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David M. Mason


David M. Mason was nominated to the Federal Election 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 a member of the Commission’s Finance Committee.

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. He was active in political and community affairs in northern Virginia and in the home education movement nationally.


CURRENT APPOINTMENT: March 4, 1998, by President Clinton


SWORN IN: August 6, 1998, by Circuit Judge J. Michael Luttig

TERM: April 30, 2003

Statements and opinions

Advisory opinions

  • Dissenting Opinion, Advisory Opinion Request 2007-32, [PDF]
  • Concurring Opinion, Advisory Opinion 1999-11, Dianne Byrum (re: the use of the phrase “campaign related” as a test or description of activity in connection with a federal election. Expresses significant limitations on the advisory opinion process and on the use of advisory opinions to enunciate general rules or policy statements) [PDF]


  • Statement of Reasons on the Audits of the Dole for President and the Clinton/Gore Committees (re: the “electioneering message” test previously employed by the Commission in assessing political party advertisements. Explains the need to avoid vagueness and overbreadth in Commission rules and enforcement decisions and the necessity for the Commission to observe statutory and constitutional due process in promulgating regulatory standards) [HTML]


  • MUR 4960, Hillary Rodham Clinton (re: The Commission’s standard for summary dismissal of a complaint (“no RTB”)). [PDF]
  • MUR 4689, Robert Dornan (re: precedents on the FECA’s media exemption and disagreement with some of the Commission’s prior decisions regarding this exemption); Statement of Reasons [PDF] and Additional Statement of Reasons [PDF]

Rulemaking and litigation

  • Statement of Reasons on Withdrawal of the Complaint in FEC v. Forbes (re: the FECA “press exemption,” its basis in First Amendment and problems with the Commission’s initial decision to file this suit) [HTML]

Media and appearances


  • Confirmation Statement before the Committee on Rules and Administration, United States Senate (re: Priorities for the Commission and approach to major issues), Washington, DC, July 21, 1998 [HTML]
  • Statement of FEC Chairman David M. Mason on Accomplishments in 2002, December 18, 2002 [PDF]


  • Speech, "Thoughts on Advanced Corruption Fighting" IFES International Conference

    on Money and Political Electoral Contests, Mexico City, Mexico, June 7, 2001 [HTML]

  • Speech, "Election Observaton in the Long Term, OSCE Human Dimension Seminar of Election Processes, Warsaw, Poland, May 29, 2001 [HTML]


  • Testimony Before the Committee on Rules and Administration, United States Senate, Hearing on S. 271, 527 Reform Act of 2005, Washington, DC, March 8, 2005 [PDF]
  • Testimony Before the Committee on Rules and Administration, United States Senate (re: how the Commission and Congress should regulate political speech on the Internet) May 3, 2000 [HTML]
  • Testimony Before the Committee on House Judiciary, United States House of Representatves, “Anonymity and the Internet: Constitutional Issues in Campaign Finance Regulation” (re: constitutional difficulties with popular campaign finance reform proposals), Washington, DC, April 29, 1999 [HTML]