News Releases, Media Advisories

For Immediate Release:                                                                                            Contact:  Ron Harris
March 8, 1999                                                                                                                               Sharon Snyder
                                                                                                                                                        Ian Stirton
                                                                                                                                                        Kelly Huff



WASHINGTON – In accordance with statute, the Federal Election Commission has submitted to the Congress and the President recommendations for legislative action in the area of campaign finance law.

In a cover letter to the President and Members of Congress, FEC Chairman Scott E. Thomas wrote:

"In accordance with 2 U.S.C. 438(a) (9), the Federal Election Commission is pleased to submit for your consideration three recommendations for legislative action, summarized as follows:

"1. Electronic Filing Threshold -- Grant the FEC the authority to require electronic filing of reports by committees that meet a specific level of financial activity. This would result in better use of government and political committee resources and would enhance public disclosure of campaign finance information.

"2. Campaign-Cycle Reporting -- Place committee reporting on a campaign-cycle basis. This would eliminate burdensome recordkeeping and reporting provisions that now require campaigns to track contributions on both a calendar-year and a per-election basis.

"3. Application of the $25,000 Annual Limit – Modify a confusing provision in the law, thereby reducing inadvertent violations of the annual limit while allowing the Commission to better monitor compliance."

Chairman Thomas noted that these three recommendations had been unanimously endorsed by the six members of the FEC, writing, "All six Commissioners believe that, if incorporated into the statute, they would have a significant effect on the election system."

Additionally, two of these recommendations, Electronic Filing Threshold and Campaign-Cycle Reporting, Thomas noted, were also included as recommendations in the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit report of the FEC, entitled Technology and Performance Audit and Management Review of the Federal Election Commission, issued January 29, 1999.

The third recommendation, Application of the $25,000 Limit, has been submitted by the FEC as a legislative recommendation in previous years. Present law provides that contributions to candidates made in a non-election year count against the individual donor’s limit ($25,000) for the year in which a candidate’s election is held. The FEC maintains that by requiring contributions to count against the limit of the calendar year in which the donor contributes, confusion would be eliminated and fewer contributors would inadvertently violate the law.

Chairman Thomas concluded his letter by saying, "At this time, the Commission is considering additional legislative recommendations. If adopted, they will be forwarded to you at a later date.

"We hope that these proposals will be helpful. After 24 years of experience in regulating campaign financing, the Federal Election Commission stands ready to assist in whatever way possible," the FEC Chairman wrote.

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Note to editors and correspondents: Full text of the FEC’s Legislative Recommendations, 1999, may be obtained through the Commission’s Press Office, 202-694-1220, or at the FEC’s Website, http://www.