On October 7, 2016, the Commission published a Notice of Availability seeking public comments on a petition for rulemaking on national party committee accounts and convention committees. The petition, filed by the Perkins Coie LLP Political Law Group, asks the Commission to implement amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act (the Act) made by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 ("2015 Appropriations Act"), and the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act.
Provisions of the 2015 Appropriations Act enable national party committees to establish three separate, additional accounts to defray certain expenses incurred with respect to presidential nominating conventions; headquarters buildings; and election recounts or contests and other legal proceedings. See 52 U.S.C. § 30116(a)(9). The contribution limits applicable to these accounts are 300% of the limits on contributions to national party committees. 52 U.S.C. § 30116(a)(1)(B) and (a)(2)(B). The petition asks the Commission to adopt a "new regulatory framework" for each type of account and to amend its regulations, or adopt new regulations, that would apply to all such accounts.
The petition also asks the Commission to adopt new regulations and to amend its current regulations regarding convention committees. Until recently, national party committees were entitled to receive public funds to defray the costs of their presidential nominating conventions. In 2014, the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act revised 26 U.S.C. § 9008 to eliminate public funding of political party conventions, while leaving in place most of the statutory framework that had implemented that funding system. The Commission’s regulations pertaining to the public funding of political party conventions have not been addressed in a rulemaking.* The petition asks the Commission to adopt new regulations and to amend its current regulations to address convention committees, as well as to remove related regulations that are now "obsolete."
Public comments on the petition are due by January 30, 2017. Commenters are encouraged to submit comments electronically via the Commission’s website at http://sers.fec.gov/fosers, reference REG 2014-10, or by email to NationalPartyAccounts@fec.gov.
*In Advisory Opinion 2014-12, the Commission concluded that the Democratic National Committee and Republican National Committee could establish convention committees and raise funds under a separate contribution limit to pay for the same types of convention expenses for which public funds were previously used.