On October 7, 2016, the Commission published a Notice of Availability seeking comment on whether it should revise existing rules that require state, district and local party committees to use federal funds to pay for certain activities. Comments must be submitted on or before January 30, 2017.
On June 15, 2016, the Commission received a Petition for Rulemaking from the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and its Chair, Ken Martin, requesting the Commission amend its regulations applicable to certain activities conducted by state, district and local party committees.
The Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) and Commission regulations require that state, district and local party committees pay for certain "Federal election activity" (FEA) with either federal funds or, in certain instances, a combination of federal funds and "Levin funds." 52 U.S.C. § 30125(b) and 11 CFR 300.32. FEA includes certain activities that urge, encourage, or assist individuals to register to vote or to vote. 11 CFR 100.24. The petitioners request in their petition that the Commission narrow the definition of FEA.
Commission regulations further provide that political parties must use 100 percent federal funds to pay for salaries, wages and fringe benefits of party employees who spend more than 25 percent of their compensated time on FEA or in activities "in connection
with a Federal election." 11 CFR 106.7(d)(1)(i)-(ii). The petitioners ask the Commission to narrow this requirement by omitting FEA and solely covering activities "in connection with a Federal election."
Also, the petitioners request that the Commission consider amending several additional rules that would allow parties to discuss issue advertisements by the parties with candidates, expand a party''s ability to engage in volunteer activities such phone banks, and permit political parties to conduct activities in connection with state and local elections and nonfederal candidates solely with nonfederal funds.
Comments must be submitted on or before January 30, 2017. Commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically via the Commission’s website at http://sers.fec.gov/fosers/, reference REG 2016-03, or by email to PoliticalPartyRules@fec.gov.