Federal Election Commission News
For Immediate Release:Contact: Ron Harris May 18, 1999 Sharon Snyder Ian Stirton Kelly Huff
FEC PRESENTS FY2000 BUDGET TO HOUSE AUTHORIZING COMMITTEE
WASHINGTON Federal Election Commission Chairman Scott E. Thomas and Vice Chairman Darryl R. Wold presented the Commissions FY2000 budget authorization request to the Committee on House Administration today, Vice Chairman Wold offering detailed justification for a requested modest increase over FY1999s budget, while Chairman Thomas addressed issues raised in the January 29 performance audit of the FEC by the firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
Vice Chairman Wold said that the FEC is seeking $38,516,000, and 356.5 staff members for FY2000, a net increase of $1,666,000 (4.5%) and 9.5 staff members over FY1999. The Vice Chairman, who chairs the FECs Finance Committee, noted that the majority of the requested budget increase is for inflation in the FECs present level of operations, and for additional staff resources, primarily in enforcement programs.
He said that three of the requested additional staff would be added to the FECs Audit Division, " to handle the anticipated increase in the number of funding requests in the Presidential matching fund program in the 2000 elections," and that six of the additional requested staff would be added in the General Counsels office " to improve our compliance efforts, both in regular enforcement matters and in the Presidential public funding program."
Vice Chairman Wold said in prepared remarks, "We believe that our budget request, including the modest increase over the current fiscal year, is consistent with, and justified by, the PwC Report and the recommendations it contains."
Chairman Thomas briefed the House Committee on the status of various recommendations contained in the January 29 PwC report entitled "Technology and Performance Audit and Management Review of the Federal Election Commission," saying in prepared remarks that although several of the recommendations would require legislative changes to effectuate, "The FEC has made substantial progress in responding to the PwC recommendations; indeed, several of the suggestions had been well under way when PwC began its audit/review and PwC simply urged the FEC to continue its efforts (such as using electronic filing to streamline disclosure and reports review processes)." He added, "Already the FEC has undertaken concrete action on 19 of the 21 recommendations [contained in the report]."
But the Chairman noted, "While responding to the PwC recommendations is important, it is but one of the many tasks before the FEC. There are many other resource-consuming activities ongoing, such as Y2K preparation, updating the FECs Web site, extensive building renovations, an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Pilot Project, as well as the primary statutory responsibilities of disclosure, audit, and enforcement. The agencys response to the PwC report must be measured in this context."
Chairman Thomas detailed the FECs response to certain areas covered in the PwC report, including the enforcement program, and performance objectives for the FEC Staff Director and General Counsel.
He said, "The FEC takes seriously its responsibility to function efficiently and effectively. The many recommendations emanating from PwCs audit/review have offered several opportunities to rethink the way things have been done. We are working hard to analyze the various proposals and to make improvements where feasible. At the same time, we are trying to carry out all the other functions that are expected of us.
"We thank the Committee for its assistance, especially in securing funding for our technology improvements. We hope the Committee, likewise, will help implement some of the legislative recommendations we have made. Several of them were adopted by PwC, as well, and we think they could foster improvements in many areas," the FEC Chairman concluded.
# # #