APPENDIX B

 

 

 

Federal Election Commission

IT Strategic Plan

FY 1999-2002

The FEC developed a Information Technology (IT) Strategic Plan to supplement its Agency Wide FY 1996-2001 Strategic Plan. The Commission transmitted these plans to OMB with its 1997 Budget Request. In response to funding levels in FY 1997 and FY 1998 of less than what had been anticipated originally, the Commission revised its IT Strategic Plan and developed a FY 1998 IT performance Plan in conjunction with its FY 1998 budget request. In FY 1999 the FEC requested and received $4,402,500 for the continued development of the IT enhancements. The information in this revised IT Strategic Plan is consistent with all currently available OMB guidance including OMB Circular A-11, as revised, per Transmittal Memorandum No. 66, Supplements Nos. 1 and 2. The plan will be modified to conform with any future OMB guidance to agencies concerning compliance with the provisions of Public Law 103-62, the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA).

This Information Technology (IT) Strategic Plan encompasses three IT initiatives:

1. Point of Entry

2. Electronic Filing

3. IT Modernization

The original rationale for undertaking the Electronic Filing and IT Modernization initiatives is described in four documents prepared by an independent consultant (AMS) with whom the FEC contracted in September of 1995. These documents were delivered to the Commission in December 1995 and are titled "IT Modernization Requirements Report," "Electronic Filing Requirements Report," "IT Modernization Cost-Benefit Report," and "Electronic Filing Cost-Benefit Report". In July 1997 the FEC awarded AMS with a second follow-on contract to prepare an update to the initial IT requirements & cost benefits analysis. The result was provided to the FEC in December 1997 in a document titled "IT Modernization Requirements & Cost-Benefit Report".

Public Law No. 104-79 (December 28, 1995) which amended the FECA (the Act) provides the basis for the Point of Entry initiative. This new law mandates that candidates for the United States House of Representatives and their authorized committees file all reports required under the Act with the FEC, effective December 31, 1995. In addition, the new law amends the Act to permit electronic filing of FEC reports and reduce duplicative filing with state offices, effective December 31, 1996.

The IT Strategic Plan is based upon information contained in these reports and our experiences in prior years.

IT Mission Statement

The goal of the FECís overall IT effort, first initiated in FY 96, was to modernize and improve its IT architecture, having now implemented an electronic filing system, to integrate e-filings into the FEC workflow, and to continue to facilitate point of entry for reports filed by candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives and their authorized committees and to bring electronic filing to the U.S. Senate. In this regard, these IT initiatives support the Commission staff in the achievement of their basic statutory mission to implement and enforce the Federal election Campaign Act (FECA).

Description Of IT Goals and Objectives

Project I: Point of Entry.. The objective of this project is to consolidate the point of entry for filing disclosure documents at the FEC, to digitize all documents filed into the FEC databases within the statutory 48 hour deadline, to integrate filings into a comprehensive disclosure system irrespective of their original form or filing location, , to allow the House Clerkís office to retrieve document images in a usable format, to provide an enhanced WWW inquiry process and to eliminate duplicate processing at FEC and House offices, begun in December 31, 1995.

Project II: Electronic Filing. The goal for the Electronic Filing Project is to permit full and prompt integration of electronically-filed (e-documents) information into FEC databases, to expand upon the data currently available thereby improving disclosure by minimizing the efforts required in manual processing: "Electronic Filing Cost Benefit Report," p. 1-2. The objectives of this project are to save staff resources where possible, to permit full integration of electronically-filed information into FEC databases, and to make campaign finance disclosure data more readily available to the public.

Project III: IT Modernization. Beginning in FY 1996 the FEC undertook an IT Modernization effort whose ultimate goal was the to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of FEC staff in all programs and to foster the achievement of our statutory mission of implementing and enforcing the FECA. The direct goal for modernization is to permit the FEC to complete the migration from a terminal-based system to a personal computer (PC) based fully integrated client-server system, and having a full range of desktop computing capabilities. The objectives of this project are to save staff resources where possible, to facilitate responses to informational and disclosure requests, to reduce copying and distribution of paper documents, to streamline research and drafting, to assist in managing workloads, and to fully realize the potential benefits made possible by the document imaging systems and the integration Electronic Filing Project.

Relationship Between Performance Goals and Objectives In The Annual Performance Plan And General Goals In the Strategic Plan

To meet successfully the four core program goals, the FEC must complete its IT projects from FY 1999 through FY 2002 as follows:

Details of the implementation of the three IT projects by fiscal year are included in the FY 1999 - FY 2002 IT Performance Plan.

Key Factors That Could Affect Achievement Of General Goals And Objectives

Accomplishment of the objectives stated for a respective fiscal year will require sufficient resources for each project as well as for core FEC programs. The building-block technological approach recommended by AMS requires sufficient funding to complete each project, or to move on to the next phase of a particular project. Now that the basic installation Commission-wide PCís has been accomplished, the Commission is positioned to begin to realize the benefits from groupware solutions, and to design and implement client/server processes and document management for both financial and non-financial work flows. It is only after the implementation of these activities are completed that the major benefits of the IT modernization project will be realized.

Additionally (as described by AMS (1995&1997) in Figure 1-1/1-7, the "Technology Roadmap"), until the IT Modernization Project is completed, the FEC will not fully realize the potential benefits made possible by the Electronic Filing Project: "IT Modernization Cost-Benefit Report," p. 1-7. Sufficient funding of the Electronic Filing Project made it possible for the FEC to meet the target of FY 1998 for implementation of the full electronic filing system.

The FEC does not control the number of candidates, the number of reports filed, the number of complaints filed, the amounts candidates and committees raise and spend, or the number of requests for campaign finance information in each election cycle. the total amount of federal election campaign spending and the resulting FEC workloads have been rising steadily the last three election cycles. The general competitiveness for control of Congress also has increased. While the impact of these increases on FEC programs is difficult to predict in detail, improving the effectiveness and efficiency of limited FEC staff resources is key to successful achievement of our mission. the IT projects, when completed, will improve services to the public and regulated community, increase staff productivity, and achieve staff savings where possible.

Program Evaluation Activities

To successfully meet the goals for the three IT initiatives, the FECís ongoing program evaluation efforts will include, but will not be limited to, studies and recommendations in the following areas.

Federal Election Commission

FEC IT Performance Plan

FY 1999-2002

The following computer development projects are intended to assist the FEC perform its statutory mission and meet its objectives and goals as defined in the Commissionís Strategic Plans. The FECís three major IT initiatives are the Point of Entry Project, the Electronic Filing Project, and the IT Modernization Project. The following Performance Plan outlines the FECís proposals to implement these specific projects within the context of the IT Strategic Plan for FY 1999 - FY 2002. This document addressís Fiscal Year 1999 efforts as well as future efforts in FYís 2000 through 2002.

Point Of Entry Project

Public Law No. 104-79 (December 28, 1995), requires candidates for the United States House of Representatives and their authorized committees to file all reports with the FEC, effective December 31, 1995 (reports were formerly filed with the Clerk of the House). The objectives of this project were to consolidate the point of entry for filing disclosure documents at the FEC, scan all documents and transmit images to the House Clerkís office in usable format, and eliminate duplicate filing and processing at the FEC, House, and State elections offices. The project startup cost was estimated at $500,000 in FY 1996, with ongoing costs each fiscal year thereafter.

The projectís modest startup cost resulted from the development of an imaging system in previous fiscal years as part of a broader IT modernization project for the Public Records and Reports Analysis Divisions. The FEC acquired and tested imaging equipment in FY 1992 and 1993, and the imaging system was fully operational in FY 1994. The imaging system currently is accessible throughout the Commission. Additionally, the imaging system was made available to the U.S. House of Representatives, Records and Registration Office, in August,1996. Beginning in July 1998, images of reports scanned at the Commission were made available on the Internet.

Point of entry was successfully consolidated in FY 1996 at a final total cost of $438,727 and no new FTE. Through use of overtime and the temporary services of contract employees, no additional staff were hired to implement the project. On-going costs were estimated at $240,000 (actual $164,177) in FY 1997, while budget estimates for FY 1998 were $514,580 whereas actual expenditures were $582,039. (The increase in part was due to the purchase of a Kodak 990S scanner and the development of additional Internet services.) Maintenance costs for fiscal years 1999-2002 will range from $334,330 to $371,986. Actual operation (scanning of documents) of the system will continue to be performed by current staff, supplemented by overtime and temporary services during peak filing periods. Contracts covering full maintenance and annual licensing fees for both hardware and software began in FY 1998.

Fiscal Year 1999

Goals:

 

Milestones:

 

Costs:

Personnel: 1.0 FTE and $53,500; $25,000 for overtime.

Non-Personnel: $334,330 for equipment, maintenance, licensing, and

contract services ($84,350 of total required for set up of Senate Electronic Filing site in the Senate and $44,100 required to support the operations).

FY 2000 -2002 Costs:

Ongoing costs associated with the Point of Entry Project are personnel costs and costs associated with maintenance, licensing, and development. These costs will be adjusted annually for inflation and will range from $356,799 in FY 2000 to $371,986 by FY 2002.

Electronic Filing Project

Work on this project has been underway since 1993 and is detailed in several reports to Congress. Guidance for this project comes from two sources. First, an independent consultant retained by the Commission (American Management Systems Inc. - AMS) provided requirements and cost-benefit analyses for this project in December of 1995. Second, Public Law No. 104-79 (December 28, 1995) required the FEC to permit filers to voluntarily submit reports electronically and to reduce duplicative filings with State offices, effective December 31, 1996.

As noted in the reports prepared by the independent consultant, current FEC processes to receive disclosure reports and make these publicly available require paper handling and are labor intensive. The FEC is migrating to an electronic filing system for submitting disclosure reports. The FECís objective for the electronic filing system is to save resources where possible and permit full integration of electronically-filed information into FEC databases, thereby making campaign financial disclosure data more readily available to the public.

The FEC has divided this project into four phases. Phase I was a "limited electronic filing capability" which was implemented by December 31, 1996. While Phase I provided for the immediate public disclosure of electronically filed reports on the Internet, it was limited in that filings were received on diskette only, and electronically filed information was not automatically integrated into the comprehensive FEC disclosure database. While the existing disclosure database was updated with information submitted by electronic filers, this did not occur until the information was coded and entered using existing procedures. This is called the interim electronic filing system.

In the summer of 1997 the Commission conducted a survey of registered political committees which elicited information about their level of IT and attitudes toward electronic filing. The survey identified three distinct approaches to computerization of record keeping. There are small groups of committees who either maintain their own customized computer systems, or who have purchased commercial products created for the political community. While few in number, these groups represent a large portion of the financial activity reported to the Commission. Additionally, there are in each two year election cycle a large number of committees of much more modest size, many of whom exist for only a relatively short period of time. Initially, the FEC envisioned that it would receive electronic filings from a limited number of committees who have software or internal systems which could be readily adapted to the electronic filing requirements. In this regard the Commission has been in contact with several committees and with software companies. In order to serve the large number of committees who do not purchase commercial software, in September of 1997 the FEC made available stand-alone reporting software which was given to committees who registered with the Commission or who expressed an interest in using the software to file reports electronically..

Phase II, a "pilot electronic filing system" was implemented in February of 1998. This was a complete electronic filing system which permitted the immediate and full integration of information into the existing FEC database structure. The pilot system also permitted filings to be directly transmitted to the Commission via the Internet or direct modem to modem connection as well as by diskette. (Version 2 of the Commissionís software system allowed for direct transmission of filings. The program was released in March of 1998.) Information from electronic filings was automatically updated in the Commissionís comprehensive databases as well as the document imaging systems which serve as the primary vehicles for disclosure of reported information. All voluntary filings were accepted, but it was expected that only a limited number of users would choose to participate. At the conclusion of the pilot test, modifications to the system were completed. As of the pre-general election filing period in October of 1998, 250 committees had submitted 1,094 reports electronically since the program became operational on January 1, 1997.

Phase III includes a "system roll-out," which targeted for FY 1999. This will mark the point when testing is completed and promotion of the finalized electronic filing program can begin. This process includes revisions made to the software program provided at no charge to committees which enables them to maintain their records and file electronically. Enhancements to the presentation of information, ease of use, speed of processing, and additional functionality (including allocation schedules for party organizations) are also included in this version of the program. Another important element in system roll-out is a formal contractual arrangement between the Commission and certain software vendors whose products are currently used by committees to maintain records and prepare reports. These cooperative arrangements provide a mechanism for encouraging and supporting electronic filing for committees with commercial software without adding any additional elements for committee personnel. They continue to use existing systems and receive support from the same vendor with whom they have an ongoing relationship. This program is particularly appropriate for larger committees who, while small in number, represent a large proportion of all information submitted to the FEC. The Commission has also developed a marketing plan for electronic filing during the 2000 election cycle. This plan includes specific goals for participation in electronic filing which take into consideration the fact that a relatively small number of political committees generate the majority of the financial activity and therefore the data required. The marketing plan includes coordination of efforts by all Commission staff who routinely communicate with committees (including Reports Analysis and Public Information) in order to ensure access to information about the advantages of electronic filing. It also anticipates targeted communication using a variety of methods to address the needs of groups of committees.

Phase IV is a "full scale electronic filing system" to be implemented for the 2000 election cycle (calendar years 1999 and 2000). This completed and tested system will be robust enough to accommodate the total universe of filers, although electronic filing remains a voluntary option under the existing FECA. Also during this period the Commission will examine the potential impact of electronic filing on other Commission functions, e.g. desk auditing and clarification of the public record, identification of enforcement issues, etc. Steps in this process include development of requirements and models of the report review process, aimed at identifying opportunities for automating processes currently done manually. All aspects of the interaction between committees and the FEC regarding disclosure reports will be included in this analysis, including, for example, correspondence seeking additional information, timelines of filings, etc.

Despite funding in FY 1997 and FY 1998 at levels below those originally anticipated, the full system roll-out is still scheduled for FY 1999, with the system fully operational for the 2000 election cycle. From FY 2000 on, the costs of the system are estimated to be about $150,000 for staff, $500,000 for operations, and slightly over $500,000 to maintain and update the system. For years 2000 to 2002, to operate and maintain the system an annual budget of approximately $1 million will be required.

Fiscal Year 1998

Goals/Milestones:

Fiscal Year 1999

Goals/Milestones:

 

Costs:

Personnel: 2.5 FTE, $142,500.

Non-Personnel: $941,212 (Includes software and hardware licensing,

maintenance, training, technical support, processing electronic filings and storage).

Fiscal Year 2000

Goals/Milestones:

 

Costs:

Personnel: 2.5 FTE, $147,000.

Non-Personnel: $985,000 (Includes software and hardware licensing, maintenance, training, technical support, processing electronic filings and storage).

Fiscal Year 2001

Goals/Milestones:

Costs:

Personnel: 2.5 FTE, $151,500.

Non-Personnel: $1,025,000 (includes software and hardware licensing, maintenance, training, technical support, processing electronic filings and storage).

Fiscal Year 2002

Goals/Milestones:

Costs:

Personnel: 2.5 FTE, $156,000.

Non-Personnel: $1,070,000 (includes software and hardware licensing, maintenance, training, technical support, processing electronic filings and storage).

 

 

IT Modernization Project

The rationale for the IT Modernization initiative is described in three documents prepared by an independent consultant , American Management Systems, Inc. (AMS), with whom the FEC contracted in September of 1995 & December 1997. These documents titled, "IT Modernization Requirements Report" and "IT Modernization Cost-Benefit Report" delivered to the Commission in December 1995 and an updated "IT Modernization Requirements & Cost-Benefit Report" delivered in June 1998. These analyses provide the basis upon which the IT Modernization initiative has been developed. As noted by the consultant, the FEC began applying IT technology in 1989 by providing its staff with word processing capabilities via access to centralized mainframe computers. As of December 31, 1996 all Commission staff had been trained to optimally utilize their individual desktop PCís.

The objectives of the IT Modernization Project are to facilitate information requests, reduce copying and distribution of paper documents, streamline research and drafting, manage workloads, and fully realize the potential benefits made possible by the Electronic Filing Project. As noted by the independent contractor, (AMS), the investments undertaken in FY 1995 provided a robust and solid foundation upon which future initiatives could be built.. To realize the benefit from these initiatives, installation Commission-wide had to be accomplished as soon as possible. This approach is consistent with Figure 1-1, on page 1-7 of the "IT Modernization Cost-Benefit Report" provided by the independent contractor. Figure 1-1, the "Technology Roadmap", demonstrates the building-block approach the FEC should take with its IT projects.

In addition to having access to the office suite of products (word processing, spread sheet capability, etc.), Commission-wide access to digitally imaged financial reports, (DIS) was completed by July 1997.

Elements in the program for FY 1999 include enhancements to the Commissions Internet Web site. Among these are first, outside analysis of the design and organization of the existing material along with recommended design and structural changes. Second, an analysis of the general approach to Internet presence will be conducted. Currently the site is structured as part of the more general facilities management contract for computing. Included in this analysis is a benefit/cost calculation regarding in-house Internet hosting vs. out-sourcing. A third element in Internet enhancement is expansion of the existing data search capabilities. This involves adding data at varying levels of aggregation to the existing process, permitting user defined queries of comprehensive campaign finance information. In addition to disclosure data submitted by committees, Commission decision documents (e.g. Advisory Opinions, indexes to closed enforcement matters, Statements of Reasons, etc.) and materials related to open Commission meetings will be integrated into the Web site. These elements will also contain full text search and indexing capabilities to aid research on legal and regulatory issues.

One initiative, a legal case management system, identified in the 1995 IT requirements analysis report is in the final stages of development. To provide this service to the legal community a contract was awarded at the end of FY 1997. The development the case management has been on-going and is now in the beginning stages of implementation, scheduled for 3rd quarter FY 1999. One additional initiative also scheduled for implementation in FY 1999, is a document imaging and management system. Together with other initiatives slated for this fiscal year, the FEC will be poised for the 21st century.

Preparation for the Year 2000, began in FY 1998. A team of internal systems staff were drawn together, to identify the IT systems that required remediation. By December 1998, software had been either retired, replaced, or modified to reflect the needed change. By the end of the second quarter FY 1999, a plan was in place to have the IT readiness independently verified by an outside contractor.

Two systems Payroll and Personnel are scheduled for migration to the National Finance Center. The migration of these mission critical systems are not being funded from IT earmark initiatives, rather they are being funded from a separate account set up for this specific effort. In either event, IT resources have been assigned to this project to insure a successful and timely conversion. The migration of the in-house processing is scheduled to be completed by October 1999. In the event that this schedule could not be met, and as part of the contingency plan, the computer programs associated with the two systems were slated for Year 2000 remediation. These processes have now been updated and are Year 2000 compliant.

Slated also for FY1999, is a complete IT security review. The review will focus on both physical and electronic security for FEC information technologies. With the expanding IT environment, the independent contractor (AMS) in its IT Requirements Analysis delivered in June 1998, identified this area as a potential risk issue, and recommended that an infrastructure review be conducted. Outputs from this review may result in an increase to the original IT enhancement budget as set forth in FY 1995, in order to implement any recommended security initiatives required to secure the FECA data.

As was the case for Electronic filing, appropriations realized and anticipated through FY 1998 did not reach the level envisioned in the AMS studies. Therefore, development needed to be extended over a longer time period, FY 1999-2002. From FY 1999 through FY 2002, total costs merely to operate and maintain all three IT projects, as operational by FY 1998, will exceed $2.4 million dollars annually (POE - $190K; EF- $1 million; IT-$1.25 million). Therefore, appropriations will have to approach $4.5 million per FY from FY 2000 on to provide for the full enhancements and meet the time frames inherent in this revised performance plan.

Fiscal Year 1997

Assumptions

Sufficient agency funds are available to maintain staff and support existing computer systems.

Goals/Milestones:

 

Costs:

Personnel: 3.5 FTE, $234,462,

Non-Personnel: $1,608,508 (includes software, hardware, equipment, contracts, training, maintenance and licensing for equipment purchased in prior fiscal years).

Fiscal Year 1998

Assumptions

Sufficient agency funds are available to maintain staff and support existing computer systems.

Goals/Milestones:

Costs:

Personnel: 5.0 FTE, $420,872.

Non-Personnel: $1,396,389 (includes software and hardware, licensing and maintenance, new equipment, and maintenance and licensing for equipment purchased in prior fiscal years).

Fiscal Year 1999

Assumptions

Sufficient agency funds are available to maintain staff and support existing computer systems.

Goals/Milestones:

Costs:

Personnel: 5.0 FTE, $367, 000.

Non-Personnel: $2,538,158 (includes software and hardware licensing, maintenance, new equipment, and maintenance and licensing for equipment purchased in prior fiscal years).

Fiscal Year 2000

Assumptions

Sufficient agency funds are available to maintain staff and support existing computer systems.

Goals/Milestones:

Costs:

Personnel: 5.0 FTE, $378,000.

Non-Personnel: $2,976,451 (includes software and hardware licensing, maintenance, new equipment, and maintenance and licensing for equipment purchased in prior fiscal years).

 

Fiscal Year 2001

Assumptions

Sufficient agency funds are available to maintain staff and support existing computer systems.

Goals/Milestones:

 

Costs:

Personnel: 5.0 FTE, $389,500.

Non-Personnel: $2,748,829 (includes software and hardware licensing, maintenance, new equipment, and maintenance and licensing for equipment purchased in prior fiscal years).

 

Fiscal Year 2002

Assumptions

Sufficient agency funds to maintain staff and support existing computer systems.

Goals/Milestones:

 

Costs:

Personnel: 5.0 FTE, $401,000.

Non-Personnel: $2,427,476 (includes software and hardware licensing, maintenance, new equipment, and maintenance and licensing for equipment purchased in prior fiscal years).