On December 12, 2022, the Commission published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks public comment on proposed changes to regulations regarding candidate compensation paid by principal campaign committees.
The Federal Election Campaign Act prohibits authorized committees from converting campaign funds to personal use, meaning they cannot fulfill any commitment or expense of a person that would exist irrespective of a candidate's election campaign or duties as a federal officeholder. Commission regulations presently allow candidates to receive a salary from their campaigns under limited circumstances. The salary must not exceed the lesser of the minimum annual salary for the federal office sought or the earned income that candidate received during the year prior to becoming a candidate. As a result, candidates may receive salary payments from campaign funds only if they earned income the year prior to becoming a candidate.
On March 23, 2021, the Commission received a Petition for Rulemaking asking it to amend 11 CFR 113.1(g) to expand the category of candidates eligible to receive compensation from committees, extend the duration of their eligibility, change the calculation of compensation that candidates may receive, and to authorize the use of campaign funds to pay candidates' health insurance premiums. After considering comments on the Notification of Availability, the Commission seeks comments on proposed changes to its regulations regarding the use of campaign funds to pay compensation to the candidate.
Because current FEC regulations might not adequately cover individuals who had a gap in employment or an unusually low level of income the year before becoming a candidate, the Commission is seeking comment on six alternative ways to cap the amount of compensation that a candidate could receive from campaign funds.
The NPRM also seeks comment on three alternative definitions of candidate compensation at proposed 11 CFR 113.1(g)(6)(iii). Each alternative definition would include direct payments to the candidate and payments for at least some other employment related benefits.
Public comments on the NPRM are due by February 10, 2023. Commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically (reference REG 2021-01) via the Commission’s website. The Commission may hold a public hearing on this NPRM; commenters who wish to testify at a hearing must so indicate in their comments.