With the 2012 elections already underway, the Commission anticipates an exciting and challenging year ahead. This election cycle promises to set new records in campaign finance activity. The FEC projects that the total amount spent during the election cycle could top $11 billion. Our staff has spent the past year developing technological advances to ensure that the Agency can easily receive and make public this volume of campaign finance data, and we look forward to seeing the success of these efforts as we meet the public’s demand for quick and clear access to campaign finance information.
The FEC also provides a robust education and outreach program to provide campaigns, political committees and others regulated under the Federal Election Campaign Act with information necessary to comply with the campaign finance laws. Our first roundtable of the year to help committees prepare for filing their year-end reports will be held this month at FEC headquarters. Others will follow as future filing deadlines approach. In addition, the Commission will offer a two-day conference in Miami, Florida, in February. In an effort to reduce costs for individuals attending FEC conferences, the Commission has replaced its DC conferences with a series of one-day seminars held at the FEC. The Commission plans to hold three one-day seminars in the spring of 2012 to help campaigns and committees conduct their activities for the year.
The Commission is also taking steps to simplify and clarify its campaign finance regulations by repealing FEC regulations prohibiting corporations and labor organizations from making independent expenditures and electioneering communications. These prohibitions were found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. The Commission is currently seeking public comments on proposed rules regarding independent expenditures and electioneering communications by corporations and labor organizations, and plans to hold a hearing on these proposed rules on March 7, 2012. We look forward to bringing the FEC’s regulations in line with the Court’s decision in Citizen’s United, as well other court decisions.
It is an honor and a pleasure to serve as the FEC’s Chair during this exciting election year. The Commission has many things to accomplish in 2012, and I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners and the dedicated staff of the FEC to meet the Commission’s goals.
Caroline C. Hunter
(Posted 1/15/12; By: FEC Chair Caroline C. Hunter)