.

Guidance on Internal Controls and Preventing Embezzlement April 23, 2007

The Commission published guidance for political committees on best practices in setting up internal controls to prevent embezzlement, as well as a statement of policy on reporting errors caused due to misappropriation of funds by committee staff.

Thomasenia Duncan Serves as General Counsel May 9, 2007 - August 19, 2010
Thomasenia (Tommie) Duncan

Thomasenia (Tommie) Duncan

General Counsel Thomasenia (Tommie) Duncan served three years as FEC General Counsel and three years as Associate General Counsel for General Law and Advice. Prior to joining the Commission in February of 2004, Duncan was General Counsel for America's Promise The Alliance for Youth. She continues a distinguished career in government service, including having served as General Counsel of the Corporation for National and Community Service. She began the practice of law with the firm Covington & Burling LLP. Ms. Duncan is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and also attended Yale University Law School.

Presidential Campaign Finance Map Debuts June 13, 2007

The FEC introduced an interactive map on its website that displays individual contributions to Presidential candidates, starting with the 2008 election. With a simple click of the mouse, a user could highlight on the map the amount of money raised on a state-by-state basis. Users also had the option of viewing contributions to specific candidates, all candidates or all candidates from a political party. The map conveniently displayed the total contributions to each candidate, along with their cash on hand and the distribution of their contributions by amount.

Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (WRTL) v. FEC June 25, 2007

The Supreme Court ruled that the electioneering communication financing restrictions were unconstitutional as applied to communications that do not contain express advocacy or its functional equivalent.

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 2008 Presidential Nominating Conventions June 27, 2007

On June 27, 2007, the Commission certified $16.356 million each to each major party's 2008 national convention committee for the party's Presidential nominating convention.

Automated Email Updates August 31, 2007
Automated Email Updates

The Commission launched FECMail, a web-based email service that provided subscribers automatic updates on a variety of campaign finance topics. The new service allowed users to sign-up to receive notification whenever information important to them was added or changed on the Commission's website.

Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 September 14, 2007

The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (Pub. L. No. 110-81)(HLOGA) restricted use of non-commercial aircraft by candidates and federal officeholders, and also required disclosure of contributions raised or bundled by registered lobbyists or PACs controlled by registered lobbyists.

FEC Introduces Online Map to Track U.S. Senate and House Campaign Finances December 17, 2007

An interactive online map unveiled in 2008, uses state and district maps to lead the user to campaign finance data for House and Senate candidates, starting with the 2007-2008 cycle. It allows the user to select candidates for comparison using bar charts to display such financial categories as contribution and disbursement totals, debts and cash-on-hand. It also presents itemized contributions and disbursements by category and includes links to images of reports filed by the candidate and the candidate's committees.

Regulations Implement Supreme Court Decision in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life December 26, 2007

The Commission revised its regulations following the Supreme Court's ruling in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (2007) to state that electioneering communications similar to those in WRTL may be funded with corporate and/or labor funds, but are subject to reporting and disclaimer requirements. The Commission's 2007 regulations included a provision that required corporations or labor organizations that made WRTL-permitted electioneering communications to disclose the name and address of each person who made a donation aggregating $1,000 or more to the corporation or labor organization "for the purpose of furthering electioneering communications." In November 2014, this particular provision was vacated by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Van Hollen v. FEC.

Recess Appointments of Three FEC Commissioners Expire December 31, 2007

Recess appointments of three FEC Commissioners expire at the end of 2007 without Senate confirmation, leaving four seats on the Commission vacant.

2008

FEC Launches Enhanced Presidential Campaign Finance Map May 21, 2008

The Commission introduced an improved version of its Presidential Campaign Finance map. Available on the FEC website, the map includes detailed information on each candidate's campaign expenditures. It also provides a number of enhanced viewing and searching options for information about campaign contributors. These improved features were included on similar maps for U.S. House and Senate campaigns.

Shays v. FEC (Shays III) June 13, 2008

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals remanded several coordination and FEA regulations to the Commission for further rulemaking. The court also upheld the firewall safe harbor for coordination by former employees and vendors. The court overturned regulations permitting federal candidates to solicit funds without restriction at state or local party events.

Obama Becomes First Major Party Candidate to Forego Public Funds in General Election June 19, 2008

Senator Barack Obama announced that he would not participate in the public financing system for Presidential campaigns in the general election. With his decision, Mr. Obama became the first candidate of a major party to decline public financing in the general election - and the spending limits that go with it - since the system was created in 1976.

Davis v. FEC June 26, 2008

The Supreme Court ruled that the Millionaires' Amendment included in BCRA violated the First Amendment rights of self-financed federal candidates.

Cynthia L. Bauerly (D) Serves as Commissioner June, 2008 - February 1, 2013
Commissioner Cynthia L. Bauerly

Commissioner Cynthia L. Bauerly

Cynthia L. Bauerly joined the Commission in 2008 after her appointment received the unanimous consent of the United States Senate. She served as the Commission's Chair during 2011 and as the Commission's Vice Chair for the year 2010. She left the Commission on February 1, 2013.

Commissioner Bauerly has extensive experience in law and public policy, particularly in the areas of election administration, campaign finance, ethics reform, technology, and intellectual property. Prior to her appointment to the Commission, Ms. Bauerly served as Legislative Director for United States Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York. She previously served as counsel on the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committees.

Commissioner Bauerly has also worked in private practice in Minnesota and Washington, DC, specializing in complex litigation and appellate law, with a focus on intellectual property.

Originally from Minnesota, Commissioner Bauerly is a summa cum laude graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. She graduated cum laude from Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington and received a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University's School of Environmental and Public Affairs. She served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Florence-Marie Cooper of the United States District Court for the Central District of California and the Honorable Theodore R. Boehm of the Indiana Supreme Court.

Steven T. Walther (I) Serves as Commissioner (2nd Appointment) June 27, 2008 - Present
Commissioner Steven T. Walther

Commissioner Steven T. Walther

Steven T. Walther was first sworn in as an FEC Commissioner on January 10, 2006, as a recess appointee. Although his name was placed before the Senate for confirmation in June, 2007, his recess term expired on December 31, 2007, before the Senate acted. On June 24, 2008, he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate and sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on June 27, to resume the balance of his statutory term. Mr. Walther served as Vice Chairman of the FEC for the balance of 2008 and served as the Commission's Chairman in 2009.

Prior to joining the FEC as a Commissioner, Mr. Walther practiced law in the Reno, Nevada law firm of Walther, Key, Maupin, Oats, Cox & LeGoy, now known as Maupin, Cox & LeGoy which he co-founded in 1972.

During his legal career Mr. Walther has been active in professional legal and judicial organizations and activities, as well as numerous civic activities. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and currently serves as co-chair of the ABA Center for Human Rights. He has been active in ABA initiatives focusing on international relations, human rights and the rule of law. He was appointed by the ABA President to serve as the ABA Representative to the United Nations. He served on the Executive Board of the ABA Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (CEELI), which oversees the ABA's democracy building programs in over 21 countries—programs which promote development of fair and open election laws. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees and lecturer for the National Judicial College, both in the United States and in Russia. Mr. Walther has lectured extensively, both domestically and internationally (principally in Russia), on rule of law, human rights, litigation and international law issues. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the International Bar Association.

Mr. Walther is a former president of the State Bar of Nevada, the Western States Bar Conference, and the National Caucus of State Bar Associations. He is a past chair of the 6,000 member Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, the legal research arm of the ABA. From 1971 until his FEC appointment, Mr. Walther served as a member of the Nevada State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

He received his J.D. degree from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley in 1968, and recently served as president of the Boalt Hall Alumni Association. He received his undergraduate degree, with a major in Russian, from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1965.

Donald F. McGahn II (R) Serves as Commissioner July 9, 2008 to September 1, 2013

Donald McGahn was sworn into office as an FEC Commissioner on July 9, 2008. Nominated by President Bush on May 6, his appointment received the unanimous consent of the United States Senate on June 24, 2008. He was elected Chairman on July 10, 2008, and served in that capacity for the balance of the calendar year.

Prior to his appointment to the Commission, Mr. McGahn served as head of McGahn & Associates PLLC, a Washington-based law practice specializing in election law. Mr. McGahn has represented federal and state candidates, Members of Congress, political party committees, leadership political action committees (PACs), corporations and corporate PACs, non-profits, trade associations and others involved in issues related to campaign finance law and government ethics. Since 1999, Mr. McGahn served as General Counsel to the National Republican Congressional Committee. He also served as Counsel for the Illinois Republican Party for several years.

Before joining the NRCC, Mr. McGahn practiced law at Patton Boggs LLP in Washington, DC. As a member of the firm's litigation group, he advised and represented elected officials, candidates, national and state parties and others on election law issues. Mr. McGahn has been recognized for his significant pro bono work for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Prior to Patton Boggs LLP, Mr. McGahn served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Charles R. Alexander of the Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania.

Mr. McGahn attended the United States Naval Academy, the University of Notre Dame, Widener University School of Law and the Georgetown University Law Center.

Caroline C. Hunter (R) Serves as Commissioner July, 2008 to Present
Commissioner Caroline C. Hunter

Commissioner Caroline C. Hunter

Commissioner Caroline C. Hunter was nominated to the Commission by President George W. Bush on May 6, 2008. Her appointment was approved by the United States Senate on June 24, 2008.

Ms. Hunter previously served as the Vice-Chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Ms Hunter was nominated to the EAC in 2006 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 15, 2007.

Ms. Hunter previously served as deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from January to October 2006. From 2005 to 2006, she served as executive officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman.

From 2001 to 2005 she was associate counsel and then deputy counsel at the Republican National Committee where she provided guidance on election law and the implementation of the Help America Vote Act.

Ms. Hunter graduated cum laude from the University of Memphis School of Law and received her bachelor of arts degree from The Pennsylvania State University. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two daughters.

Matthew S. Petersen (R) Serves as Commissioner July, 2008 to Present
Commissioner Matthew S. Petersen

Commissioner Matthew S. Petersen

Matthew S. Petersen was nominated to the Commission by President George W. Bush on June 12, 2008, and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on June 24, 2008.

From 2005 until his appointment to the Commission, Mr. Petersen served as Republican chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. In this capacity, Mr. Petersen provided counsel on issues relating to federal campaign finance and election administration laws as well as the Standing Rules of the Senate.

Prior to this, Mr. Petersen served as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration. During his tenure, Mr. Petersen was extensively involved in the crafting of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 ("HAVA") and the House-Senate negotiations that culminated in HAVA's passage. From 1999 to 2002, Mr. Petersen specialized in election and campaign finance law at the law firm of Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, DC

Mr. Petersen received his J.D. in 1999 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a member of the Virginia Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in philosophy from Brigham Young University in 1996. He also received an A.S. with high honors from Utah Valley State College.

2009

Commission Removes Unconstitutional "Millionaires' Amendment" Regulations February 1, 2009

In February 2009, the Commission removed 2003 regulations that had implemented BCRA's so-called "Millionaires' Amendment." This provision increased contribution limits and coordinated party expenditure limits for Senate and House of Representative candidates facing self-financed opponents. The "Millionaires' Amendment" had been found unconstitutional in Davis v. FEC.

FEC Implements Lobbyist Bundling Disclosure Requirements February 3, 2009

The Commission approved regulations to conform to the provisions of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, which mandated enhanced disclosure for lobbyist-bundled contributions. A new form, FEC Form 3L, was created to conform to the new reporting requirements. The FEC also set up a new database of lobbyist-registrant PACs.

Robert A. Hickey Serves as Staff Director February 27, 2009 - October 1, 2009
Robert Hickey

Robert Hickey

Robert A. Hickey became Staff Director in February 2009, after serving in a number of senior positions in the government including Chief of Staff at the National Intelligence University.

Mr. Hickey succeeded Joseph Stoltz, the head of the Commission's Audit Division, who had served as Acting Staff Director since August 2008. Mr. Hickey served in the U.S. Air Force and as a pilot for American Airlines before joining Booz Allen Hamilton. He returned to government service, serving in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and then helping launch the National Intelligence University.

Mr. Hickey graduated with a bachelor's degree in American History from the U. S. Air Force Academy and a master's degree in International Affairs from Oklahoma University.

FEC Launches Lobbyist Bundling Web Page March 13, 2009

The Commission added a new page to its website to aid compliance with the lobbyist bundling disclosure provisions of the Honest Leadership and Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA).

Press Office Introduces Weekly Digest March 15, 2009

The FEC Press Office published its first Weekly Digest summarizing FEC news.

Website Improvement Hearings July 1, 2009

In July and August, 2009, the Commission held public hearings to receive comments on proposed website improvements as part of its Website and Internet Communications Improvement Initiative. The Commission was pursuing several programs to update and improve its website, enable the agency to keep pace with the latest technological developments and facilitate greater information sharing, communication and collaboration on the web.

Electronic Distribution of FEC Record Begins July 5, 2009

The Commission stopped mailing paper copies of its FEC Record newsletter and started distributing it electronically. Electronic distribution was designed to improve efficiency, conserve resources and provide more timely delivery to subscribers.

Commission Adopts Audit Hearing Procedures July 27, 2009

The Commission instituted a program that allows political committees to have a hearing before the Commission prior to the Commission's adoption of a Final Audit Report on the matter. The audit hearings were aimed at providing audited committees with the opportunity to present oral arguments to the Commission directly and to give the Commission an opportunity to ask relevant questions prior to adopting a Final Audit Report.

FEC Launches E-Learning and FECTube Web Pages August 4, 2009

As part of its broad effort to improve Internet communications and better serve the educational needs of the public and the regulated community, the Commission added an E-Learning section to its Educational Outreach web page and launched its own YouTube channel. The E-Learning page offered interactive presentations that allowed users to test their knowledge of the information presented and video workshops, which were hosted on YouTube.

EMILY's List v. FEC September 18, 2009

The D.C. Circuit struck down FEC regulations on how nonconnected PACs allocate funds to finance certain federal and nonfederal election activities, stating that such entities could collect unlimited funds from individuals and nonprofits to make independent expenditures.

FEC Expands Disclosure of Litigation Documents September 24, 2009

The Commission approved a proposal to disclose pleadings from all parties involved in FEC litigation, including documents filed by adverse parties and amici, on its website. The inclusion of a wider range of documents on the FEC's litigation pages is intended to help the public better understand the impact of litigation and is part of the Commission's effort to promote transparency.

FEC Introduces New Formats for Downloading Data Files, Disclosure Data Blog October 26, 2009

The Commission introduced new formats, known as the Data Catalog, for downloading data files from its website that allowed users increased flexibility and choice to customize their searches. The Commission also began a new disclosure data blog to increase the exchange of information between the website's managers and users.

2010

Citizens United v. FEC January 21, 2010

The Supreme Court held that the Act's prohibitions on corporations making independent expenditures and electioneering communications violated the First Amendment; however, the Court upheld applicable reporting and disclaimer requirements.

FEC Introduces New Compliance Map February 3, 2010

The Commission introduced a Compliance Map on its website that set out key dates and timeframes for disclosure of campaign finances in each state. This feature provided a quick reference for citizens and for the candidates, party committees and political action committees participating in elections.

Speechnow.org v. FEC March 26, 2010

The D.C. Circuit held that the Act's limits on the amounts that individuals may contribute to groups that make only independent expenditures violated the First Amendment; however, the Court upheld the organizational and reporting requirements that apply to such political committees.

Commission Amends Allocation Rules and Definition of a Political Committee to Conform with EMILY's List January 1, 2005 (regulation implemented); April 10, 2010 (regulation removed)

The Commission removed a regulation that treated funds received in response to certain solicitations as "contributions," counting toward an organization's threshold for registering as a political committee, as well as two regulations concerning allocation of expenses by PACs, after the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated it in EMILY's List v. FEC (2009).

FEC Website Provides New Candidate Disbursements Feature May 12, 2010

The Commission introduced a new Candidate Disbursements feature on its website, which provided downloads of itemized disbursements reported by U.S. House and Senate candidate committees for the 2010 election cycle. Although disbursement data for House candidates had been previously downloadable from the FEC's website, this new feature provided the public with an easy-to-use, one-step tool for accessing data that up to now had taken several steps to put in searchable form. This also marked the first time that the public had the ability to download Senate candidate data electronically.

Shays III Revisions to Final Rules on Participation by Federal Candidates and Officeholders in Nonfederal Fundraising Events Take Effect June 4, 2010

The Commission approved final rules that cover participation by federal candidates and officeholders at fundraising events that are in connection with an election for federal office or any nonfederal election where funds outside the amount limitations and source prohibitions of federal campaign finance law are solicited. The rule addresses participation at the fundraising event and in publicizing the event.

Regulations to Implement the Honest Leadership and Government Act (HLOGA) of 2007 March 19, 2009 (lobbyist bundling); January 6, 2010 (campaign travel); and June 26, 2010 (revisions to Presidential travel regulation)

Following the passage of HLOGA, the FEC completed two rulemakings that (1) implemented HLOGA's disclosure requirements for certain committees that receive bundled contributions from lobbyists and committees established or controlled by any lobbyist and (2) established new rules relating to travel on private jets by candidates and other "campaign travelers."

FEC Announces New Search System for Audit Reports October 1, 2010

The Commission launched a new search system for accessing audit reports on its website. The Audit Finding Search System allowed users to search all approved audit reports using a two-level listing of categories that helped users narrow their research to the most relevant documents. The results displayed all documents pertaining to the audit report.

FEC Offers Real-Time, Searchable Information on Independent Expenditures October 22, 2010

The Commission introduced a new, searchable feature on its website allowing real-time, comprehensive disclosure of independent expenditures in the 2010 federal campaign. This new feature was part of a far-reaching effort by the agency to expand the use of searchable, sortable and downloadable data technologies to provide timely information to the public.

Shays III Revisions to Final Rules on Coordinated Communications Take Effect December 1, 2010

The 2010 revisions to the coordinated communications regulations added a "content standard" for communications that are the "functional equivalent of express advocacy." The new rules also created a safe harbor for certain business and commercial communications, and provided further explanation and justification for two "conduct standards" in the existing regulations.

Shays III Revisions to Final Rules on "Federal Election Activities" Take Effect December 1, 2010

The Commission modified the definitions of "voter registration activity" and "get-out-the-vote-activity" (GOTV activity) and made other changes in response to the Shays III decision.

2011

Reports Analysis Division Launches Automated Letter Generation System Phase of EReview January 10, 2011

The new system automated the creation, approval, and imaging of RFAIs for the public record. This web-based application that allows the analyst to create RFAIs that can then be automatically submitted to a manager for approval and placed on the FEC website.

FEC Announces New Search System for Rulemaking Documents February 17, 2011

The Searchable Electronic Rulemaking System allowed users to search public documents developed in the course of the Commission's rulemaking process. This system, which could be searched chronologically, by subject or regulation name or number, replaced and expanded upon the Commission's former online rulemaking archive. It also provided a new mechanism for the public to comment on ongoing rulemakings.

Anthony Herman Serves as General Counsel June 15, 2011 - July 5, 2013
Anthony Herman

Anthony Herman

Anthony Herman became General Counsel for the Commission in June 2011. During his tenure as the Commission's General Counsel, Herman led a staff of approximately 115 employees and spearheaded the reorganization of the Office of General Counsel, which is composed of the Divisions of the Deputy General Counsel for Administration, the Deputy General Counsel for Law, as well as the Divisions of Enforcement, Litigation and Policy. Herman came to the Commission from Covington & Burling LLP, where he was a senior litigation partner and served as chair of the firm's Public Service Committee.

Herman received a B.A. from the University of South Carolina and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. After law school, he served as a law clerk in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to the Hon. Irving L. Goldberg and taught constitutional law, and other courses, as a law professor at Florida State University College of Law.

FEC Record Newsletter Becomes Online News Site August 1, 2011

In an effort to provide more timely and user-friendly information, the Commission converted the Record from a print-based online publication to a wholly web-based format that better utilizes the medium.

Alec Palmer Serves as Staff Director August 3, 2011 - Present
Alec Palmer Staff Director

Alec Palmer Staff Director

The Commission named D. Alec Palmer to be the agency's new Staff Director. Palmer, who served as Acting Staff Director, also will continue his responsibilities as the agency's Chief Information Officer (CIO).

Palmer came to the Commission in 2003 as CIO. In that role, he has created new information technology initiatives that were designed to improve the agency's operating efficiency along with its disclosure and transparency practices. He drove efforts that allowed for the development of new website tools including the addition of the popular campaign finance maps to the Commission's website, the real-time disclosure of independent expenditures, publishing of enforcement case files dating back to 1975, the expansion of the advisory opinion search feature and a new searchable rulemaking system.

Prior to joining the Commission, Palmer had 15 years of CIO experience, and has provided leadership to senior management professionals in the public service, hospitality, oil and gas, high-tech manufacturing, financial services, publishing and healthcare industries. Alec received his bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University.

As Staff Director, Palmer serves as the chief administration and management officer for more than 350 employees and six Commissioners. The position is one of three statutory positions at the Commission.

Carey v. FEC August 19, 2011

The FEC entered into a consent judgement stating that it would no longer enforce provisions of the Act against nonconnected political committees that wished to accept contributions of unlimited amounts, deposit such contributions into a separate "Non-Contribution Account," and use those funds to finance independent expenditures.

Reports Analysis Division Begins Emailing RFAIs October 28, 2011

The Reports Analysis Division implemented a process to send Requests for Additional Information (RFAIs) via email, to provide faster and more convenient notification to committees.

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 2012 Presidential Nominating Conventions November 8, 2011

On November 8, 2011, the Commission certified $17,689,800 each to each major party's 2012 national convention committee for the party's Presidential nominating convention.

Beta Mobile Interface December 30, 2011
FEC Mobile Beta Website

FEC Mobile Beta Website

The FEC released the first in a series of FEC Mobile beta web pages designed to run on mobile devices. These beta web pages provided easier public access to campaign finance data and information about Commission activities.

2012

RAD Launches FAQ Web Page February 6, 2012

The Reports Analysis Division posted a web page to answer frequently asked questions (FAQ's) about reporting issues, Requests for Additional Information (RFAI's) and other RAD processes.

FEC Launches New Campaign Finance Disclosure Website Portal March 22, 2012

The Commission introduced a new campaign finance disclosure portal to simplify access to the wide range of disclosure data available on the agency's website.

The disclosure portal provided a single point of entry to federal campaign finance data. It featured easily navigable maps, as well as a variety of search tools to help users make the best use of the Commission's data sources. Users could download many of the data sets available through the Disclosure Portal to perform their own analyses.

FEC Releases Documents On Enforcement and Compliance Practices May 23, 2012

The Commission made public a collection of internal documents concerning the agency's enforcement and compliance practices. Disclosure of the documents followed oversight hearings on November 3, 2011, before the Subcommittee on Elections of the House of Representatives Committee on House Administration.

RAD Review and Referral Procedures Made Public May 23, 2012

RAD makes its determinations for sending RFAIs and referring a committee for further action based on Commission-approved thresholds contained in the RAD Review and Referral Procedures. This and other documents describing the agency's policies and procedures were made public, subject to limited redactions, following an oversight hearing on November 3, 2011 before the Subcommittee on Elections of the House of Representatives Committee on House Administration.

Two New Disclosure Tools Unveiled September 20, 2012

The FEC introduced the Candidate and Committee Viewer search system to simplify access to campaign finance data. The Viewer allowed users to find campaign finance activity of any federal candidate, political committee, independent expenditure report filer or other report filer through a single search portal instead of conducting multiple searches in different databases on the website. The Viewer brought together cycle-to-date summaries, report summaries, images of reports and statements and downloadable electronic filings to produce an overview of each committee, and it provided both dynamic graphic charts and complete data sets in a downloadable, spreadsheet format to allow users to drill down to and analyze specific transactions. An introductory video provided an overview of the Viewer's main features.

The Commission also updated its Electronic Filing RSS feed to notify subscribers when a filer has sent a new report or document electronically to the Commission. Users could subscribe to six pre-established RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds: new electronic filings, monthly filings, quarterly filings, presidential filings, congressional filings and PAC and party filings. Alternatively, subscribers could customize their feeds by committee identification number, state or district. Additional subscription options were based on filers' party affiliation and report type. An online user guide offered further guidance on using the RSS feed.

2013

Online E-Filing Password System Developed May 15, 2013

The Commission developed and implemented a self-assigning password system. The system allows committees to request or change an electronic filing password online, automating the prior process of submitting password requests via fax or mail.

Press Office Upgrades Media Web Page June 20, 2013

The revamped Press Office page was designed to help the public, including researchers, academics and media, find information on the Commission and campaign finance law and to locate statistical data more quickly and easily.

Lee E. Goodman (R) Serves as Commissioner October 22, 2013 - Present
Commissioner Lee E. Goodman

Commissioner Lee E. Goodman

Lee E. Goodman was appointed to the Commission by President Barack Obama on October 21, 2013, and sworn into office on October 22, 2013. President Obama nominated Commissioner Goodman, a Republican, on June 24, 2013, on the recommendation of Senator Mitch McConnell and he was confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on September 23, 2013. Commissioner Goodman served as Chairman of the Commission in 2014 and Vice Chairman in 2013.

Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Goodman practiced election law in private practice for the better part of two decades and served in a number of governmental and political posts. In private practice, he represented candidates, public officials, political parties, political action committees, non-profit organizations, and media companies in addressing a wide range of laws regulating their political activities and speech. He advised four presidential campaigns from 2007 to 2012. He served as general counsel of the Republican Party of Virginia (2009-2013). He also represented non-political clients in addressing other regulatory and public policy issues.

His prior government service includes four years as legal counsel and policy advisor to the Governor of Virginia (1998-2002) and three years as counsel and special assistant to the Attorney General of Virginia (1995-1997). He served as chief advisor to the Chairman of the Congressional Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce (1999-2000).

Mr. Goodman has authored several articles on election law, including a chapter on regulation of political speech on the Internet in the book Law and Election Politics - The Rules of the Game (Routledge 2013), and he has lectured frequently on election law topics. He has served on the boards of several political, educational and cultural non-profit organizations. He is recognized as a national expert in close elections, recounts and election administration.

He received his B.A. with highest distinction in 1986 from the University of Virginia, where he double majored in American government and rhetoric & communication studies. He received his J.D. in 1990 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as Articles Editor for the U.Va. Journal of Law & Politics.

Ann Ravel (D) Serves as Commissioner October 25, 2013 - Present
Commissioner Ann Ravel

Commissioner Ann Ravel

Commissioner Ann M. Ravel is Chair of the Commission for 2015. Ms. Ravel was nominated to the Commission by President Barack Obama on June 21, 2013. After her appointment received the unanimous consent of the United States Senate, Ms. Ravel joined the Commission on October 25, 2013. She served as Vice Chair for 2014.

From March 2011 until her appointment to the Commission, Ms. Ravel served as Chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), to which Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. appointed her. At the FPPC, Ms. Ravel oversaw the regulation of campaign finance, lobbyist registration and reporting, and ethics and conflicts of interest related to officeholders and public employees. During her tenure at the FPPC, Ms. Ravel was instrumental in the creation of the States' Unified Network (SUN) Center, a web-based center for sharing information on campaign finance.

Before joining the FPPC, Ms. Ravel served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Torts and Consumer Litigation in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice. Ms. Ravel also worked as an attorney in the Santa Clara County Counsel's Office, ultimately serving as the appointed County Counsel from 1998 until 2009. Ms. Ravel represented the County and its elected officials, provided advice on the state Political Reform Act, and initiated groundbreaking programs in elder abuse litigation, educational rights, and consumer litigation on behalf of the Santa Clara County government and the community.

Ms. Ravel has served as an elected Governor on the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California, a member of the Judicial Council of the State of California, and Chair of the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation. In 2007, the State Bar of California named Ms. Ravel Public Attorney of the Year for her contributions to public service.

Ms. Ravel received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.

Congress Extends Administrative Fine Program to 2018 December 26, 2013

Congress amended the Federal Election Campaign Act to extend through December 31, 2018, the authority of the Commission to impose civil money penalties. The legislation also expanded this authority to certain other violations, such as filing independent expenditure reports late.

2014

McCutcheon v. FEC April 2, 2014

The Supreme Court held that the Act's aggregate limits on the amount an individual may contribute during a two-year period to all federal candidates, political parties, and other political committees violated the First Amendment.

Legislation Ends Public Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions April 3, 2014

President Obama signed the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act (Pub. L. No. 113-94), ending the public funding of national nominating conventions.

RAD Customer Service Survey July 22, 2014

The Reports Analysis Division (RAD) sent a survey via email to all filers to identify opportunities to improve RAD's customer service and outreach.

FEC Hosts Public Forum on Website Improvement August 14, 2014

The Commission hosted a forum, seeking broad public input for its effort to improve access to campaign finance data and information through a redesign of the FEC.gov website.

Legislation Creates New National Party Limits December 16, 2014

The 2014 appropriations act (Pub. L. No. 113-483) included provisions that amended the FECA to permit national party committees to raise up to three times their applicable contribution limits for each of the following accounts: a presidential nominating convention account; a national party headquarters building fund account; and an election recount expenses account. Only the national committee of a political party (but not the congressional campaign committee of a national party) is authorized to maintain a presidential nominating convention account.

Commission Publishes McCutcheon Rules Removing Aggregate Individual Limits December 24, 2014

Final regulations conforming to the Supreme Court's decision in McCutcheon v. FEC were published in the Federal Register. The revised rules removed the aggregate limits on contributions by individuals. An additional Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking sought comments on related issues.

2015

Commission Replaces DC Seminars and Workshops with Webinars January 9, 2015

The FEC announced it would expand its online training opportunities and replace its in-house seminars and workshops with webinars. The move reflected the trend in attendance numbers for in-person and online training sessions, as well as the FEC's desire to increase training opportunities for committees by eliminating travel time and expense.

Citizens United Rules Permitting Corporate and Labor Expenditures Take Effect January 27, 2015

Final regulations conforming to the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC were published in the Federal Register on October 21, 2014, and took effect on January 27, 2015. The rules permit corporations and labor organizations to make independent expenditures and electioneering communications.

FEC Offers Live Video of Public Meetings February 11, 2015

The Commission launched a live online video stream of all of its public meetings, complete with captions for the hearing impaired.

FEC Launches Webforms 1 and 2 March 4, 2015

The FEC launched Webforms 1 and 2, enabling most candidates and committee to register online.


Commission

+ expand all

1975

FEC Opens Its Doors April 14, 1975
Original FEC building, 1325 K Street, N.W.

Original FEC building, 1325 K Street, N.W.

From 1975-1986, the FEC was located at 1325 K Street, N.W. in Washington, DC.

First Commissioners Sworn in at White House Ceremony April 14, 1975
(L to R) President Gerald R. Ford, Commissioners Thomas B. Curtis, Joan D. Aikens, Vernon W. Thomson, Thomas E. Harris, Neil O. Staebler, and Robert O. Tiernan

(L to R) President Gerald R. Ford, Commissioners Thomas B. Curtis, Joan D. Aikens, Vernon W. Thomson,
Thomas E. Harris, Neil O. Staebler, and Robert O. Tiernan

First Commissioners sworn in at White House ceremony. The Commissioners held their first meeting later that day.

Thomas B. Curtis (R) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - May 21, 1976
Commissioner Thomas B. Curtis

Commissioner Thomas B. Curtis

Commissioner Thomas B. Curtis was the first FEC Chairman. A Republican from Missouri, Mr. Curtis served in the House from 1951-69. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the Senate against Democrat Thomas F. Eagleton in 1968 and 1974. A former vice president and general counsel for the "Encyclopedia Britannica," Curtis chaired the Federal Rent Advisory Board (1971-73), the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (1972-73) and the Twentieth Century Fund's Task Force on Financing Congressional Campaigns (1970). He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1932 and received his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 1935. He was originally appointed for six years.

Neil O. Staebler (D) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - October 25, 1978
Commissioner Neil O. Staebler

Commissioner Neil O. Staebler

Commissioner Neil O. Staebler was the Commission's first Vice Chairman. Mr. Staebler was formerly chairman of the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee (1950-61), a member of the National Democratic Committee (1965-68 and 1972-75), a one-term Member of the House (1963-65) and a gubernatorial candidate in 1964 against former Governor George W. Romney. He served on President Kennedy's Commission on Campaign Financing in 1961 and was vice chairman of the 1970 Twentieth Century Task Force on Financing Congressional Campaigns.

Mr. Staebler graduated from the University of Michigan in 1926. Originally appointed to the Commission for three years in 1975, he was reappointed upon reconstitution for a one-year term. Although Commissioner Staebler's term expired on April 30, 1977, he continued to serve actively on the Commission until the "recess appointment" of Commissioner John W. McGarry on October 25, 1978.

Vernon W. Thomson (R) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - July 31, 1979
Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson

Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson

Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson, the Commission's second chairman, was a Republican Member of Congress from Wisconsin from 1961-75. Before that, he was his state's Governor (1957-59), Attorney General (1951-57) and a member of the state legislature (1935-49). He holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and is a graduate of its law school. He was originally appointed for five years and for three years when the Commission was reconstituted.

Robert O. Tiernan (R) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - December 17, 1981
Commissioner Robert O. Tiernan

Commissioner Robert O. Tiernan

Commissioner Robert O. Tiernan was sworn in to the Commission on April 14, 1975. Previously, he served as a Democratic Member of Congress from Rhode Island for eight years. He had also served as a state legislator for seven years.

An attorney, Mr. Tiernan graduated from Providence College and Catholic University Law School and was admitted to practice in all federal courts, the State of Rhode Island and the District of Columbia. He also held various national and state party positions. He was one of the six original Commissioners appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975.

Thomas E. Harris (D) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - October 14, 1986
Commissioner Thomas E. Harris

Commissioner Thomas E. Harris

Commissioner Thomas E. Harris, was associate general counsel to the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC, from 1955-75. He had held the same position with the CIO from 1948 until it merged with the AFL in 1955. Prior to that he was an attorney in private practice and with various government agencies. A native of Little Rock and a 1932 graduate of the University of Arkansas, Mr. Harris is a 1935 graduate of Columbia University Law School, where he was on the Law Review and was a Kent Scholar. After graduation, he clerked one year for Supreme Court Justice Harlan F. Stone. He was originally appointed for four years and upon reconstitution received a three-year appointment.

Joan D. Aikens (R) Serves as Commissioner April 14, 1975 - September 18, 1998
Commissioner Joan D. Aikens

Commissioner Joan D. Aikens

Commissioner Joan D. Aikens, a Republican, was first appointed to the Commission in March 1975. Following the reconstitution of the FEC that resulted from the Supreme Court's Buckley v. Valeo decision, President Ford reappointed her to a five-year term. She served as FEC Chair between May 1978 and May 1979. In 1983, President Reagan reappointed Mrs. Aikens, this time for a six-year term. She was reappointed by President Bush in 1989. Mrs. Aikens served as FEC Chair between May 1978 and May 1979, and again in 1986, 1992 and 1998.

Before serving on the Commission, Mrs. Aikens was Vice President of Lew Hodges/Communications, a public relations firm located in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. From 1972 until 1974, she was president of the Pennsylvania Council of Republican Women and served on the board of directors of the National Federation of Republican Women. She served as Alternate Delegate-at-Large to the 1972 Republican National Convention and, at the time of her appointment to the Commission, she was a member of the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee. She was also active in a variety of other volunteer organizations. A native of Delaware County, Pennsylvania, Mrs. Aikens received her B.A. and honorary Doctor of Law degree from Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA.

In this video clip from 1991, Commissioner Aikens offers a concise description of the FEC's mission.

Orlando B. Potter Serves as Staff Director April 23, 1975 - July 4, 1980

Before joining the Commission, Orlando Potter was consultant to the Secretary of the U.S. Senate in the administration of campaign disclosure laws. Prior to that he was legislative assistant to U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, and in 1968 was a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives from New York. Mr. Potter previously was a Washington correspondent and editorial writer for the Providence (R.I.) Journal Bulletin. A 1950 graduate of Hamilton College, Mr. Potter also holds a Masters Degree from Yale University. He received a congressional staff fellowship from the American Political Science Association in 1970, and did graduate work in computer science at American University.

John G. Murphy, Jr. Serves as General Counsel May 1, 1975 - December, 1976
John G. Murphy Jr.

John G. Murphy Jr.

John G. Murphy, Jr. came to the Commission from the Georgetown University Law Center, where he is a tenured professor specializing in constitutional law. While on leave from Georgetown, Mr. Murphy advised the Faculty of Law of the Lebanese National University in Beirut for the Ford Foundation. Earlier he served as a consultant to OEO and HEW on developing legal services programs. The General Counsel graduated from Harvard in 1958 and from the Georgetown University Law Center in 1961. He served as editor of the Georgetown Law Journal and, later, as law clerk to the then U.S. District Court of Appeals judge Warren E. Burger.

1976

FEC's Executive Powers Temporarily Suspended March 22 - May 21, 1976

As a result of the Supreme Court's decision in Buckley v. Valeo, the Commission's executive powers were suspended from March 22, 1976, until President Ford reappointed the Commissioners on May 21, 1976.

Justice Brennan Delivers Oath to FEC Commissioners after Reconstitution May 21, 1976
(L to R) Associate Justice William J. Brennan Jr., Robert O. Tiernan, Neil O. Staebler, Thomas E. Harris, William L. Springer, Joan D. Aikens, President Gerald R. Ford

(L to R) Associate Justice William J. Brennan Jr., Robert O. Tiernan, Neil O. Staebler, Thomas E. Harris, William L. Springer, Joan D. Aikens, President Gerald R. Ford

President Gerald R. Ford delivered the following remarks at the White House ceremony:

"I think this is a very good day for the country and for the political process that we're going through at the present time. At long, long last, after many regrettable delays, we are finally putting the Federal Election Commission back into business.

The significance of today, however, is that once again we have a watchdog to ensure that the election process proceeds as fairly and as honestly as possible in full accord with the law.

By their actions, the members of this Commission whom we are swearing in today can do a great deal to build and to restore public trust in the political process. This is one of the greatest contributions that anyone can make in public life in America.

So, all of us wish you the very best and wish you well as you begin your work once again."

Citation: Gerald R. Ford: "Remarks at the Swearing In of the Six Members of the Federal Election Commission.," May 21, 1976. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=6023.

William L. Springer (R) Serves as Commissioner May 21, 1976 - February, 1979
Commissioner William L. Springer

Commissioner William L. Springer

Commissioner William L. Springer served as State's Attorney of Champaign County, Illinois, 1940 to 1942. After military service in the Navy, he returned to Champaign, Illinois, and served as County Judge from 1946 to 1950. In 1950 he was elected to the 82nd Congress and was reelected to each succeeding Congress from the 22nd Congressional District of Illinois until his retirement at the close of the 92nd Congress. President Nixon appointed him to be a Commissioner of the Federal Power Commission in 1973. He resigned in December 1975 and was appointed to the FEC by President Ford in 1976. Mr. Springer is a graduate of DePauw University and the University of Illinois Law School. He received LL.D. degrees from Millikin University in 1953, Lincoln College in 1966, and DePauw University in 1972.

1977

William C. Oldaker Serves as General Counsel January 1, 1977 - October 1, 1979

William C. Oldaker began serving as General Counsel on January 1, 1977, after being Assistant General Counsel. for Compliance and Litigation since 1975. Holding B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Iowa, he also attended the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago. Prior to coming to the Commission, Mr. Oldaker served with the Federal Communications Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

1978

John Warren McGarry (D) Serves as Commissioner October 25, 1978 - August 11, 1998
Commissioner John Warren McGarry

Commissioner John Warren McGarry

Commissioner John Warren McGarry was appointed to the FEC under the "recess appointment" clause of the U.S. Constitution on October 25, 1978. He was reappointed in 1983 and 1989. He served as FEC Chairman in 1981, 1985, 1991 and 1997. Before his Commission appointment, Commissioner McGarry served as special counsel on elections to the House Administration Committee. He previously combined private law practice with service as chief counsel to the House Special Committee to Investigate Campaign Expenditures, a special committee established by Congress every election year through 1972. Before his work with Congress, Commissioner McGarry was the Massachusetts assistant attorney general. After graduating cum laude from Holy Cross College, Commissioner McGarry did graduate work at Boston University and earned a J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law School.

1979

Max L. Friedersdorf (R) Serves as Commissioner March 1, 1979 to December 16, 1980
Commissioner Max L. Friedersdorf

Commissioner Max L. Friedersdorf

Commissioner Max L. Friedersdorf, served as Staff Director of the Senate Republican Policy Committee from January 1977 until his appointment to the Commission in February 1979. A native of Indiana, Mr. Friedersdorf received his B.A. from Franklin College in 1952 and earned an M.A. from American University in 1970. He pursued a journalism career in Indiana before serving as administrative assistant and press secretary for former Congressman Richard L. Roudebush (R-Ind.) from 1961 to 1970. In 1970, he was Director of Congressional Relations for the Office of Economic Opportunity. From 1971 to 1977, Mr. Friedersdorf served in several White House posts. He was Deputy Assistant for Congressional Affairs to President Nixon from 1971 to 1974. He continued as Deputy Assistant to President Ford until 1975, when he became the President's Assistant for Legislative Affairs.

Frank P. Reiche (R) Serves as Commissioner July 31, 1979 to August 9, 1985
Commissioner Frank P. Reiche

Commissioner Frank P. Reiche

On July 31, 1979, Commissioner Frank P. Reiche of Princeton, New Jersey, was sworn into office as an FEC Commissioner by Supreme Court Justice William R. Rehnquist. The ceremony took place at the FEC. Mr. Reiche replaced Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson whose term had expired.

Mr. Reiche was born in Hartford, Connecticut. He received his A.B. from Williams College in 1951 and an M.A. in Foreign Affairs from George Washington University in 1959. An attorney specializing in taxation, Mr. Reiche graduated from Columbia Law School in 1959, and received a Master of Laws degree in Taxation from New York University in 1966. Mr. Reiche was with the Princeton firm of Smith, Stratton, Wise and Heher from 1962 until his appointment to the Commission.

Mr. Reiche was a member of New Jersey Governor William T. Cahill's Tax Policy Committee from 1970 to 1972. Governor Cahill appointed Mr. Reiche Chairman of the first New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission in 1973; he was reappointed as Chairman by Governor Brendan Byrne in 1975. The Commission is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the New Jersey campaign finance disclosure act. Prior to that, Mr. Reiche served in a variety of Republican party positions, including eight years as a Republican county committeeman.

Charles N. Steele Serves as General Counsel December 6, 1979 - March 1, 1987
Charles N. Steele, 1982

Charles N. Steele, 1982

Mr. Steele became General Counsel in December 1979, after serving as Acting General Counsel during November of that year and as Associate General Counsel for Enforcement and Litigation between April 1977 and October 1979. He received a B.A. from Harvard College in 1960 and an LL.B. from Harvard Law School in 1965. Before joining the Commission in 1976, Mr. Steele was a staff attorney with the appellate court branch of the National Labor Relations Board.

1980

B. Allen Clutter, III Serves as Staff Director September 15, 1980 - May 15, 1983
B. Allen Clutter III, 1982

B. Allen Clutter III, 1982

Before joining the Commission, B. Allen Clutter, III was the executive director of the Minnesota Ethical Practices Board and also served as faculty member of the Hamline University Law School. Prior to this, Mr. Clutter was an assistant professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy and served with the Air Force administrative units in Thailand and California. He also worked with the World Press Institute of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. A native of Oskaloosa, Iowa, he received a graduate degree in geography from Eastern Michigan University and attended business administration courses at the University of Colorado. Mr. Clutter was listed among the Outstanding Young Men in America in 1978.

1981

Vernon W. Thomson (R) Serves Interim Appointment as Commissioner January 2, 1981 - December 17, 1981
Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson

Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson

Commissioner Vernon W. Thomson, the Commission's second chairman, was a Republican Member of Congress from Wisconsin from 1961-75. Before that, he was his State's Governor (1957-59), Attorney General (1951-57) and a member of the State legislature (1935-49). He earned a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and graduated from its law school. He was originally appointed for five years and for three years when the Commission was reconstituted.

Lee Ann Elliott (R) Serves as Commissioner December 17, 1981 - June 1, 2000
Commissioner Lee Ann Elliott

Commissioner Lee Ann Elliott

Commissioner Lee Ann Elliott was first appointed in 1981 and reappointed in 1987 and 1994. She served as Chairman in 1984, 1990 and 1996. Before her first appointment, Commissioner Elliott was vice president of a political consulting firm, Bishop, Bryant & Associates, Inc. From 1961 to 1979, she was an executive of the American Medical Political Action Committee. Commissioner Elliott was on the board of directors of the American Association of Political Consultants and on the board of the Chicago Area Public Affairs Group, of which she is a past president. She was also a member of the Public Affairs Committee of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. In 1979, she received the Award for Excellence in Serving Corporate Public Affairs from the National Association of Manufacturers.

A native of St. Louis, Commissioner Elliott graduated from the University of Illinois. She is a Certified Association Executive, an author, lecturer, educator and patent holder.

Danny L. McDonald (D) Serves as Commissioner December 17, 1981 - January 4, 2006
Commissioner Danny L. McDonald

Commissioner Danny L. McDonald

Commissioner Danny L. McDonald, a Democrat, originally was nominated to the Commission by President Ronald Reagan in December 1981, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in July 1982. He served as FEC Chairman in 1983, 1989, 1995, and 2001.

Prior to his initial appointment in 1981, the Sand Springs, Oklahoma, native served as General Administrator of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Additionally, he served as Secretary of the Tulsa County Election Board and as Chief Clerk of that Board. He was also a member of the Advisory Panel to the FEC's National Clearinghouse on Election Administration. Commissioner McDonald received a B. A. Degree from Oklahoma State University and attended the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has served as a member of the JFK School Advisory Board for State and Local Government.

1983

John C. Surina Serves as Staff Director July 25, 1983 - July 31, 1998
John C. Surina, Staff Director

John C. Surina, Staff Director

Before joining the Commission in July 1983, John C. Surina was assistant managing director of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC), where he was detailed to the "Reform 88" program at the Office of Management and Budget. In that role, he worked on projects to reform administrative management within the federal government. From 1973 to 1980, Mr. Surina served the ICC in other capacities. Between 1972 and 1973 he was an expert consultant to the Office of Control and Operations, EOP-Cost of Living Council-Pay Board. He was previously on the technical staff of the Computer Sciences Corporation. Mr. Surina joined the U.S. Army in 1966, completing his service in 1970 as executive officer of the Special Security Office. In that position, he supported senior U.S. delegates to NATO's civil headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. A native of Alexandria, Virginia, Mr. Surina holds a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. He also attended East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, and American University in Washington, DC

1985

Thomas J. Josefiak (R) Serves as Commissioner August 9, 1985 - January, 1992
Commissioner Thomas J. Josefiak

Commissioner Thomas J. Josefiak

Commissioner Thomas J. Josefiak was appointed to the Commission in 1985 and was the 1988 FEC Chairman. He previously served at the Commission as Special Deputy to the Secretary of the Senate. Before assuming that post in 1981, he was legal counsel to the National Republican Congressional Committee. His past experience also includes positions held at the U.S. House of Representatives. He was minority special counsel for federal election law on the Committee on House Administration, U.S. House of Representatives and served as legislative assistant to the late Congressman Silvio O. Conte.

A native of Massachusetts, Mr. Josefiak graduated from Fairfield University, Connecticut, and earned a J.D. degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

1986

FEC Completes Move to New Headquarters February 18, 1986
FEC Headquarters 999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC

FEC Headquarters 999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC

The Commission completed its move from K Street to a new headquarters building at 999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC on February 18, 1986.

Scott E. Thomas (D) Serves as Commissioner October 7, 1986 - January 4, 2006
Commissioner Scott E. Thomas

Commissioner Scott E. Thomas

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, 1999 and 2005. He 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.

FEC Commissioners Group Photo November 4, 1986
(L to R) Sitting - Vice Chairman John Warren McGarry and Chairwoman Joan D. Aikens. Standing - Senate Ex Officio Scott Morgan, Commissioners Danny L. McDonald, Lee Ann Elliott, Scott E. Thomas, Thomas J. Josefiak and House Ex-Officio Douglas Patton

(L to R) Sitting - Vice Chairman John Warren McGarry and Chairwoman Joan D. Aikens. Standing - Senate Ex Officio Scott Morgan, Commissioners Danny L. McDonald, Lee Ann Elliott, Scott E. Thomas, Thomas J. Josefiak and House Ex-Officio Douglas Patton

1987

Lawrence M. Noble Serves as General Counsel October 6, 1987 - January 1, 2001
Lawrence M. Noble

Lawrence M. Noble

Lawrence M. Noble became General Counsel in 1987, after serving as Acting General Counsel. He joined the Commission in 1977, becoming the Deputy General Counsel in 1983. He previously served as Assistant General Counsel for Litigation and as a litigation attorney. Before his FEC service, he was an attorney with the Aviation Consumers Action Project. A native of New York, Mr. Noble holds a degree in political science from Syracuse University and a J.D. degree from the National Law Center at George Washington University. He is a member of the bars for the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit and the District of Columbia. He is also a member of the American and District of Columbia Bar Associations.

1989

FEC Delegation Visits USSR June 4 - 14, 1989

At the invitation of the Central Electoral Commission of the USSR, a 12-person delegation of Commissioners and FEC staff visited the Soviet Union to exchange information and ideas on the electoral process with government officials and academics.

USSR Delegation Visits FEC November 2 - 11, 1989
CEC Chairman Vladimir Orlov and FEC Chairman Danny Lee McDonald

L to R - CEC Chairman Vladimir Orlov, FEC Chairman Danny Lee McDonald

A delegation from the USSR's Central Electoral Commission visited the US to exchange information and ideas on the electoral process with government officials and academics.

1990

Lynne A. McFarland Serves as Inspector General February 9, 1990 - Present
Lynne A. McFarland Inspector General

Lynne A. McFarland Inspector General

Lynne A. McFarland was appointed by the Commission to serve as the agency's first permanent Inspector General on February 9, 1990.

Ms. McFarland was responsible for establishing the Office of Inspector General (OIG) in the Commission from the ground up. This required staffing the office with the appropriate skill sets, ensuring the necessary policies and procedures were created, and creating an initial audit/work universe. As with all IGs, she has dual reporting responsibilities to Congress and the head of the agency, in this instance six presidentially appointed Commissioners.

Ms. McFarland has been actively involved in the Inspector General community, serving on the committee that provided the groundwork for the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) operations once the Inspector General Reform Act was passed by Congress and signed by the President. She is a past Vice Chair of the Professional Development Committee and is currently a member of the committee. Ms. McFarland also served as CIGIE Vice Chair from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2014.

Ms. McFarland is Chair of the Inspector General Recommendation Panel which receives resumes from those interested in presidentially or agency appointed inspector general positions. The panel reviews the resumes, along with a questionnaire all applicants are asked to complete, and forwards those applicants to the White House Office of Personnel that would appear to be qualified candidates for their consideration. The panel also provides assistance to those agencies that select their own IGs through their competitive process.

1992

Trevor Potter (R) Serves as Commissioner January 1, 1992 - October, 1995
Commissioner Trevor Potter

Commissioner Trevor Potter

Trevor Potter was confirmed by the Senate as a Commissioner in November of 1991. He served as FEC Chairman in 1994.

Before his appointment, Mr. Potter specialized in campaign and election law as a partner in a Washington, DC law firm. His previous experience in government includes serving as Assistant General Counsel at the Federal Communications Commission from 1984 to 1985 and as a Department of Justice attorney from 1982 to 1984.

Mr. Potter graduated from Harvard College. He earned his J.D. degree at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Virginia Journal of International Law and was a member of the order of the Coif. He served as vice chairman of the American Bar Association Committee on Election Law, Administrative Law Section.

FEC Commissioners Group Photo December 3, 1992
(L to R) Sitting - Chairwoman Joan D. Aikens, Vice Chairman Scott E. Thomas. Standing - Commissioners Danny L. McDonald, Trevor Potter, John W. McGarry, Lee Ann Elliott, Senate Ex-Officio David G. Gartner

(L to R) Sitting - Chair Joan D. Aikens, Vice Chairman Scott E. Thomas. Standing - Commissioners Danny L. McDonald, Trevor Potter, John W. McGarry, Lee Ann Elliott, Senate Ex-Officio David G. Gartner

1993

Commission Reconstitutes Itself as Six-Member Body Due to Ruling in FEC v. NRA Political Victory Fund October 26, 1994

In October 1993, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the composition of the Commission "violates the Constitution's separation of powers" because Congress "placed its agents, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives, on the independent Commission as non-voting ex officio members." In response, the Commission voted October 26, 1993, to reconstitute itself as a six-member body.

1997

Legislation Limits Commissioners to One Term in Office Enacted October 10, 1997; Effective After December 31, 1997

The Treasury and Government Appropriations Act, 1998, Pub. L. No. 105-61, Sec. 512, signed into law on October 10, 1997, contained a clause that limited FEC Commissioners to a single term of six years. The amendment applied to individuals nominated by the President after December 31, 1997.

1998

James A. Pehrkon Serves as Staff Director April 14, 1998 - December 15, 2005
James A. Pehrkon, 2001

James A. Pehrkon, 2001

James A. Pehrkon became Staff Director on April 14, 1999, after serving as Acting Staff Director for eight months. Prior to that, Mr. Pehrkon served for 18 years as the Commission's Deputy Staff Director with responsibilities for managing the FEC's budget, administration and computer systems. Among the agency's first employees, Mr. Pehrkon is credited with setting up the FEC's Data Systems Development Division. He directed the data division before assuming his duties as Deputy Staff Director. An Austin, Texas, native, Mr. Pehrkon received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University and did graduate work in foreign affairs at Georgetown University

Darryl R. Wold (R) Serves as Commissioner July, 1998 - April 1, 2002
Commissioner Darryl R. Wold

Commissioner Darryl R. Wold

Darryl R. Wold was nominated to the Commission by President Clinton on November 5, 1997, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 30, 1998. He served as Chairman in 2000.

Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Wold had been in private law practice in Orange County, California, since 1974. In addition to his own practice, he was counsel to Reed and Davidson, a California law firm, for election law litigation and enforcement defense matters. Mr. Wold's practice included representing candidates, ballot measure committees, political action committees and others with responsibilities under federal, state and local election laws. Mr. Wold's business practice emphasized business litigation and counseling closely-held companies.

Commissioner Wold graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna College in California and earned an LL.B. from Stanford University. He is a member of the California and U.S. Supreme Court bars. Commissioner Wold departed from the Commission on April 1, 2002.

David M. Mason (R) Serves as Commissioner August 6, 1998 - July, 2008
Commissioner David M. Mason

Commissioner David M. Mason

David M. Mason was nominated to the Commission by President William Clinton on March 4, 1998 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 30, 1998. He was nominated for a second term by President George W. Bush on December 19, 2005. He served as Chairman in 2002 and 2008.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Mason was Senior Fellow in Congressional Studies at the Heritage Foundation. He joined Heritage in 1990 and served at various times as Director of Executive Branch Liaison, Director of the Foundation's U.S. Congress Assessment Project, and Vice President, Government Relations.

Commissioner Mason served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, where he managed the Pentagon's relations with the U.S. House of Representatives. One of his major accomplishments there was guiding base closing legislation to a successful conclusion.

He has served on Capitol Hill, as a Legislative Assistant to Senator John Warner, Legislative Director to Representative Tom Bliley, and Staff Director to then-House Republican Whip Trent Lott. He was active as a staffer and volunteer in numerous Congressional, Senate, Gubernatorial and Presidential campaigns, and was himself the Republican nominee for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 48th District in 1982.

Commissioner Mason attended Lynchburg College in Virginia and graduated cum laude from Claremont McKenna College in California.

Karl J. Sandstrom (D) Serves as Commissioner August, 1998 - December 9, 2002
Commissioner Karl J. Sandstrom

Commissioner Karl J. Sandstrom

Commissioner Karl J. Sandstrom, a Democrat, was nominated to the Commission by President William Clinton on July 13, 1998, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 30, 1998.

Prior to his appointment Commissioner Sandstrom served as Chairman of the Administrative Review Board at the Department of Labor. From 1988 to 1992 he was Staff Director of the House Subcommittee on Elections, during which time he also served as the Staff Director of the Speaker of the House's Task Force on Electoral Reform. From 1979 to 1988, Mr. Sandstrom served as the Deputy Chief Counsel to the House Administration Committee of the House of Representatives. In addition, he has taught public policy as an Adjunct Professor at the American University.

1999

FEC Commissioners Group Photo November 2, 1999
(L to R) Karl J. Sandstrom, Danny L. McDonald, Vice Chairman Darryl R. Wold, Chairman Scott E. Thomas, Lee Ann Elliott and David M. Mason

(L to R) Karl J. Sandstrom, Danny L. McDonald, Vice Chairman Darryl R. Wold, Chairman Scott E. Thomas, Lee Ann Elliott and David M. Mason

2000

Bradley A. Smith (R) Serves as Commissioner June 26, 2000 - August 21, 2005
Commissioner Bradley A. Smith

Commissioner Bradley A. Smith

Bradley A. Smith was nominated to the Commission by President William Clinton on February 9, 2000, and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 24, 2000. He served as FEC Chairman in 2004.

Prior to his appointment, Smith was Professor of Law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, where he taught Election Law, Comparative Election Law, Jurisprudence, Law & Economics, and Civil Procedure. Smith's writings on campaign finance and other election issues have appeared in the Yale Law Journal, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Georgetown Law Journal, the Harvard Journal of Legislation, the Cornell Journal of Law & Public Policy, and other academic journals. As a law professor, Smith was a much sought-after witness in Congress on matters of campaign finance reform, and also a frequent guest on radio and television and a contributor to popular publications such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

Prior to joining the faculty at Capital in 1993, he had practiced with the Columbus law firm of Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease, served as United States Vice Consul in Guayaquil, Ecuador, worked as a consultant in the health care field, and served as General Manager of the Small Business Association of Michigan, a position in which his responsibilities included management of the organization's political action committee.

Commissioner Smith received his B.A. cum laude from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan and his J.D., cum laude from Harvard Law School.

2001

Lawrence H. Norton Serves as General Counsel September 17, 2001 - January 1, 2007
Lawrence H. Norton

Lawrence H. Norton

Lawrence Norton became General Counsel of the Commission on September 17, 2001. Prior to joining the agency, Mr. Norton served as an Associate Director at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for five years. He also worked as an Assistant Attorney General in the Maryland Attorney General's office. Mr. Norton graduated Order of the Coif from the University of Maryland School of Law.

2002

Michael E. Toner (R) Serves as Commissioner April 1, 2002 - March 14, 2007
Commissioner Michael E. Toner

Commissioner Michael E. Toner

Michael E. Toner was nominated to the Commission by President George W. Bush on March 4, 2002 and appointed on March 29, 2002. Mr. Toner was confirmed by the United States Senate on March 18, 2003. He served as FEC Chairman in 2006.

Prior to being appointed to the FEC, Mr. Toner served as Chief Counsel of the Republican National Committee. Mr. Toner joined the RNC in 2001 after serving as General Counsel of the Bush-Cheney Transition Team in Washington, DC and General Counsel of the Bush-Cheney 2000 Presidential Campaign in Austin, TX.

Before joining the Bush campaign in Austin, Mr. Toner was Deputy Counsel at the RNC from 1997-1999. Prior to his tenure at the RNC, Mr. Toner served as Counsel to the Dole/Kemp Presidential Campaign in 1996.

Mr. Toner was an associate attorney at Wiley, Rein, & Fielding in Washington, DC from 1992-1996. His work there included advising political committees and corporate clients on federal and state election law compliance. He was also involved in a number of First and Fourteenth Amendment appellate litigation matters, including two cases that were successful in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Toner has written widely on campaign finance matters, including in the Washington Post, New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Washington Times, The Hill, and Roll Call. Mr. Toner is a contributing author in the book "Divided States of America: The Slash and Burn Politics of the 2004 Presidential Election" (edited by Professor Larry J. Sabato, University of Virginia Center for Politics). Mr. Toner has also appeared as a guest commentator on Fox News Channel, Bloomberg News and C-SPAN.

Mr. Toner has served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the William and Mary Law School and as a lecturer in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia.

Mr. Toner received a J.D. cum laude from Cornell Law School in 1992, an M.A. in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University in 1989, and a B.A. with distinction from the University of Virginia in 1986. He is a member of the District of Columbia and Virginia bars, as well as the United States Supreme Court bar, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. District Courts for the District of Columbia and the Eastern District of Virginia.

Ellen L. Weintraub (D) Serves as Commissioner December 9, 2002 - Present
Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub

Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub

Ellen L. Weintraub took office as a Commissioner on December 9, 2002. After an initial recess appointment, her nomination was confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on March 18, 2003. Commissioner Weintraub has twice served as Chair of the Commission, for calendar years 2003 and 2013.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Weintraub was Of Counsel to Perkins Coie LLP and a member of its Political Law Group. There, she counseled clients on federal and state campaign finance and election laws, political ethics, nonprofit law, recounts, and lobbying regulation. During the election contest arising out of the 1996 election of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ms. Weintraub served on the legal team that advised the Senate Rules Committee. Her tenure with Perkins Coie represented Ms. Weintraub's second stint in private practice, having previously practiced as a litigator with the New York law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

Before joining Perkins Coie, Ms. Weintraub was Counsel to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the U.S. House of Representatives (the House Ethics Committee). Like the Commission, the Committee on Standards is a bipartisan body, evenly divided between Democratic and Republican members. Ms. Weintraub's work focused on implementing the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 and subsequent changes to the House Code of Official Conduct. She also served as editor in chief of the House Ethics Manual and as a principal contributor to the Senate Ethics Manual. While at the Committee, Ms. Weintraub counseled Members on investigations and often had lead responsibility for the Committee's public education and compliance initiatives.

Ms. Weintraub received her B.A., cum laude, from Yale College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. A native New Yorker, she is a member of the New York and District of Columbia bars and the Supreme Court bar.

2006

Hans A. von Spakovsky (R) Serves as Commissioner January 9, 2006 - December 31, 2007
Commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky

Commissioner Hans A. von Spakovsky

Hans A. von Spakovsky was nominated to the Commission by President George W. Bush on December 15, 2005 and was appointed on January 4, 2006.

Prior to his appointment, Commissioner von Spakovsky served as Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he provided expertise and advice on voting and election issues, including of the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

Commissioner von Spakovsky has had a wide range of experiences in election related issues, including as a member of the first Board of Advisors of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the Fulton County Board of Registration and Elections, which administered elections in the largest county in Georgia. He served on the Voting Standards Committee of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and on the Election and Voter Service Technical Committee of the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), which were developing standards for voting equipment and electronic data interchange.

Commissioner von Spakovsky is a past member of the Board of Advisors of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, the Georgia Election Officials Association and the International Association of Clerks, Recorders, Election Officials and Treasurers. The Commission on Federal Election Reform organized by President Jimmy Carter and Secretary James Baker has also sought his expertise. Commissioner von Spakovsky has testified before state and congressional legislative committees and published articles on voter fraud, election reform, e-government, and Internet voting. He has appeared before numerous organizations including the National Association of Secretaries of State and the National Association of State Election Directors.

Prior to entering public service, Commissioner von Spakovsky worked as a government affairs consultant, in a corporate legal department, and in private practice. He received a J.D. from the Vanderbilt University School of Law in 1984 and a B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1981. He is a member of the Georgia and Tennessee bars. He is a first-generation American whose parents immigrated to the United States in 1951. They met in a refugee camp as displaced persons after the end of World War II. He is originally from Huntsville, Alabama

Robert D. Lenhard (D) Serves as Commissioner January 9, 2006 - December 31, 2007
Commissioner Robert D. Lenhard

Commissioner Robert D. Lenhard

Robert D. Lenhard was appointed to the Commission in 2006 and served as Chairman in 2007.

Prior to his appointment, Mr. Lenhard was an Associate General Counsel with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME). At AFSCME, he was responsible for legal issues related to federal and state election laws. His work included counseling the union on federal and state campaign finance issues, litigating enforcement actions before the FEC and state agencies, and providing training to field staff on federal and state election law issues. Prior to becoming an Associate General Counsel at AFSCME, Mr. Lenhard was an associate at the law firm of Kirschner, Weinberg & Dempsey, where he represented AFSCME and other labor unions. Prior to that, Mr. Lenhard worked for the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) and the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU). After graduating from law school, Mr. Lenhard worked as an associate at the Los Angeles law firm of Grace, Neumeyer & Otto.

Mr. Lenhard is a 1981 graduate of the Johns Hopkins University where he earned a B.A. with Honors and a 1984 graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law.

Steven T. Walther (I) Serves as Commissioner January 10, 2006 - December 31, 2007
Commissioner Steven T. Walther

Commissioner Steven T. Walther

Steven T. Walther was first sworn in as an FEC Commissioner on January 10, 2006, as a recess appointee. Although his name was placed before the Senate for confirmation in June, 2007, his recess term expired on December 31, 2007, before the Senate acted. On June 24, 2008, he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate and sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on June 27, to resume the balance of his statutory term. Mr. Walther served as Vice Chairman of the FEC for the balance of 2008 and served as the Commission's Chairman in 2009.

Prior to joining the FEC as a Commissioner, Mr. Walther practiced law in the Reno, Nevada law firm of Walther, Key, Maupin, Oats, Cox & LeGoy, now known as Maupin, Cox & LeGoy which he co-founded in 1972.

During his legal career Mr. Walther has been active in professional legal and judicial organizations and activities, as well as numerous civic activities. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and currently serves as co-chair of the ABA Center for Human Rights. He has been active in ABA initiatives focusing on international relations, human rights and the rule of law. He was appointed by the ABA President to serve as the ABA Representative to the United Nations. He served on the Executive Board of the ABA Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (CEELI), which oversees the ABA's democracy building programs in over 21 countries—programs, which promote development of fair and open election laws. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees and lecturer for the National Judicial College, both in the United States and in Russia. Mr. Walther has lectured extensively, both domestically and internationally (principally in Russia), on rule of law, human rights, litigation and international law issues. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the International Bar Association.

Mr. Walther is a former president of the State Bar of Nevada, the Western States Bar Conference, and the National Caucus of State Bar Associations. He is a past chair of the 6,000 member Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, the legal research arm of the ABA. From 1971 until his FEC appointment, Mr. Walther served as a member of the Nevada State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

He received his J.D. degree from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley in 1968, and recently served as president of the Boalt Hall Alumni Association. He received his undergraduate degree, with a major in Russian, from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1965.

Patrina M. Clark Serves as Staff Director July 10, 2006 - July 1, 2008
Patrina Clark

Patrina Clark

On July 10, 2006, Patrina M. Clark began her tenure as Staff Director of the Commission, succeeding Acting Staff Director Robert Costa. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Clark served as Regional Executive Director for Naval District Washington. As the senior civilian official in the region, she managed the Human Resources, Information Technology, Comptroller and Public Affairs offices, among other activities. Before her service with the Department of the Navy, she held a number of key positions with the Internal Revenue Service, most recently as Director, Cooperative Efforts and Strategic Support. A Texas native, Ms. Clark began her undergraduate studies at the University of Texas as a National Merit Scholar and University of Texas Presidential Scholar. She completed her undergraduate studies at Thomas Edison State College with an emphasis in Communications and Human Resources Management. Ms. Clark has a graduate certificate from the Cornell University School of Industrial Labor Relations in Human Resources Management and a Master's Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University (GWU). She was awarded a joint certificate in Advanced Public Policy Leadership from the Brookings Institution and GWU, and is a graduate of GWU's Senior Executive Development Program. She completed Georgetown University's Senior Executive Leadership Continuing Studies Certificate Program and is certified as a Senior Human Resources Professional by the Human Resources Certification Institute.

2007

Thomasenia Duncan Serves as General Counsel May 9, 2007 - August 19, 2010
Thomasenia (Tommie) Duncan

Thomasenia (Tommie) Duncan

General Counsel Thomasenia (Tommie) Duncan served three years as FEC General Counsel and three years as Associate General Counsel for General Law and Advice. Prior to joining the Commission in February of 2004, Duncan was General Counsel for America's Promise The Alliance for Youth. She continues a distinguished career in government service, including having served as General Counsel of the Corporation for National and Community Service. She began the practice of law with the firm Covington & Burling LLP. Ms. Duncan is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and also attended Yale University Law School.

Recess Appointments of Three FEC Commissioners Expire December 31, 2007

Recess appointments of three FEC Commissioners expire at the end of 2007 without Senate confirmation, leaving four seats on the Commission vacant.

2008

Cynthia L. Bauerly (D) Serves as Commissioner June, 2008 - February 1, 2013
Commissioner Cynthia L. Bauerly

Commissioner Cynthia L. Bauerly

Cynthia L. Bauerly joined the Commission in 2008 after her appointment received the unanimous consent of the United States Senate. She served as the Commission's Chair during 2011 and as the Commission's Vice Chair for the year 2010. She left the Commission on February 1, 2013.

Commissioner Bauerly has extensive experience in law and public policy, particularly in the areas of election administration, campaign finance, ethics reform, technology, and intellectual property. Prior to her appointment to the Commission, Ms. Bauerly served as Legislative Director for United States Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York. She previously served as counsel on the Senate Judiciary and Rules Committees.

Commissioner Bauerly has also worked in private practice in Minnesota and Washington, DC, specializing in complex litigation and appellate law, with a focus on intellectual property.

Originally from Minnesota, Commissioner Bauerly is a summa cum laude graduate of Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. She graduated cum laude from Indiana University School of Law-Bloomington and received a Master of Public Affairs from Indiana University's School of Environmental and Public Affairs. She served as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Florence-Marie Cooper of the United States District Court for the Central District of California and the Honorable Theodore R. Boehm of the Indiana Supreme Court.

Steven T. Walther (I) Serves as Commissioner June 27, 2008 - Present
Commissioner Steven T. Walther

Commissioner Steven T. Walther

Steven T. Walther was first sworn in as an FEC Commissioner on January 10, 2006, as a recess appointee. Although his name was placed before the Senate for confirmation in June, 2007, his recess term expired on December 31, 2007, before the Senate acted. On June 24, 2008, he was confirmed unanimously by the Senate and sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on June 27, to resume the balance of his statutory term. Mr. Walther served as Vice Chairman of the FEC for the balance of 2008 and served as the Commission's Chairman in 2009.

Prior to joining the FEC as a Commissioner, Mr. Walther practiced law in the Reno, Nevada law firm of Walther, Key, Maupin, Oats, Cox & LeGoy, now known as Maupin, Cox & LeGoy which he co-founded in 1972.

During his legal career Mr. Walther has been active in professional legal and judicial organizations and activities, as well as numerous civic activities. He is a former member of the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and currently serves as co-chair of the ABA Center for Human Rights. He has been active in ABA initiatives focusing on international relations, human rights and the rule of law. He was appointed by the ABA President to serve as the ABA Representative to the United Nations. He served on the Executive Board of the ABA Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative (CEELI), which oversees the ABA's democracy building programs in over 21 countries—programs which promote development of fair and open election laws. He has been a member of the Board of Trustees and lecturer for the National Judicial College, both in the United States and in Russia. Mr. Walther has lectured extensively, both domestically and internationally (principally in Russia), on rule of law, human rights, litigation and international law issues. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the International Bar Association.

Mr. Walther is a former president of the State Bar of Nevada, the Western States Bar Conference, and the National Caucus of State Bar Associations. He is a past chair of the 6,000 member Fellows of the American Bar Foundation, the legal research arm of the ABA. From 1971 until his FEC appointment, Mr. Walther served as a member of the Nevada State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

He received his J.D. degree from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley in 1968, and recently served as president of the Boalt Hall Alumni Association. He received his undergraduate degree, with a major in Russian, from the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, in 1965.

Donald F. McGahn II (R) Serves as Commissioner July 9, 2008 to September 1, 2013

Donald McGahn was sworn into office as an FEC Commissioner on July 9, 2008. Nominated by President Bush on May 6, his appointment received the unanimous consent of the United States Senate on June 24, 2008. He was elected Chairman on July 10, 2008, and served in that capacity for the balance of the calendar year.

Prior to his appointment to the Commission, Mr. McGahn served as head of McGahn & Associates PLLC, a Washington-based law practice specializing in election law. Mr. McGahn has represented federal and state candidates, Members of Congress, political party committees, leadership political action committees (PACs), corporations and corporate PACs, non-profits, trade associations and others involved in issues related to campaign finance law and government ethics. Since 1999, Mr. McGahn served as General Counsel to the National Republican Congressional Committee. He also served as Counsel for the Illinois Republican Party for several years.

Before joining the NRCC, Mr. McGahn practiced law at Patton Boggs LLP in Washington, DC. As a member of the firm's litigation group, he advised and represented elected officials, candidates, national and state parties and others on election law issues. Mr. McGahn has been recognized for his significant pro bono work for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. Prior to Patton Boggs LLP, Mr. McGahn served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Charles R. Alexander of the Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania.

Mr. McGahn attended the United States Naval Academy, the University of Notre Dame, Widener University School of Law and the Georgetown University Law Center.

Caroline C. Hunter (R) Serves as Commissioner July, 2008 to Present
Commissioner Caroline C. Hunter

Commissioner Caroline C. Hunter

Commissioner Caroline C. Hunter was nominated to the Commission by President George W. Bush on May 6, 2008. Her appointment was approved by the United States Senate on June 24, 2008.

Ms. Hunter previously served as the Vice-Chair of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Ms Hunter was nominated to the EAC in 2006 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 15, 2007.

Ms. Hunter previously served as deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison from January to October 2006. From 2005 to 2006, she served as executive officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman.

From 2001 to 2005 she was associate counsel and then deputy counsel at the Republican National Committee where she provided guidance on election law and the implementation of the Help America Vote Act.

Ms. Hunter graduated cum laude from the University of Memphis School of Law and received her bachelor of arts degree from The Pennsylvania State University. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband and two daughters.

Matthew S. Petersen (R) Serves as Commissioner July, 2008 to Present
Commissioner Matthew S. Petersen

Commissioner Matthew S. Petersen

Matthew S. Petersen was nominated to the Commission by President George W. Bush on June 12, 2008, and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate on June 24, 2008.

From 2005 until his appointment to the Commission, Mr. Petersen served as Republican chief counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. In this capacity, Mr. Petersen provided counsel on issues relating to federal campaign finance and election administration laws as well as the Standing Rules of the Senate.

Prior to this, Mr. Petersen served as counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on House Administration. During his tenure, Mr. Petersen was extensively involved in the crafting of the Help America Vote Act of 2002 ("HAVA") and the House-Senate negotiations that culminated in HAVA's passage. From 1999 to 2002, Mr. Petersen specialized in election and campaign finance law at the law firm of Wiley Rein LLP in Washington, DC

Mr. Petersen received his J.D. in 1999 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was a member of the Virginia Law Review. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in philosophy from Brigham Young University in 1996. He also received an A.S. with high honors from Utah Valley State College.

2009

Robert A. Hickey Serves as Staff Director February 27, 2009 - October 1, 2009
Robert Hickey

Robert Hickey

Robert A. Hickey became Staff Director in February 2009 after serving in a number of senior positions in the government including most recently as Chief of Staff at the National Intelligence University.

Mr. Hickey succeeded Joseph Stoltz, the head of the Commission's Audit Division, who had served as Acting Staff Director since August 2008. Mr. Hickey served in the U.S. Air Force and as a pilot for American Airlines before joining Booz Allen Hamilton. He returned to government service, serving in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and then helping launch the National Intelligence University.

Mr. Hickey graduated with a bachelor's degree in American History from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master's degree in International Affairs from Oklahoma University.

2011

Anthony Herman Serves as General Counsel June 15, 2011 - July 5, 2013
Anthony Herman

Anthony Herman

Anthony Herman became General Counsel for the Commission in June 2011. During his tenure as the Commission's General Counsel, Herman led a staff of approximately 115 employees and spearheaded the reorganization of the Office of General Counsel, which is composed of the Divisions of the Deputy General Counsel for Administration, the Deputy General Counsel for Law, as well as the Divisions of Enforcement, Litigation and Policy. Herman came to the Commission from Covington & Burling LLP, where he was a senior litigation partner and served as chair of the firm's Public Service Committee.

Herman received a B.A. from the University of South Carolina and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. After law school, he served as a law clerk in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to the Hon. Irving L. Goldberg and taught constitutional law, and other courses, as a law professor at Florida State University College of Law.

Alec Palmer Serves as Staff Director August 3, 2011 - Present
Alec Palmer Staff Director

Alec Palmer Staff Director

The Commission named D. Alec Palmer to be the agency's new Staff Director. Palmer, who served as Acting Staff Director, also will continue his responsibilities as the agency's Chief Information Officer (CIO).

Palmer came to the Commission in 2003 as CIO. In that role, he has created new information technology initiatives that were designed to improve the agency's operating efficiency along with its disclosure and transparency practices. He drove efforts that allowed for the development of new website tools including the addition of the popular campaign finance maps to the Commission's website, the real-time disclosure of independent expenditures, publishing of enforcement case files dating back to 1975, the expansion of the advisory opinion search feature and a new searchable rulemaking system.

Prior to joining the Commission, Palmer had 15 years of CIO experience, and has provided leadership to senior management professionals in the public service, hospitality, oil and gas, high-tech manufacturing, financial services, publishing and healthcare industries. Alec received his bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University.

as Staff Director, Palmer serves as the chief administration and management officer for more than 350 employees and six Commissioners. The position is one of three statutory positions at the Commission.

2013

Lee E. Goodman (R) Serves as Commissioner October 22, 2013 - Present
Commissioner Lee E. Goodman

Commissioner Lee E. Goodman

Lee E. Goodman was appointed to the Commission by President Barack Obama on October 21, 2013, and sworn into office on October 22, 2013. President Obama nominated Commissioner Goodman, a Republican, on June 24, 2013, on the recommendation of Senator Mitch McConnell and he was confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on September 23, 2013. Commissioner Goodman served as Chairman of the Commission in 2014 and Vice Chairman in 2013.

Prior to joining the Commission, Mr. Goodman practiced election law in private practice for the better part of two decades and served in a number of governmental and political posts. In private practice, he represented candidates, public officials, political parties, political action committees, non-profit organizations, and media companies in addressing a wide range of laws regulating their political activities and speech. He advised four presidential campaigns from 2007 to 2012. He served as general counsel of the Republican Party of Virginia (2009-2013). He also represented non-political clients in addressing other regulatory and public policy issues.

His prior government service includes four years as legal counsel and policy advisor to the Governor of Virginia (1998-2002) and three years as counsel and special assistant to the Attorney General of Virginia (1995-1997). He served as chief advisor to the Chairman of the Congressional Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce (1999-2000).

Mr. Goodman has authored several articles on election law, including a chapter on regulation of political speech on the Internet in the book Law and Election Politics - The Rules of the Game (Routledge 2013), and he has lectured frequently on election law topics. He has served on the boards of several political, educational and cultural non-profit organizations. He is recognized as a national expert in close elections, recounts and election administration.

He received his B.A. with highest distinction in 1986 from the University of Virginia, where he double majored in American government and rhetoric & communication studies. He received his J.D. in 1990 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he served as Articles Editor for the U.Va. Journal of Law & Politics.

Ann Ravel (D) Serves as Commissioner October 25, 2013 - Present
Commissioner Ann Ravel

Commissioner Ann Ravel

Commissioner Ann M. Ravel is Chair of the Commission for 2015. Ms. Ravel was nominated to the Commission by President Barack Obama on June 21, 2013. After her appointment received the unanimous consent of the United States Senate, Ms. Ravel joined the Commission on October 25, 2013. She served as Vice Chair for 2014.

From March 2011 until her appointment to the Commission, Ms. Ravel served as Chair of the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), to which Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. appointed her. At the FPPC, Ms. Ravel oversaw the regulation of campaign finance, lobbyist registration and reporting, and ethics and conflicts of interest related to officeholders and public employees. During her tenure at the FPPC, Ms. Ravel was instrumental in the creation of the States' Unified Network (SUN) Center, a web-based center for sharing information on campaign finance.

Before joining the FPPC, Ms. Ravel served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Torts and Consumer Litigation in the Civil Division of the United States Department of Justice. Ms. Ravel also worked as an attorney in the Santa Clara County Counsel's Office, ultimately serving as the appointed County Counsel from 1998 until 2009. Ms. Ravel represented the County and its elected officials, provided advice on the state Political Reform Act, and initiated groundbreaking programs in elder abuse litigation, educational rights, and consumer litigation on behalf of the Santa Clara County government and the community.

Ms. Ravel has served as an elected Governor on the Board of Governors of the State Bar of California, a member of the Judicial Council of the State of California, and Chair of the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation. In 2007, the State Bar of California named Ms. Ravel Public Attorney of the Year for her contributions to public service.

Ms. Ravel received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and her J.D. from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.


Disclosure

+ expand all

1975

Public Records Division Opens June 2, 1975
Original FEC Public Records Office, c. 1977

Original FEC Public Records Office, c. 1977

Now known as the Public Disclosure Division, this office maintains the financial records submitted by candidates and committees and makes them available to the public. It was the first Commission office to be fully staffed and operative.

FEC Disclosure Regulations Sent to Congress July 1, 1975 - December 4, 1975

The proposed regulations cover the organizational and disclosure provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended by the 1974 FEC Amendments, including: definitions; candidate status; political committee organization and registration; campaign finance recordkeeping and reporting; political party convention finance reports; and filing requirements with state officers.

New Hampshire Special Election is First to Require Disclosure Reports August 20, 1975 - September 16, 1975

The FEC issued an "Interim Guideline" which stated that the provisions of the 1974 Campaign Finance Act would apply to the special Senate election. The "Interim Guideline" also set forth procedures for candidates and political committees to follow to comply with the financial disclosure requirements and the contribution and expenditure limits of the new law.

FEC Stores Public Documents on Microfilm Fall 1975
FEC staff inspect microfilm, c. 1976

FEC staff inspect microfilm, c. 1976

The Commission chose to use microfilm as its primary system for storing and retrieving records.

1976

The Commission Opens "Storefront" Public Records Office January 14, 1976
Original FEC Public Records Office, November 1976

Original FEC Public Records Office, November 1976

A "storefront" Public Records office was opened on the ground floor of the original FEC building in Washington, DC to facilitate public inspection and copying of disclosure reports.

Commission Implements a Computer-Based Information System Spring 1976
The FEC's first computer network, c. 1976

The FEC's first computer network, c. 1976

A computer system was designed and implemented for storing and compiling data from campaign disclosure reports. Six indexes and compilations of campaign finance data were made available prior to the 1976 general election.

The Commission Issues First Disclosure Series Report September 21, 1976

The Commission issued the first report in the FEC Disclosure Series: Presidential Pre-Nomination Receipts and Expenditures, 1976 Campaign. This series was a precursor to the Reports on Financial Activity Series.

1978

Commission Establishes Reports Analysis Division January 1, 1978

The Reports Analysis Division assigns teams of analysts to review reports submitted by filers for accuracy and completeness. If a report is inaccurate or incomplete, the Commission may send the filer a Request for Additional Information (RFAI). An adequate response to the RFAI is processed as any other report. Failing to respond or responding inadequately may be handled as an enforcement case.

Reports of Financial Activity Series Debuts April 9, 1978
FEC staff printing financial activity report, 1982

FEC staff printing financial activity report, 1982

Reports on Financial Activity was a statistical series of reports that provided a comprehensive study of campaign finance activity by candidates, party committees and nonparty committees in a timely manner.

1979

Personal Financial Disclosure Statements of all Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates are Made Available April 26, 1979

Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates must file Ethics in Government Act reports disclosing personal financial information. These reports are filed with the Commission within 30 days of becoming a candidate, under the election law, and on or before May 15 of each successive year in which the individual continues to be a candidate.

Commission Approves New Data Entry Procedures for 1980 Presidential Elections April 26, 1979
FEC staff scanning compliance forms, 1982

FEC staff scanning compliance forms, 1982

Data coding and entry of information contained in Presidential reports was expanded to include all summary information on campaign receipts and expenditures (including receipt of public funds), information on exempt fundraising expenses, legal and accounting disbursements, and all information on expenditures of public funds in primary campaigns on a State-by-State basis. This new database could provide such up-to-date information on matching fund requests as total contributions submitted for matching funds (by each candidate and a summary figure for all candidates) and total certifications made by the Commission.

Information Submitted by Presidential Candidates Seeking Eligibility for Primary Matching Funds is Made Available to the Public September 6, 1979

In addition to the reports filed by Presidential candidates on their campaign finance activity, the Public Records Office released lists of contributions (alphabetized by contributor) for which Presidential candidates had requested matching payments.

Commission Reduces Fees December 13, 1979

The Commission adopted a policy that reduced fees for information made available to the public in the FEC's Public Records Office. The policy also addressed the availability of standard computer indexes. The Data Systems Development Division would also make available at cost computer tapes on statistical information contained in the Reports on Financial Activity series.

1980

FEC Establishes New Procedures for Special Election Reports January 31, 1980

The 1979 Amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act required the Commission to establish filing dates for reports within five days of the setting of the date for a special election. The Commission was also now required to publish the dates and notify the principal campaign committees of all candidates involved in the special election of those reporting dates.

Commission Redesigns Reporting Forms to Implement the 1979 Amendments April 1, 1980

The Commission redesigned the reporting forms to implement the 1979 FECA Amendments and to make the forms easier for committees to use. For the first time, the final forms included line-by-line instructions.

Commission's Revised FOIA Regulations and New Regulations Governing Access to Public Records Take Effect June 12, 1980

The Commission's revised regulations on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) became effective, as did new regulations governing public access to Commission documents. The regulations set out uniform procedures and fees for providing documents to the public both under FOIA and pursuant to the Commission's public disclosure duties.

Commission Introduces New Computer Indexes on Independent Expenditures July 14, 1980

In response to the growing interest in independent expenditure activity, the Commission created three new indexing programs. The first index listed independent expenditures by the committees or person who made them, indicating the candidates they supported or opposed and the total amounts they spent, per candidate. The second index gave the particulars of each independent expenditure as well as the summary information provided by the first index. The third index, a revision of one used in 1979, listed independent expenditures by candidate, providing the details of each expenditure made for or against a candidate.

Commission Adopts New Procedures for Approving Computerized Forms September 2, 1980

The Commission authorized the Report Analysis Division to approve computerized formats used by committees to itemize their receipts and disbursements.

1981

FEC Adds Consolidated Index of Documents February 1, 1981

The Commission announced the availability of a card index that consolidates information on Commission advisory opinions, completed compliance cases and completed audits.

Computer Tapes Summarize 1977-78 Campaign Finance Information March 1, 1981

The Commission made available computer tapes containing final information on 1977-78 campaign finances of party and nonparty (noncandidate) committees.

Microfilmed Audit Reports Made Available March 1, 1981

The Commission made available for public view and purchase microfilm cartridges of audit reports issued between 1975 and 1980.

Press Office Relocates to be Near Public Records Office December 1, 1981

The Press Office relocated to the first floor, across from the Public Records Office. The move was designed to help reporters coordinate their research in the two offices and provide easier access to FEC press spokespersons.

1982

Microfilmed Agenda Items Made Available January 4, 1982
FEC staff at microfilm reader, 1979

FEC staff at microfilm reader, 1979

The Commission microfilmed all agenda items discussed in open Commission meetings from 1975 through 1980 and developed a computerized index to help locate the documents. This process facilitated both public and staff access to Commission agenda items.

1983

FEC Introduces Matter Under Review (MUR) Index June 6, 1983

The Commission introduced a computerized FEC MUR Index, which presented information on publicly released enforcement cases.

Presidential Computer Index Debuts November 4, 1983

The Commission introduced a new computer index that provided a concise summary of the financial activity of major Presidential campaigns. The 1984 Presidential Campaign Summary Report was designed to extract information from reports filed by Presidential campaigns and to adjust numbers to reflect actual amounts raised and spent.

1984

Program Providing State Access to Data Begins March 6, 1983 - March 7, 1984

Six State election offices joined the Commission in a 1984 pilot project to broaden the accessibility of computerized campaign finance information. The primary objective was to give those located outside Washington, DC, immediate access to several FEC computer indexes. The State offices had a computer terminal linked to the FEC computer through a national telecommunications system.

Commission Revises its Regulations on Access to Information October 19, 1984

The Commission revised regulations that affected the activities of the Press Office, which handled requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and the Public Records Office. The new rules updated fees to reflect actual costs of providing documents. The regulations also changed the billing procedures for the sale of FEC microfilm and computer tapes. The amended rules provided that individuals who purchase these materials pay the firm that reproduces them, rather than the FEC. Finally, the revised regulations made clear that the FEC does not charge for staff time devoted to duplicating information to fill FOIA requests.

New Regulations Implement Rehabilitation Act November 2, 1984

The Commission promulgated regulations that provided for programs and auxiliary aids to ensure handicapped persons' access to Commission information and facilities.

1985

Direct Computer Access (Direct Access Program) Debuts September 10, 1985

The Commission inaugurated a subscription service that provided individuals with direct computer access to the FEC campaign finance disclosure base. In addition, users could request raw data, which they could store and then arrange according to their own research needs.

1986

Budget Cuts Reduce Accessibility of Computerized Campaign Finance Data January 30, 1986 - December 31, 1986

As a result of the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Act and a cut in personnel funds, the Commission sustained a loss of $858,000 from its fiscal year 1986 funding. The largest cuts ($250,000) were borne by the computerized disclosure program, resulting in a reduction in the amount of campaign finance information accessible through the computer. In addition, the Commission's program to provide states with computer access to the FEC's campaign finance database was curtailed. Both were later restored using fiscal year 1987 funds.

1989

Office Automation Project Provides Commission Staff with New Equipment January 1, 1989

The Commission replaced its 1970s-vintage word processing equipment with an up-to-date office automation system. Staff used their new desktop terminals to locate data in minutes.

1992

Direct Access Program Expands March 1, 1992

The Direct Access Program, launched in 1985, expanded its offerings to include computer access to advisory opinions and court cases.

1995

Pilot Program for Electronic Filing Begins July 26, 1995

The FEC invited selected PACs, party committees and candidate committees to participate in a voluntary pilot program for electronic filing. Committees were selected on the basis of their proximity to the FEC and the complexity of their reports.

1996

House Candidates Begin Filing Directly with FEC April 15, 1996

As a result of a 1995 legislative change, House candidates began filing campaign finance reports directly with the FEC, rather than with the Clerk of the House. The change in point of entry improved both the timeliness and quality of the Commission's public disclosure process.

1997

Interim Electronic Filing Program Begins January 1, 1997

The Commission launched an interim Electronic Filing Program that allowed committees to file reports via computer disk. To assist electronic filers, the agency created and distributed free filing software,named FECFile, to more than 200 interested users.

1998

Disclosure Reports Added To the FEC's Website January 2, 1998

With the exception of Senate filings,* all 1997-1998 cycle reports filed by PACs, political parties, Presidential and House campaigns were made available for viewing at the click of a button. The agency updated its website within 48 hours of receipt of paper reports.

*Senate candidates and their campaign committees, as well as committees supporting/opposing only Senate candidates, file their reports directly with the Secretary of the Senate. Because the Commission received these reports on microfilm and did not receive the original copy of these reports, it was impossible to achieve the quality necessary for imaging purposes. As a result, they were not included in this program.

Electronic Filing Enhanced to Allow Committees to Transmit Reports Directly to FEC March 1998

The second version of the agency's free electronic filing software, FECFile, became available. Electronic filers could now send their computer-prepared reports electronically through a direct transmission to the FEC.

FEC Unveils New Query System on Website July 21, 1998

The Commission added a new online query system that provided immediate access to the name and contribution amount of any individual who had contributed $200 or more to a federal political committee during the 1997-1998 election cycle. The FEC's new searchable database also allowed users to access lists of PACs or party committees that have contributed to specific candidates and view lists of candidates to whom selected PACs and parties have contributed.

FEC Enhances Web Page to Highlight Last-Minute Money October 19, 1998

The Commission introduced a new search process that consolidates all last-minute contributions and allows users to see which candidates filed reports on a given day, or to view the reports filed on a given day by all candidates from a particular state.

Mandatory E-Filing Begins for Presidential Campaigns that Accept Matching Funds November 11, 1998

New regulations required Presidential candidates that maintain computerized campaign finance records to participate in the Commission's electronic filing program as a condition of accepting federal funding.

1999

Advisory Opinions Now on FEC Website August 18, 1999

The Commission placed its historical databank of hundreds of advisory opinions on the agency's website. Advisory opinions are official Commission responses to questions relating to the application of the Federal Election Campaign Act to a specific, factual situation.

Commission Approves State Filing Waiver Program October 14, 1999

The Commission approved the state filing waiver program, relieving qualified state offices of the requirement to receive and maintain paper copies of campaign finance reports from Presidential and House candidates and most other political committees that file their reports with the Commission. The waiver program also relieved committees of the obligation to file these paper copies.

FEC Certifies First 12 States for Filing Waiver December 8, 1999

The Commission certified 12 states as exempt from a federal requirement to receive and maintain paper copies of campaign finance reports from Presidential and U.S. House of Representatives candidates and most political committees. This was the initial certification group, with some 20 other states expected to follow soon.

States certified by the Commission to participate in the program are Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wisconsin. The FEC certification indicates that they possess an adequate computerized system to allow the public electronic access to, and duplication of, reports and statements that are filed with the FEC.

2000

FEC Adds Open Meeting Agenda Documents to Website February 1, 2000

The FEC added agenda documents for its open public meetings to its website.

Mandatory Electronic Filing Begins June 15, 2000

On June 15, 2000, the Commission approved rules implementing mandatory electronic filing. Beginning with the reporting periods that start on or after January 1, 2001, all persons required to file reports with the FEC who receive contributions or make expenditures in excess of $50,000 in a calendar year, or who expect to do so, must submit their campaign finance reports electronically. Any filers who are required to file electronically, but who file on paper, will be considered nonfilers and may be subject to enforcement action.

FEC Introduces Election Cycle Reporting for Authorized Committees July 5, 2000

The Commission approved new regulations conforming to federal legislation that required authorized committees of federal candidates to aggregate and report receipts and disbursements on an election-cycle basis rather than on the traditional calendar-year basis. These revised regulations affect reports covering periods that begin on or after January 1, 2001. The new rules did not affect PACs or party committees.

Senate Candidates' Campaign Finance Reports Made Available on FEC Website September 22, 2000

In a joint effort by the U.S. Senate and the Commission to provide better public access to Senate campaign finance reports, the public can now view at the FEC website reports of money raised and spent by U.S. Senate candidates. Previously, Senate reports had been delivered by the Senate to the FEC on microfilm, which could not be transferred to quality images on the website.

Commission Extends State Filing Waiver Program to U.S. Senate Candidates September 27, 2000

The Commission voted to extend the State Filing Waiver Program to include campaigns for U.S. Senate candidates and other political committees that support only U.S. Senate candidates.

Prior to the Commission's decision to extend the program, the state filing waiver did not apply to reports filed by candidates and committees whose point-of-entry for filing reports is the Office of the Secretary of the U. S. Senate.

Online Submission of 48-Hour Notices Debuts for the General Election October 18, 2000

The Commission developed a web-based filing system to enable candidate committees to create and submit their 48-hour notices entirely online. Using the new system, even campaigns that did not file electronically and those that used software that did not generate the 48-Hour disclosure form (FEC Form 6) could file their 48-Hour Notices online.

Commission Expands Disclosure on its Website October 18, 2000

On October 18, 2000, the Commission announced several additions to its website to enhance campaign finance disclosure. As a result, individuals could now easily view summary statistical information about candidates, PACs and party committees on the FEC Website.

2001

OCR-Ready Disclosure Forms Debut January 1, 2001

The Commission issued new disclosure forms designed to be processed more quickly through the use of optical character recognition (OCR), in anticipation of the Commission's future use of this technology. The Commission made updated FEC forms 1, 2, 3, 3X, 3P, 6 and 8 available to committees filing in 2001. The changes to Forms 3 and 3P also adapted these forms for election-cycle reporting beginning January 2001.

FEC Semi-Finalist in 'Innovation' Competition May 2, 2001

The Commission was named one of 99 semi-finalists from some 1,300 applicants in the "Innovations in American Government" award competition sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The recognition highlights the success of the FEC's "State Filing Waiver Program." Initiated in 1999, the program follows the letter of the law (Public Law 104-79; 1995) and enhances the spirit of it by eliminating the need for administration of paper filings of campaign reports at the state level, replacing that paper with electronic immediacy for public and media.

2003

FEC Creates New Disclosure Forms and Revises Existing Forms to Implement BCRA March 1, 2003

The Commission revised FEC Forms 1, 2, 3, 3X and 5 and their supporting Schedules and instructions to facilitate disclosure under the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA). The revisions to Forms 1, 2, 3 and 3X primarily affect House and Senate campaigns and state, district and local political party committees, while the revisions to Form 5 affect individuals and qualified nonprofit corporations filing reports of independent expenditures. The Commission also created five new forms in order to implement various provisions of the BCRA:

* FEC Form 9, for use by individuals and qualified nonprofit corporations in reporting electioneering communications;

* FEC Forms 10, 11 and 12, incorporated various notices required of House and Senate campaigns under the Millionaires' Amendment. (Other notices required under that amendment were incorporated into Forms 3 and 3X Schedules.) The Millionaires' Amendment and resulting reporting requirements are no longer in effect after they were overturned by the Supreme Court.

* FEC Form 13, for use by inaugural committees. (This form was developed in 2004, after the others.)

FEC Launches System for Searching Closed Enforcement Cases December 11, 2003

The Commission launched the Enforcement Query System (EQS) on the agency's website to improve public access to enforcement documents.

Enforcement Disclosure Policy Approved December 11, 2003

The Commission approved a Statement of Policy regarding disclosure of closed enforcement and related files that identified the categories of records that will be released to the public once enforcement cases are closed. The policy provided for the release of additional documents when enforcement cases were closed, including original complaints or internal FEC referrals that initiate enforcement actions, along with reports and briefs from the Office of General Counsel (OGC) and responses to those reports and briefs by respondents.

2005

New Rules on Filing by Priority Mail, Express Mail and Overnight Delivery March 10, 2005

The Commission approved final rules regarding the timely filing of documents using Priority Mail, Express Mail or overnight delivery service. The rules implemented FECA amendments included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, that permitted filers to use these additional delivery options to satisfy the Commission's "timely filing" requirements for certain designations, reports and statements filed on paper with either the FEC or the Secretary of the Senate.

FEC Introduces Online Filing via Webforms May 27, 2005

The FEC launched several webforms on its website, allowing for a quicker and easier way to file reports of last-minute contributions, independent expenditures and electioneering communications. The webforms included Forms 5, 6 and 9.

50th State Certified for State Filing Waiver August 5, 2005

Montana became the 50th state to be certified by the FEC as exempt from a federal requirement to receive and maintain paper copies of campaign finance reports from Presidential, U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives candidates, party committees and political action committees (PACs).

The State Filing Waiver Program began in 1999 with 12 states. After Montana was certified, among all states and territories only Guam and Puerto Rico were not in the waiver program.

2006

FEC Upgrades Website Search Process March 27, 2006

The FEC launched a new search process on its website that offered several new features. The key match feature, for example, highlighted some of the pages that are viewed most often and listed them first in the search results. Other features suggested synonymous search terms and spelling alternatives that helped to improve results.

2007

Presidential Campaign Finance Map Debuts June 13, 2007

The FEC introduced an interactive map on its website that displays individual contributions to Presidential candidates, starting with the 2008 election. With a simple click of the mouse, a user could highlight on the map the amount of money raised on a state-by-state basis. Users also had the option of viewing contributions to specific candidates, all candidates or all candidates from a political party. The map conveniently displayed the total contributions to each candidate, along with their cash on hand and the distribution of their contributions by amount.

FEC Introduces Online Map to Track U.S. Senate and House Campaign Finances December 17, 2007

An interactive online map unveiled in 2008, uses state and district maps to lead the user to campaign finance data for House and Senate candidates, starting with the 2007-2008 cycle. It allows the user to select candidates for comparison using bar charts to display such financial categories as contribution and disbursement totals, debts and cash-on-hand. It also presents itemized contributions and disbursements by category and includes links to images of reports filed by the candidate and the candidate's committees.

2008

FEC Launches Enhanced Presidential Campaign Finance Map May 21, 2008

The Commission introduced an improved version of its Presidential Campaign Finance map. Available on the FEC website, the map includes detailed information on each candidate's campaign expenditures. It also provides a number of enhanced viewing and searching options for information about campaign contributors. These improved features were included on similar maps for U.S. House and Senate campaigns.

2009

FEC Implements Lobbyist Bundling Disclosure Requirements February 3, 2009

The Commission approved regulations to conform to the provisions of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, which mandated enhanced disclosure for lobbyist-bundled contributions. A new form, FEC Form 3L, was created to conform to the new reporting requirements. The FEC also set up a new database of lobbyist-registrant PACs.

FEC Expands Disclosure of Litigation Documents September 24, 2009

The Commission approved a proposal to disclose pleadings from all parties involved in FEC litigation, including documents filed by adverse parties and amici, on its website. The inclusion of a wider range of documents on the FEC's litigation pages is intended to help the public better understand the impact of litigation and is part of the Commission's effort to promote transparency.

FEC Introduces New Formats for Downloading Data Files, Disclosure Data Blog October 26, 2009

The Commission introduced new formats, known as the Data Catalog, for downloading data files from its website that allowed users increased flexibility and choice to customize their searches. The Commission also began a new disclosure data blog to increase the exchange of information between the website's managers and users.

2010

FEC Website Provides New Candidate Disbursements Feature May 12, 2010

The Commission introduced a new Candidate Disbursements feature on its website, which provided downloads of itemized disbursements reported by U.S. House and Senate candidate committees for the 2010 election cycle. Although disbursement data for House candidates had been previously downloadable from the FEC's website, this new feature provided the public with an easy-to-use, one-step tool for accessing data that up to now had taken several steps to put in searchable form. This also marked the first time that the public had the ability to download Senate candidate data electronically.

FEC Announces New Search System for Audit Reports October 1, 2010

The Commission launched a new search system for accessing audit reports on its website. The Audit Finding Search System allowed users to search all approved audit reports using a two-level listing of categories that helped users narrow their research to the most relevant documents. The results displayed all documents pertaining to the audit report.

FEC Offers Real-Time, Searchable Information on Independent Expenditures October 22, 2010

The Commission introduced a new, searchable feature on its website allowing real-time, comprehensive disclosure of independent expenditures in the 2010 federal campaign. This new feature was part of a far-reaching effort by the agency to expand the use of searchable, sortable and downloadable data technologies to provide timely information to the public.

2011

FEC Announces New Search System for Rulemaking Documents February 17, 2011

The Searchable Electronic Rulemaking System allowed users to search public documents developed in the course of the Commission's rulemaking process. This system, which could be searched chronologically, by subject or regulation name or number, replaced and expanded upon the Commission's former online rulemaking archive. It also provided a new mechanism for the public to comment on ongoing rulemakings.

Reports Analysis Division Begins Emailing RFAIs October 28, 2011

The Reports Analysis Division implemented a process to send Requests for Additional Information (RFAIs) via email, to provide faster and more convenient notification to committees.

2012

FEC Launches New Campaign Finance Disclosure Website Portal March 22, 2012

The Commission introduced a new campaign finance disclosure portal to simplify access to the wide range of disclosure data available on the agency's website.

The disclosure portal provided a single point of entry to federal campaign finance data. It featured easily navigable maps, as well as a variety of search tools to help users make the best use of the Commission's data sources. Users could download many of the data sets available through the Disclosure Portal to perform their own analyses.

FEC Releases Documents On Enforcement and Compliance Practices May 23, 2012

The Commission made public a collection of internal documents concerning the agency's enforcement and compliance practices. Disclosure of the documents followed oversight hearings on November 3, 2011, before the Subcommittee on Elections of the House of Representatives Committee on House Administration.

Two New Disclosure Tools Unveiled September 20, 2012

The FEC introduced the Candidate and Committee Viewer search system to simplify access to campaign finance data. The Viewer allowed users to find campaign finance activity of any federal candidate, political committee, independent expenditure report filer or other report filer through a single search portal instead of conducting multiple searches in different databases on the website. The Viewer brought together cycle-to-date summaries, report summaries, images of reports and statements and downloadable electronic filings to produce an overview of each committee, and it provided both dynamic graphic charts and complete data sets in a downloadable, spreadsheet format to allow users to drill down to and analyze specific transactions. An introductory video provided an overview of the Viewer's main features.

The Commission also updated its Electronic Filing RSS feed to notify subscribers when a filer has sent a new report or document electronically to the Commission. Users could subscribe to six pre-established RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds: new electronic filings, monthly filings, quarterly filings, presidential filings, congressional filings and PAC and party filings. Alternatively, subscribers could customize their feeds by committee identification number, state or district. Additional subscription options were based on filers' party affiliation and report type. An online user guide offered further guidance on using the RSS feed.

2013

Online E-Filing Password System Developed May 15, 2013

The Commission developed and implemented a self-assigning password system. The system allows committees to request or change an electronic filing password online, automating the prior process of submitting password requests via fax or mail.

2015

FEC Launches Webforms 1 and 2 March 4, 2015

The FEC launched Webforms 1 and 2, enabling most candidates and committee to register online.


Enforcement

+ expand all

1976

First Mandatory Audits of Presidential Campaigns January 1, 1976

1976 marked the first year in which the FEC conducted mandatory audits of publicly funded Presidential campaigns.

1983

FEC Introduces Matter Under Review (MUR) Index June 6, 1983

The Commission introduced a computerized FEC MUR Index, which presented information on publicly released enforcement cases.

1988

Commission Adopts New Procedures to Speed Up Enforcement May 12, 1988

The Commission approved a recommendation by the General Counsel's Office to expedite FEC enforcement matters involving violations of the election law's reporting requirements.

2000

FEC Launches Administrative Fine Program July 14, 2000

In response to a legislative mandate, an Administrative Fine Program was implemented in July 2000 to address late and non-filing of disclosure reports in a more efficient and effective manner. The AF Program is administered by the Commission's Reports Analysis Division (RAD) and Office of Administrative Review (OAR), which are within the Office of Compliance.

Alternative Dispute Resolution Program Begins October 1, 2000

The Commission established the Alternative Dispute Resolution Office (ADRO) as a pilot program to reduce enforcement case processing times and free up Commission resources.

2002

Alternative Dispute Resolution Program Becomes Permanent October 1, 2002

After a vote of the Commission, the Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, which had been a pilot program, became a permanent part of the FEC's enforcement process.

2006

Commission Levies Record Fine Against Freddie Mac for FECA Violations April 17, 2006

The Commission entered into a conciliation agreement with Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), a federally chartered corporation, concerning its use of corporate resources to host campaign fundraising events and to collect and forward political contributions to federal candidates. The $3.8 million civil penalty Freddie Mac agreed to pay for these violations is the highest civil penalty in FEC history.

FEC Establishes Office of Compliance During Enforcement Restructuring November 26, 2006

The Office of Compliance was established as part of a high-level restructuring of the Office of the Staff Director. The Compliance Office was set up with four branches: the Alternative Dispute Resolution Office, the Audit Division, the Office of Administrative Review and the Reports Analysis Division.

2007

Commission Adopts "Best Efforts" Defense for Administrative Fines Challenges March 22, 2007

The Commission voted to revise its rules to allow committees to use "best efforts" as a defense for challenges in the Administrative Fine Program. To use best efforts as a defense, respondents must demonstrate that they could not file due to reasonably unforeseen circumstances beyond their control, and that they filed the late report within 24 hours after those circumstances ended.

2009

Commission Adopts Audit Hearing Procedures July 27, 2009

The Commission instituted a program that allows political committees to have a hearing before the Commission prior to the Commission's adoption of a Final Audit Report on the matter. The audit hearings were aimed at providing audited committees with the opportunity to present oral arguments to the Commission directly and to give the Commission an opportunity to ask relevant questions prior to adopting a Final Audit Report.

2013

Congress Extends Administrative Fine Program to 2018 December 26, 2013

Congress amended the Federal Election Campaign Act to extend through December 31, 2018, the authority of the Commission to impose civil money penalties. The legislation also expanded this authority to certain other violations, such as filing independent expenditure reports late.


Legislation

+ expand all

1971

Revenue Act of 1971 December 10, 1971

Title VIII, Sec. 802 of the Revenue Act of 1971 (Pub. L. No. 92-178) provided for the establishment of public funding for presidential candidates who agreed to abide by spending limits. The new law allowed citizens to check a box on their tax forms authorizing the Federal government to use tax dollars to finance Presidential campaigns in the general election. It did not apply to the 1972 election.

1972

Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 February 7, 1972

The 1971 Act (Pub. L. No. 92-225) required full reporting of campaign funds raised and spent, and provided legal framework for establishment of separate segregated funds by corporations and labor organizations. It also set expenditure limits on media advertising and set limitations on spending from a candidate's personal funds (both later removed).

1974

Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1974 October 15, 1974
Original Public Law Number 93-443

The 1974 Amendments to the Act (Pub. L. No. 93-443) established contribution and expenditure limits for federal candidates and other political committees. It also formally established the FEC and enumerated its responsibilities and duties, which included jurisdiction in civil enforcement matters, authority to write regulations, and responsibility for monitoring compliance. The amendments also made changes to the Presidential public funding program, allowing for primary candidates to receive funds and for presidential nominating conventions hosted by political parties to receive funds (Note that the convention funding provision was terminated by the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act in 2014).

1976

Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1976 May 11, 1976

The 1976 Amendments (Pub. L. No. 94-283) changed how FEC Commissioners were appointed (to the present-day system where appointment now requires nomination by the President and confirmation by the Senate), repealed campaign expenditure limits (declared unconstitutional by Buckley v. Valeo) and established rules for conducting solicitations of voluntary contributions to corporate and union SSFs.

1980

Federal Election Campaign Act Amendments of 1979 January 8, 1980

The 1979 amendments (Pub. L. No. 96-187) included several modifications. Changes included simplified reporting requirements of federal committees, expanded grassroots opportunities for state and local party committees (by creating what are today known as "exempt party activities") and prohibited personal use of candidate campaign committee funds.

1993

Congress Amends FECA in the Late 1980s and Early 1990s November 30, 1989 to August 10, 1993

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, several amendments to FECA were enacted, including provisions that:

  • Banned honoraria for federal officeholders (Pub. L. No. 109-90, 1991);
  • Repealed a grandfather clause that had permitted some Members of Congress to convert excess campaign funds to personal use (Pub. L. No. 101-194, 1989);
  • Assigned significant new administrative duties to the Commission under the National Voter Registration Act (Pub. L. No. 104-132, 1993; effective 1/1/1995); and
  • Increased the tax checkoff for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund from $1 to $3 (Pub. L. No. 103-66, 1993).

1995

New Legislation: Point of Entry and Electronic Filing December 28, 1995

President Clinton signed Public Law 104-79, which contained important changes to the ways certain FEC reports were filed. The legislation officially changed the point of entry for House candidates' reports and paved the way for the State filing waiver program and electronic filing. Candidates had previously filed their reports with the Clerk of the House, but on January 1, 1996, they began filing them with the FEC. (The law did not affect the point of entry for reports from Senate candidates.) The amendments also waived the requirement for candidates to file reports in their respective states, if the state permitted electronic access to and duplication of FEC reports. Finally, the law authorized the Commission to develop the technical and regulatory framework to enable political committees to file reports on computer disk or through other electronic means.

1999

Congress Authorizes Administrative Fine Program September 29, 1999

The Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-58) authorized the Commission to institute the Administrative Fine Program in order to collect civil penalties for late and non-filed reports during fiscal year 2000. (The initial authorization expired at the end of 2001, but has since been extended by law several times.)

2002

Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 March 27, 2002

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (Pub. L. No. 107-55) (BCRA) contained a number of substantive changes to federal campaign finance law. It increased certain contribution limits and indexed them for inflation, banned the raising and spending of nonfederal funds by national party committees, required state party committees to pay for certain federal activity with 100 percent federal funds, created reporting requirements for persons making electioneering communications and prohibited corporations and labor unions from making them (a ban this is no longer in effect), strengthened the ban on foreign national contributions and increased penalties for knowing and willful violations. BCRA also added a "Millionaires' provision" which enabled candidates who were facing self-funded opponents to raise additional contributions once certain thresholds were met (no longer in effect). The BCRA also prohibited federal candidates and officeholders from raising or spending nonfederal funds in connection with any election, including for state/local candidates. It also authorized state/local party committees to raise "Levin funds" for the purpose of paying for certain types of generic activity such as voter registration and get-out-the-vote activity.

2007

Revised Continuing Appropriations Act Resolution, 2007 February 15, 2007

This legislation (Pub. L. No. 110-5) granted the Commission authority to charge fees for conferences and workshops and to use those fees to defray conference costs.

Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 September 14, 2007

The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (Pub. L. No. 110-81)(HLOGA) restricted use of non-commercial aircraft by candidates and federal officeholders, and also required disclosure of contributions raised or bundled by registered lobbyists or PACs controlled by registered lobbyists.

2014

Legislation Ends Public Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions April 3, 2014

President Obama signed the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act (Pub. L. No. 113-94), ending the public funding of national nominating conventions.

Legislation Creates New National Party Limits December 16, 2014

The 2014 appropriations act (Pub. L. No. 113-483) included provisions that amended the FECA to permit national party committees to raise up to three times their applicable contribution limits for each of the following accounts: a presidential nominating convention account; a national party headquarters building fund account; and an election recount expenses account. Only the national committee of a political party (but not the congressional campaign committee of a national party) is authorized to maintain a presidential nominating convention account.


Litigation

+ expand all

1976

Buckley v. Valeo January 30, 1976

The Supreme Court upheld contribution limits as safeguards to the integrity of government by preventing the reality and appearance of corruption of federal officials. The Court also upheld the Act's disclosure regime. However, it overturned most limits on expenditures as limits on First Amendment freedoms. The Court also overturned the Act's provisions on the appointment of Commissioners, holding that the Constitution permitted only the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, to appoint Commissioners. The Court suspended many of the Commission's functions until Commissioners were reappointed by the President pursuant to the FECA Amendments of 1976.

1981

California Medical Association v. FEC June 26, 1981

The Supreme Court held that the annual limit on contributions to multicandidate political committees (or PACs) did not violate the First Amendment or the constitutional guarantee of equal protection, even though it placed some restrictions on unincorporated associations that were not placed on corporations and labor unions.

FEC v. Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee November 10, 1981

In reviewing the Commission's dismissal of an administrative complaint, the Supreme Court found that deference was owed to the Commission in that context and held that the FEC's interpretation of the Act to permit a state party committee to enter into an agency agreement with a national senatorial committee was sufficiently reasonable to survive judicial review.

1982

Bread Political Action Committee v. FEC March 8, 1982

The Supreme Court held that trade associations and political committees, which were not among the three categories of parties listed in 52 U.S.C. § 30110 (then 2 U.S.C. § 437h), could not invoke that provision's special procedure for judicial review of constitutional claims.

FEC v. National Right to Work Committee December 13, 1982

The Supreme Court held that the persons a corporation solicited to contribute to its separate segregated fund were insufficiently attached to the corporation to qualify as members under 52 U.S.C. § 30118(b)(4)(C) (then 2 U.S.C. § 441b(b)(4)(C)), and that any burden on First Amendment associational rights this interpretation of the Act caused was outweighed by the interests Congress sought to protect in limiting such activity.

1985

FEC v. National Conservative Political Action Committee March 18, 1985

The Supreme Court held that 26 U.S.C. § 9012(f), a provision of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act limiting independent expenditures by political committees to further the election of publicly financed candidates, violated the First Amendment.

1986

Massachusetts Citizens for Life (MCFL) v. FEC December 15, 1986

The Supreme Court ruled that prohibitions on corporate expenditures were unconstitutional as applied to independent expenditures made by a narrowly defined type of nonprofit corporation.

1994

FEC v. NRA Political Victory Fund October 22, 1993 and December 6, 1994

In October 1993, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the composition of the Commission "violates the Constitution's separation of powers" because Congress "placed its agents, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives, on the independent Commission as non-voting ex officio members." In response, the Commission voted to reconstitute itself as a six-member body and as a precaution, voted to ratify its regulations in effect at the time.

In December 1994, the Supreme Court ruled that the Solicitor General must represent the Commission before that Court in FECA cases.

2001

FEC v. Colorado Republican Federal Campaign Committee June 26, 1996 and June 25, 2001

In 1996, the Supreme Court ruled that the Act's party coordinated expenditure limits at 52 U.S.C. § 30116(d) (then 2 U.S.C. § 441a(d)) cannot constitutionally be applied to a radio ad aired by a political party committee because the ad was not coordinated with any candidate and thus was an independent expenditure. In 2001, following remand of the matter, the Court held that those limits were constitutional.

2003

Beaumont v. FEC June 16, 2003

The Supreme Court upheld the Act's prohibition on contributions by corporations as applied to nonprofit advocacy corporations.

McConnell v. FEC December 10, 2003

The Supreme Court upheld the two principal features of BCRA: the ban on raising and use of soft money in federal elections by political parties and the application of financing and disclosure rules to electioneering communications.

2007

Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (WRTL) v. FEC June 25, 2007

The Supreme Court ruled that the electioneering communication financing restrictions were unconstitutional as applied to communications that do not contain express advocacy or its functional equivalent.

2008

Shays v. FEC (Shays III) June 13, 2008

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals remanded several coordination and FEA regulations to the Commission for further rulemaking. The court also upheld the firewall safe harbor for coordination by former employees and vendors. The court overturned regulations permitting federal candidates to solicit funds without restriction at state or local party events.

Davis v. FEC June 26, 2008

The Supreme Court ruled that the Millionaires' Amendment included in BCRA violated the First Amendment rights of self-financed federal candidates.

2009

EMILY's List v. FEC September 18, 2009

The D.C. Circuit struck down FEC regulations on how nonconnected PACs allocate funds to finance certain federal and nonfederal election activities, stating that such entities could collect unlimited funds from individuals and nonprofits to make independent expenditures.

2010

Citizens United v. FEC January 21, 2010

The Supreme Court held that the Act's prohibitions on corporations making independent expenditures and electioneering communications violated the First Amendment; however, the Court upheld applicable reporting and disclaimer requirements.

Speechnow.org v. FEC March 26, 2010

The D.C. Circuit held that the Act's limits on the amounts that individuals may contribute to groups that make only independent expenditures violated the First Amendment; however, the Court upheld the organizational and reporting requirements that apply to such political committees.

2011

Carey v. FEC August 19, 2011

The FEC entered into a consent judgement stating that it would no longer enforce provisions of the Act against nonconnected political committees that wished to accept contributions of unlimited amounts, deposit such contributions into a separate "Non-Contribution Account," and use those funds to finance independent expenditures.

2014

McCutcheon v. FEC April 2, 2014

The Supreme Court held that the Act's aggregate limits on the amount an individual may contribute during a two-year period to all federal candidates, political parties, and other political committees violated the First Amendment.


Outreach

+ expand all

1976

FEC Begins Its Regional Seminar Series January 6, 1976
FEC Regional Conference in Austin TX, 1980 (L to R) Commissioner John Warren McGarry, Chairman Robert Tiernan, Judith Corley, Comissioner. Joan Aikens, Comissioner. Frank Reiche)

FEC Regional Conference in Austin TX, 1980 (L to R) Commissioner John Warren McGarry,
Chairman Robert Tiernan, Judith Corley, Commissioner Joan Aikens, Commissioner Frank Reiche

The Commission announced it would hold a series of "Regional Seminars" around the country to explain the new Federal Campaign Finance Laws to candidates and political committees. The agency continues to hold regional conferences today, supplemented by webinars, e-learing videos and other educational outreach programs.

FEC Publishes First Annual Report March 31, 1976

The Commission issued its first Annual Report to Congress and the President, as required by FECA.

FEC Publishes First Record Newsletter and Campaign Guide Series September 1, 1976
Campaign Guide Series

FEC Record and Campaign Guide Series

The Commission published its first Record newsletter and a six-part Campaign Guide series to help candidates and committees comply with the Federal Election Campaign Act. Over time, the Record and Campaign Guide series evolved into the comprehensive set of print and online publications that are available today.

1984

FEC Begins Monday Afternoon Clinics March 5, 1984

The Commission began hosting Monday afternoon clinics to assist committees.

1985

FEC Publishes Ten Year Report May 1, 1985
The First Ten Years, 1975-1985

The First Ten Years, 1975-1985

The Commission published The First Ten Years, a special report to mark the agency's 10th anniversary. The report reviewed the historical context in which the Commission was formed and described the agency's role in administering the FECA during its first decade.

1987

FEC Publishes Citizens Guide March 31, 1987
Supporting Federal Candidates, A Guide for Citizens

Citizens Guide

The Commission published Supporting Federal Candidates - A Guide for Citizens to provide the public a brief overview of the FECA's limits, prohibitions and disclosure requirements. The current edition of the Citizens Guide is available on the FEC's website.

1988

FEC Produces Videos for House and Senate Candidates and State Parties August 1, 1988
Why Me Video

The cover of Why Me?, the FEC's
instructional video for candidates.

The Commission produced two videotapes, one for House and Senate campaigns entitled Why Me? and another for state party committees entitled Help. The tapes presented an overview of major statutory provisions and were mailed to all registered House and Senate campaigns and state party committees.

1989

FEC Sends Questionnaires to State Parties February 10, 1989

The Commission sent questionnaires regarding allocation methods to state party chairs.

1991

FEC Offers Allocation Training to Party Committees January 11, 1991

Commission representatives travelled to several cities to conduct training sessions on new allocation regulations. The training program was designed to help state and local party committees comply with new rules that specified methods for allocating disbursements for activities that jointly benefit federal and nonfederal candidates and elections. Under the new rules, committees that maintained federal and nonfederal accounts would be required to file new reporting schedules disclosing information on allocated activity.

1994

Commission Automates Toll-free Line June 10, 1994

The FEC added an automated menu to its toll free information line.

"Flashfax" System August 1, 1994

The Commission introduced its automated Flashfax service. The technology permitted callers to dial a phone number, review a menu of documents and, using a touch-tone phone, place an order for documents to be faxed to them in a return call.

1995

FEC Publishes Twenty Year Report June 15, 1995
Twenty Year Report

Twenty Year Report

To mark its 20th anniversary, the FEC issued a Twenty Year Report. The Report provided a brief historical context, reviewed the agency's administration and enforcement of the law and examined key issues the Commission was debating at the time. The Report concluded with a chapter that offered FEC statistics to supplement the debate over the role of PACs and parties, and the costs of political campaigns.

1996

The FEC Has a New Address: http://www.fec.gov February 14, 1996
FEC/FECA Brochure, 1996

A sample page from the very first FEC.gov website.

The FEC launched its website, offering the public another FEC access point for information on campaign financing and the election process.

1998

GAO Conducts Customer Satisfaction Survey Regarding FEC Products, Services and Processes August 1, 1998

The GAO contacted randomly selected congressional candidate committees, political party committees and PACs to evaluate the FEC's effectiveness in providing information to the regulated community and facilitating disclosure of campaign finance information.

1999

FEC Makes Meeting Documents Available by Email June 1, 1999

The Public Records Office offered constituents the option to receive open meeting agenda documents by email.

FEC Redesigns, Streamlines Website December 23, 1999
FEC's Website from 1999

FEC's Website from 1999

The Commission reorganized its website to offer the most efficient presentation of relevant and appropriate information to various audiences, including the general public, candidates and their campaign workers, and the media.

Items available on the newly designed www.fec.gov include images of campaign finance reports; summaries and searchable databases of campaign contributions; candidate and committee guides and reporting forms; news releases and media advisories; statistics and data on voting and elections; Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) guidelines; FEC advisory opinions; a "What's New" scrolling menu; daily highlights; and more.

Additionally, the FEC implemented Media-Independent Presentation Language (MIPL), an Internet-based technology designed to facilitate access for persons with special needs to many types of information by using a wide variety of hardware and software solutions.

2000

EFOIA February 17, 2000

The Commission approved rules implementing the Electronic Freedom of Information Act Amendments of 1996 (EFOIA). The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides public access to all federal agency records except those that are protected from release by specified exemptions. The EFOIA extends that access to electronic records and makes other changes in FOIA procedures that are designed to expedite and streamline the process by which agencies disclose information generally. The EFOIA requires each agency to make reasonable efforts to ensure that its records can be reproduced and searched electronically, except when such efforts would significantly interfere with the operation of the agency's automated information system. The Commission has amended its FOIA rules to apply these statutory changes to its electronic records and procedures.

2002

FEC Launches BCRA Web Pages September 1, 2002

As part of an extensive educational outreach effort, the Commission added a new section to its website devoted to the new Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA).

2004

FEC Launches Updated Website September 30, 2004

Since the last major overhaul of the Commission's homepage in 1999, dramatic increases in the quantity of information available overwhelmed the existing site's structure and navigational tools. The new site featured more FEC information in a more user friendly format.

2005

FEC Introduces Online Version of Court Case Abstracts January 30, 2005

The Commission launched a new hypertext version of the FEC's Court Case Abstracts publication. This continuously-updated online index of FEC litigation replaced the paper publication that had typically been updated on an annual basis.

FEC Publishes Thirty Year Report January 30, 2005
Thirty Year Report

Thirty Year Report

The Commission published the Thirty Year Report to commemorate the Commission's 30-year anniversary.

2006

FEC Makes Audio Recordings of Commission Meetings Available on Website via Podcast January 19, 2006

The FEC began posting to its website the audio recordings of all public Commission meetings. Recordings are available both as complete meeting audio files and as individual agenda item audio files. The FEC originally committed to making these recordings available within 48 hours, but reduced that to 24 hours in 2012. Today, it's not unusual for the recordings to be available the same day as the event.

Budget Cuts Force FEC to Cancel Spring Conferences March 2, 2006

The Commission announced that budget constraints would force it to cancel its educational outreach conferences planned for the spring of 2006.

Commission Introduces Tips for Treasurers Web Page and RSS Feed May 18, 2006

The FEC posted a new Tips for Treasurers web page and RSS feed designed to keep treasurers updated on the latest FEC compliance information.

2007

Commission Replaces Paper Mailings with Email January 1, 2007

The Commission announced that it would send all courtesy materials to committees exclusively by electronic mail. The switch from paper to electronic mail was intended to improve the timeliness of communications with committees, offer opportunities for new types of communications and simplify the process of providing information tailored specifically to each committee's needs, all while saving tax dollars.

Guidance on Internal Controls and Preventing Embezzlement April 23, 2007

The Commission published guidance for political committees on best practices in setting up internal controls to prevent embezzlement, as well as a statement of policy on reporting errors caused due to misappropriation of funds by committee staff.

Automated Email Updates August 31, 2007
Automated Email Updates

The Commission launched FECMail, a web-based email service that provided subscribers automatic updates on a variety of campaign finance topics. The new service allowed users to sign-up to receive notification whenever information important to them was added or changed on the Commission's website.

2009

FEC Launches Lobbyist Bundling Web Page March 13, 2009

The Commission added a new page to its website to aid compliance with the lobbyist bundling disclosure provisions of the Honest Leadership and Government Act of 2007 (HLOGA).

Press Office Introduces Weekly Digest March 15, 2009

The FEC Press Office published its first Weekly Digest summarizing FEC news.

Website Improvement Hearings July 1, 2009

In July and August, 2009, the Commission held public hearings to receive comments on proposed website improvements as part of its Website and Internet Communications Improvement Initiative. The Commission was pursuing several programs to update and improve its website, enable the agency to keep pace with the latest technological developments and facilitate greater information sharing, communication and collaboration on the web.

Electronic Distribution of FEC Record Begins July 5, 2009

The Commission stopped mailing paper copies of its FEC Record newsletter and started distributing it electronically. Electronic distribution was designed to improve efficiency, conserve resources and provide more timely delivery to subscribers.

FEC Launches E-Learning and FECTube Web Pages August 4, 2009

As part of its broad effort to improve Internet communications and better serve the educational needs of the public and the regulated community, the Commission added an E-Learning section to its Educational Outreach web page and launched its own YouTube channel. The E-Learning page offered interactive presentations that allowed users to test their knowledge of the information presented and video workshops, which were hosted on YouTube.

2010

FEC Introduces New Compliance Map February 3, 2010

The Commission introduced a Compliance Map on its website that set out key dates and timeframes for disclosure of campaign finances in each state. This feature provided a quick reference for citizens and for the candidates, party committees and political action committees participating in elections.

2011

FEC Record Newsletter Becomes Online News Site August 1, 2011

In an effort to provide more timely and user-friendly information, the Commission converted the Record from a print-based online publication to a wholly web-based format that better utilizes the medium.

Beta Mobile Interface December 30, 2011
FEC Mobile Beta Website

FEC Mobile Beta Website

The FEC released the first in a series of FEC Mobile beta web pages designed to run on mobile devices. These beta web pages provided easier public access to campaign finance data and information about Commission activities.

2012

RAD Launches FAQ Web Page February 6, 2012

The Reports Analysis Division posted a web page to answer frequently asked questions (FAQ's) about reporting issues, Requests for Additional Information (RFAI's) and other RAD processes.

2013

Press Office Upgrades Media Web Page June 20, 2013

The revamped Press Office page was designed to help the public, including researchers, academics and media, find information on the Commission and campaign finance law and to locate statistical data more quickly and easily.

2014

RAD Customer Service Survey July 22, 2014

The Reports Analysis Division (RAD) sent a survey via email to all filers to identify opportunities to improve RAD's customer service and outreach.

FEC Hosts Public Forum on Website Improvement August 14, 2014

The Commission hosted a forum, seeking broad public input for its effort to improve access to campaign finance data and information through a redesign of the FEC.gov website.

2015

Commission Replaces DC Seminars and Workshops with Webinars January 9, 2015

The FEC announced it would expand its online training opportunities and replace its in-house seminars and workshops with webinars. The move reflected the trend in attendance numbers for in-person and online training sessions, as well as the FEC's desire to increase training opportunities for committees by eliminating travel time and expense.

FEC Offers Live Video of Public Meetings February 11, 2015

The Commission launched a live online video stream of all of its public meetings, complete with captions for the hearing impaired.


Public Funding

+ expand all

1975

National Parties Certified November 13, 1975

Both major parties were certified as eligible to receive public funds for their presidential nominating conventions.

First Candidates Certified for Matching Funds December 18, 1975

Terry Sanford, Gerald Ford, and Lloyd Bentsen became the first candidates certified to the Secretary of the Treasury for primary matching funds.

1976

First Candidates Certified for General Election grant July 20, 1976

The Democratic Party nominees for President and Vice President, Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale, were certified eligible for Presidential Election Campaign Fund payments. The Republican nominees, Gerald Ford and Robert Dole, were certified on August 24. Each campaign received $21.82 million in public funds for the general election campaign.

Commission Releases First Public Funding Audit Report October 14, 1976

The Commission released its first audit report, covering the Sanford for President Committee. The report is the first statutory audit to be completed on a Presidential committee receiving matching funds.

1979

Commission Certifies Initial Payment for the Republican National Committee's 1980 National Convention June 28, 1979

On June 28, 1979, after adopting procedures for the certification of public funds for national party committee nominating conventions, the Commission certifies to the U.S. Treasury an initial payment of $750,000 for the Republican National Committee's 1980 national nominating convention.

Commission Certifies Initial Payment for the Democratic National Committee's 1980 National Convention August 16, 1979

On August 16, 1979, the Commission certifies to the U.S. Treasury an initial payment of $300,000 for the Democratic National Committee's 1980 national nominating convention.

1980

Commission Certifies Remainder of Entitlements to Finance 1980 National Party Conventions February 13 and 24, 1980

On February 13, 1980, the Commission certifies the remainder of the Democratic National Committee's full entitlement of $4,416,000 to finance the 1980 Democratic national convention. On February 24, 1980, the Commission certifies the remainder of the Republican National Committee's full entitlement of $4,416,000 to finance the 1980 Republican national convention.

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act April 14, 1980

On April 14, 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously affirms two lower court decisions upholding the constitutionality of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Act challenged by the Republican National Committee in RNC v FEC, 445 U.S. 955 (1980).

Commission Certifies Public Funds to 1980 Major Party General Election Presidential Campaigns July 24 and August 21, 1980

The Commission certifies $29.44 million in public funds each to the general election campaigns of Republican Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan and his running mate, George Bush (on July 24, 1980), and of Democratic Presidential nominee Jimmy Carter and his running mate, Walter Mondale (on August 21, 1980).

Commission Certifies Public Funds to 1980 New Party Candidate November 13, 1980

On November 13, 1980, the Commission certifies $4,164,906 in public funds to the general election campaign of new party Presidential candidate John Anderson and his running mate, Patrick Lucey.

1981

Commission Certifies Additional Funds to New Party Candidate for 1980 Campaign January 8, 1981

On January 8, 1981, the Commission certifies an additional $77,398 in public funds for the general election campaign of new party Presidential nominee John Anderson and his running mate, Patrick Lucey.

1983

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 1984 Presidential Nominating Conventions June 23, 1983

The Commission certifies $5,871,000 in public funds to both the Republican and Democratic parties for their 1984 national Presidential conventions.

1984

Commission Certifies Additional Public Funds for Major Party 1984 Presidential Nominating Conventions July 12, 1984

The Commission certifies an additional $2.020 million in public funds to both the Republican and Democratic parties for their 1984 national Presidential conventions, bringing each party's grant to $8.080 million.

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 1984 General Election Campaigns July 26 and August 27, 1984

The Commission certifies $40.4 million in public funds each for the general election campaigns of Democratic Presidential nominee Walter Mondale and his running mate, Geraldine Ferraro (on July 26, 1984) and of Republican Presidential nominee Ronald Reagan and his running mate, George Bush (on August 27, 1984).

1985

Expenditure Limit Struck March 18, 1985

The Supreme Court ruled that a $1,000 expenditure limit for political committees on behalf of publicly financed nominees was unconstitutional.

1987

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 1988 Presidential Nominating Conventions July 6, 1987

The Commission asked the Secretary of the Treasury to pay $8,892,000 in public funds to both the Republican and Democratic parties to finance their 1988 national Presidential conventions.

1988

Commission Certifies Additional Public Funds for Major Party 1988 Presidential Nominating Conventions March 2, 1988

The Commission certifies an additional $328,000 in public funds to both the Republican and Democratic parties to finance their 1988 national Presidential conventions.

The Commission Offers First Warning on Potential Shortfall March 2, 1988

The Commission offers its first warning on a potential shortfall in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

The Commission Certifies Grants to 1988 Presidential General Election Campaigns July 26 and August 22, 1988

The Commission certifies $46.1 million each in public funds to the general election campaigns of Democratic Presidential nominee Michael Dukakis and his running mate, Lloyd Bentsen (on July 26, 1988) and of Republican Presidential nominee Vice President George Bush and his running mate, Dan Quayle (on August 22, 1988).

1989

Commission Warns Congress of Possible Funding Shortfall April 3 and November 1, 1989

Chairman Danny L. McDonald alerts Members of Congress of a projected 1996 deficit in Presidential Election Campaign Fund and consequences to the public funding system in letters sent on April 3, 1989 and November 1, 1989.

1990

Commission Warns of Possible Funding Shortfall for 1992 Presidential Campaigns February 12, 1990

The Commission notifies Congress, the President and the Secretary of the Treasury that the Presidential Election Campaign Fund will likely be insufficient to finance the 1992 campaigns.

Commission Asks Treasury Department to Write Rules to Address Shortfall July 11, 1990

The Commission asks the U.S. Department of the Treasury to write rules to address the looming shortfall in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

1991

FEC Projects Public Funding Shortfall February 11, 1991

The Commission opened 1991 discussing the possible shortfall in the fund for the 1992 cycle. Commissioners appeared in various media outlets to inform the public about the tax checkoff program.

FEC Launches Public Education Program on Tax Checkoff March 5, 1991

The Commission launched a public education program to teach taxpayers about the purpose of the dollar tax checkoff. This came after years of declining participation. The public information program featured television and radio public service announcements as well as newspaper Op-ed pieces, a brochure, a flyer, and media appearances by the Chair. This phase of the program reached 92 million taxpayers.

Commission Certifies Public Funds to Major Parties for 1992 Nominating Conventions June 28 and July 3, 1991

The Commission certifies the eligibility of the 1992 Democratic National Convention Committee (on June 28, 1991) and the Committee on Arrangements for the 1992 Republican National Convention (on July 3, 1991) to receive $10.6 million each for their Presidential nominating conventions.

1992

Commission Press Conference and Educational Outreach Campaign Regarding Shortfall January 3, 1992

In a press conference, the Commission makes an announcement concerning an educational outreach campaign to alert the public to the shortfall in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. The same day, the Commission introduces checkoff education ads and a special checkoff 800-number.

Chair Aikens Appears on C-Span to Discuss Shortfall in 1992 Presidential Campaign Funding February 24, 1992

Chair Joan D. Aikens appears on a C-Span call-in show to discuss the public funding program and the possible shortfall, as well as the FEC's efforts to get the checkoff raised.

Commission Predicts 1996 Shortfall in Press April 3, 1992

In a press conference, the Commission predicts 1996 shortfall in the Presidential Election Campaign Fund unless Congress amends the law. Also on this day, Chair Aikens discusses the tax checkoff on Larry King's nationally-syndicated radio program.

Commission Certifies Public Funds to 1992 General Election Major Party Candidates July 17 and August 21, 1992

The Commission certifies $55.25 million each in public funds to the general election campaigns of Democratic Presidential nominee Bill Clinton and his running mate, Albert Gore, Jr. (on July 17, 1992) and of Republican Presidential nominee George Bush and his running mate Dan Quayle (on August 21, 1992).

1993

FEC Publishes Comprehensive Report on Public Funding April 14, 1993 and July 23, 1993
Public Funding Report

Public Funding Report

A comprehensive report published by the FEC on July 23, 1993 (with advance copies released on April 14, 1993) chronicles the history and experiences of Presidential public funding and forecasts a warning for the 1996 shortfall.

Tax Checkoff Increased from $1 to $3 August 10, 1993

President Clinton signed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, which raised the $1 checkoff to a $3 checkoff for the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

1995

Commission Certifies Funds for Major Parties' 1996 Presidential Nominating Conventions June 30, 1995

On June 30, 1995, the Commission certified the eligibility of the Democratic National Convention Committee and the Committee on Arrangements for the 1996 Republican National Convention to receive $12.024 million each for their 1996 Presidential nominating conventions.

1996

First General Election Grant Certified to Third Party August 22, 1996

For the first time, the FEC certified a partial public funding grant to a third party Presidential campaign. The Reform Party's Perot/Choate campaign received a $22.055 million general election grant.

Commission Certifies Funding for 1996 Major Party General Election Candidates August 15 and August 30, 1996

The Commission certifies $61.82 million each in public funds to the general election campaigns of Democratic Presidential nominee President Bill Clinton and his running mate, Vice President Albert Gore, Jr. (on August 30, 1996) and of Republican Presidential nominee Bob Dole and his running mate Jack Kemp (on August 15, 1996).

1999

Commission Certifies Funds for Major Parties' 2000 Presidential Nominating Conventions June 28, 1999

On June 28, 1999, the Commission certified the eligibility of the Democratic National Convention Committee, Inc. and the Committee on Arrangements for the 2000 Republican National Convention to receive $13.224 million each for their 2000 Presidential nominating conventions.

George W. Bush Becomes First Major Party Candidate to Decline Primary Election Public Funding July 15, 1999

On July 15, 1999, Republican Presidential candidate George W. Bush announced that his campaign would not accept primary matching funds. As a result, the campaign is not subject to the spending limits that are a condition of receiving federal matching funds in the primary season.

Commission Certifies Funding for Reform Party 2000 Convention November 22, 1999

The Commission certified $2,468,921 to the Reform Party for its 2000 Presidential nominating convention. As a minor party, it had qualified for public funding of this convention based on a ratio of votes cast in the preceding Presidential election.

2000

Commission Certifies Additional Funds for Parties' 2000 Presidential Nominating Conventions March 28 and May 25, 2000

On March 28, 2000, the Commission approved an additional public funding payment of $288,000 for each of the major parties' 2000 national nominating conventions, ensuring that each party received their full public funding entitlement of $13,512,000. Similarly, on May 25, 2000, the Commission certified an additional $55,769 to the Reform Party for its 2000 convention, bringing its total entitlement to $2,522,690. These additional payments reflected an adjustment in the consumer price index.

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 2000 General Election Candidates August 4 and August 18, 2000

The Commission certified $67.56 million each to the major party 2000 general election campaigns of Republican Presidential nominee George W. Bush and his Vice-Presidential running mate Richard Cheney (on August 4, 2000) and of Democratic Presidential nominee Al Gore and his Vice-Presidential running mate Senator Joseph Lieberman (on August 18, 2000).

Commission Certifies Funds to Reform Party 2000 General Election Campaign September 14, 2000

On September 14, 2000, the Commission certified $12,613,452 million to the general election campaign of Reform Party candidate Pat Buchanan and his Vice-Presidential running mate Ezola Foster.

2003

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 2004 Presidential Nominating Conventions June 27, 2003

On June 27, 2003, the Commission certified $14.592 million each to the convention committees of the Democratic and Republican parties for their 2004 Presidential nominating conventions.

2004

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 2004 Presidential General Election Candidates July 30 and September 2, 2004

The Commission certified $74.62 million each to the major party 2004 general election campaigns of Republican Presidential nominee President George W. Bush and his Vice-Presidential running mate Vice President Richard Cheney (on September 2, 2004) and of Democratic Presidential nominee Senator John Kerry and his Vice-Presidential running mate Senator John Edwards (on July 30, 2004).

2007

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 2008 Presidential Nominating Conventions June 27, 2007

On June 27, 2007, the Commission certified $16.356 million each to each major party's 2008 national convention committee for the party's Presidential nominating convention.

2008

Obama Becomes First Major Party Candidate to Forego Public Funds in General Election June 19, 2008

Senator Barack Obama announced that he would not participate in the public financing system for Presidential campaigns in the general election. With his decision, Mr. Obama became the first candidate of a major party to decline public financing in the general election - and the spending limits that go with it - since the system was created in 1976.

2011

Commission Certifies Public Funds for Major Party 2012 Presidential Nominating Conventions November 8, 2011

On November 8, 2011, the Commission certified $17,689,800 each to each major party's 2012 national convention committee for the party's Presidential nominating convention.


Regulations

+ expand all

1975

Commission Issues First Notice of Proposed Rulemaking June 2, 1975

The newly created Federal Election Commission issued its very first Notice of Proposed Rulemaking-a set of proposed regulations upon which the public may comment-to implement the 1974 amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act.

1976

Supreme Court's Ruling in Buckley v. Valeo Suspends Commission's Initial Rulemakings January 30, 1976

Between July 1975 and January 1976, the Commission voted on and approved eight rulemakings, six of which were transmitted to Congress to pend for 30 legislative days. However, the Supreme Court ruled in Buckley v. Valeo that the composition of the Commission -- with two members appointed by the President, two by the House and two by the Senate -- was unconstitutional. As such, the agency could not carry out certain executive responsibilities of the Act, including the promulgation of rules and regulations. The decision resulted in the suspension of these initial regulations.

1977

Following its Reconstitution, the Commission Transmits and then Re-Transmits Regulations Implementing FECA to Congress January 11, 1977

After its reconstitution on May 21, 1976, the Commission re-published its draft regulations for public comment on May 26. It held hearings in June 1976 on those regulations and submitted final rules to Congress on August 3, 1976. Congress adjourned before the rules had been pending for 30 legislative days, however, meaning that the rules were not promulgated. The Commission voted to make two minor changes and resubmitted the rules to Congress on January 11, 1977.

First Set of Comprehensive Regulations Implementing FECA Take Effect April 13, 1977
1977 Code of Federal Regulations, cover

1977 Code of Federal Regulations, cover

The regulations that the Commission had been working on since 1975 finally pended before Congress for 30 legislative days on March 29, 1977; thereby enabling the Commission to promulgate them effective as of April 13, 1977.

1979

Commission Sends to Congress the First Comprehensive Revision of Presidential Public Funding Regulations December 31, 1979

Following its experiences with administering the public funding of the 1976 Presidential election, the Commission went to work to revise its public funding regulations for the 1980 elections. The revisions included proposed regulations concerning matching funds for Presidential primary candidates. The Commission sent three sets of public funding regulations to Congress in 1979.

1980

Congress Disapproves Regulations Regarding Candidate Debates; FEC Resubmits along with Additional Regulations Implementing the 1979 FECA Amendments April 1, 1980

FEC regulations are transmitted to Congress where they must pend for 30 legislative days before going into effect (and at the time these regulations were pending, Congress also could have "disapproved" them; the Supreme Court later ruled this practice to be unconstitutional). In the case of 1979 regulations that set out rules governing the conduct of candidate debates, Congress disapproved the Commission's initial regulations; however, a second revised submission went into effect on April 1, 1980. The Commission also transmitted regulations that implemented the 1979 amendments to the FECA. Both sets of regulations took effect April 1, 1980.

1985

Testing-the-Waters Regulations Provide Guidance to Potential Candidates July 1, 1985

After a series of early 1980s Advisory Opinions about activities of prospective Presidential candidates, the Commission issued regulations that exempted individuals "testing-the-waters" from having to register as candidates, so long as their activities were limited in scope as defined by the regulations. These rules remain in effect today.

1991

Commission Promulgates New Rules on Allocating Spending that Affects Both Federal and Nonfederal Elections January 1, 1991

Originating from a rulemaking petition filed in 1984, the Commission promulgated rules on the allocation of expenditures by party committees and PACs that affect both federal and nonfederal elections. The rules sought to address which expenditures must be paid for with "hard" federal dollars, and which expenditures could be partially funded with "soft" money raised under nonfederal law. During the rulemaking, the Commission issued four notices of proposed rules for comment, conducted two hearings, and asked 110 state party heads and chief national party fundraisers for input. Approved in June 1990, the rules went into effect beginning with the 1992 election cycle, and the Commission undertook extensive outreach efforts to train party committees in the new "allocation" system. BCRA ultimately invalidated many of the allocation regulations promulgated in 1991 that affected political party spending, and the Commission removed those provisions in subsequent rulemakings (see entry under 2003).

Commission Declines to Adopt Proposed Ban on U.S. Subsidiaries of Foreign Corporations Forming PACs June 13, 1991

After a series of Advisory Opinions permitted domestic subsidiaries of foreign corporations to establish and administer SSFs (with some restrictions), the Commission considered, but ultimately decided not to adopt, proposed regulations prohibiting such subsidiaries from having SSFs.

1995

Commission Issues Regulations on Independent Expenditures by Non-Profit Corporations October 5, 1995

In 1986, the Supreme Court held in FEC v. Massachusetts Citizens for Life that certain nonprofit corporations could legally make independent expenditures. A resulting petition for rulemaking initiated the FEC's rulemaking in response and garnered over 17,000 comments. The Commission ultimately promulgated new rules amending the definition of "express advocacy" and describing the nonprofit organizations that were exempt from the Act's ban on corporate independent expenditures (this ban was later found unconstitutional as to all corporations in Citizens United).

1999

Commission Defines "Member" of a "Membership Association" November 2, 1999

Incorporated membership organizations may solicit funds for their PACs from their "members" as well as executive and administrative personnel of the organization. Following litigation and Advisory Opinions issued in the 1980s, the FEC promulgated a new definition of the term "member." After further litigation, which found the revised definition and accompanying rules too restrictive because they required that a "member" both pay dues and hold voting privileges, the Commission adopted a broader definition of "member" that requires that a "member" either have a significant financial or organizational attachment, or pay annual dues of any amount to the organization. This definition remains in place today.

2001

Commission Implements 1995 Legislation Concerning Recordkeeping, Reporting and Filing January 1, 2001

Over the last half of the 1990s, the Commission conducted several rulemakings that implemented late 1995 statutory changes to the reporting and recordkeeping provisions of the Act. The rulemakings concerned point of entry for FEC reports on the federal and state level, electronic filing by political committees, best efforts requirements for committee treasurers in obtaining, maintaining and submitting contributor information, and election-cycle reporting for authorized committees. These rules mostly remain in effect today.

2003

Commission Issues "Soft Money" Regulations January 1, 2003

The Commission's first of seven rulemaking projects to implement the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA) included regulations that restrict and, in some cases, ban the receipt, solicitation and use of nonfederal funds (sometimes called "soft money"). The rules prohibit national parties from raising or spending nonfederal funds; require state, district and local party committees to fund certain "federal election activities" with federal funds and, in some cases, with money raised according to new limitations, prohibitions and reporting requirements (i.e., "Levin funds"), or with a combination of such funds; and address fundraising by federal and nonfederal candidates and officeholders on behalf of party committees, other candidates and nonprofit organizations.

Commission Adjusts Contribution Limits for Inflation for the First Time; Certain Contribution Prohibitions are Strengthened or Enabled January 1, 2003 and January 13, 2003

Contribution limits and prohibitions regulations that increased the individual contribution limits and implemented their regular indexing for inflation took effect on January 1, 2003. The Commission issued additional regulations, effective January 13, 2003, implementing BCRA's provisions that strengthened the foreign national ban and prohibited minors from making contributions (later removed, as explained in an later entry).

Commission Addresses Coordinated Communications and Independent Expenditures in Rulemakings May 9, 2001 and February 3, 2003

Seeking to address various 1990s litigation results, the Commission promulgated a new definition of coordinated communications. The regulations became the subject of litigation in Shays I and Shays III, and were revised several times (see later entry).

Commission Issues Regulations on Electioneering Communications and Other Campaign Communications November 22, 2002, January 13, 2003 and February 3, 2003

As part of its BCRA implementation, the Commission promulgated new rules on electioneering communications certain television and radio communications that refer to a clearly identified Federal candidate and are publicly distributed to the relevant electorate within 60 of a general election or within 30 days of a primary election for Federal office. In other BCRA rulemakings, the Commission addressed the disclosure and disclaimer requirements (including BCRA's new design and wording requirements for disclaimers on print, television, and radio ads) for independent expenditure and electioneering communications.

2004

Commission Initiates Rulemaking on Definition of Political CommitteeMarch 4,2004

The Commission undertook a rulemaking to revisit whether the definition of "political committee" adequately encompassed all organizations that should be considered political committees subject to the limitations, prohibitions and reporting requirements of FECA. The Commission held two days of public hearings in April 2004 and received roughly 100,000 written comments. The Commission ultimately decided not to define "major purpose" by regulation. (A supplemental notice published in 2007 explained that the Commission would make major purpose determinations on a case-by-case basis.) The Commission did adopt a new regulation that treated funds received in response to certain solicitations as "contributions," counting toward an organization's threshold for registering as a political committee. That rule was repealed in 2010.

2005

BCRA Challenge in McConnell v. FEC Results in Several Rulemakings December 3, 2004 and March 7, 2005

The Commission revised regulations that had governed two provisions of BCRA found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC: the ban on contributions from minors and the so-called "choice provision," which prevented party committees from making both coordinated and independent expenditures on behalf of a candidate after that candidate's primary election. The Commission completed work on these rulemakings in 2004, reinstating pre-BCRA rules on contributions by minors (effective March 7, 2005) and clarifying that a party committee may make both coordinated and independent expenditures for general election candidates (effective December 3, 2004).

New Rules on Filing by Priority Mail, Express Mail and Overnight Delivery March 10, 2005

The Commission approved final rules regarding the timely filing of documents using Priority Mail, Express Mail or overnight delivery service. The rules implemented FECA amendments included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2005, that permitted filers to use these additional delivery options to satisfy the Commission's "timely filing" requirements for certain designations, reports and statements filed on paper with either the FEC or the Secretary of the Senate.

2006

Commission Adopts Internet Regulations that Create Exemptions for Voluntary Individual Internet Activities May 12, 2006

After the court in Shays I ruled in 2004 that the FEC's definition of "public communication" impermissibly excluded all internet communications, the Commission amended the definition to include only paid internet ads placed on another person's website. The Commission further amended its regulations governing disclaimers and definitions of "contribution" and "expenditure" "to ensure that political committees properly financed and disclosed their internet communications, without impeding individual citizens from using the internet to speak freely regarding candidates and elections."

2007

Regulations Implement Supreme Court Decision in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life December 26, 2007

The Commission revised its regulations following the Supreme Court's ruling in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. (2007) to state that electioneering communications similar to those in WRTL may be funded with corporate and/or labor funds, but are subject to reporting and disclaimer requirements. The Commission's 2007 regulations included a provision that required corporations or labor organizations that made WRTL-permitted electioneering communications to disclose the name and address of each person who made a donation aggregating $1,000 or more to the corporation or labor organization "for the purpose of furthering electioneering communications." In November 2014, this particular provision was vacated by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in Van Hollen v. FEC.

2009

Commission Removes Unconstitutional "Millionaires' Amendment" Regulations February 1, 2009

In February 2009, the Commission removed 2003 regulations that had implemented BCRA's so-called "Millionaires' Amendment." This provision increased contribution limits and coordinated party expenditure limits for Senate and House of Representative candidates facing self-financed opponents. The "Millionaires' Amendment" had been found unconstitutional in Davis v. FEC.

2010

Commission Amends Allocation Rules and Definition of a Political Committee to Conform with EMILY's List January 1, 2005 (regulation implemented); April 10, 2010 (regulation removed)

The Commission removed a regulation that treated funds received in response to certain solicitations as "contributions," counting toward an organization's threshold for registering as a political committee, as well as two regulations concerning allocation of expenses by PACs, after the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated it in EMILY's List v. FEC (2009).

Shays III Revisions to Final Rules on Participation by Federal Candidates and Officeholders in Nonfederal Fundraising Events Take Effect June 4, 2010

The Commission approved final rules that cover participation by federal candidates and officeholders at fundraising events that are in connection with an election for federal office or any nonfederal election where funds outside the amount limitations and source prohibitions of federal campaign finance law are solicited. The rule addresses participation at the fundraising event and in publicizing the event.

Regulations to Implement the Honest Leadership and Government Act (HLOGA) of 2007 March 19, 2009 (lobbyist bundling); January 6, 2010 (campaign travel); and June 26, 2010 (revisions to Presidential travel regulation)

Following the passage of HLOGA, the FEC completed two rulemakings that (1) implemented HLOGA's disclosure requirements for certain committees that receive bundled contributions from lobbyists and committees established or controlled by any lobbyist and (2) established new rules relating to travel on private jets by candidates and other "campaign travelers."

Shays III Revisions to Final Rules on Coordinated Communications Take Effect December 1, 2010

The 2010 revisions to the coordinated communications regulations added a "content standard" for communications that are the "functional equivalent of express advocacy." The new rules also created a safe harbor for certain business and commercial communications, and provided further explanation and justification for two "conduct standards" in the existing regulations.

Shays III Revisions to Final Rules on "Federal Election Activities" Take Effect December 1, 2010

The Commission modified the definitions of "voter registration activity" and "get-out-the-vote-activity" (GOTV activity) and made other changes in response to the Shays III decision.

2014

Commission Publishes McCutcheon Rules Removing Aggregate Individual Limits December 24, 2014

Final regulations conforming to the Supreme Court's decision in McCutcheon v. FEC were published in the Federal Register. The revised rules removed the aggregate limits on contributions by individuals. An additional Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking sought comments on related issues.

2015

Citizens United Rules Permitting Corporate and Labor Expenditures Take Effect January 27, 2015

Final regulations conforming to the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United v. FEC were published in the Federal Register on October 21, 2014, and took effect on January 27, 2015. The rules permit corporations and labor organizations to make independent expenditures and electioneering communications.