With the 2016 presidential election cycle well underway, the Commission anticipates one of its busiest years in recent memory. This election season will present many challenges, but it will also offer many opportunities. As Chairman and
Vice Chairman, we look forward to working with our fellow Commissioners to make this as productive a year as possible.
Being an election year, we expect that the number of complaints filed with the Commission will likely surge, as will the volume of advisory opinion requests. We stand ready to act quickly on these items to ensure greater clarity regarding the scope and meaning of the Federal Election Campaign Act and Commission regulations and to provide timely resolution and closure for those involved in the enforcement process.
Much has been written about disagreements on the Commission. While we do not deny the existence of vigorous debates among Commissioners, they need not limit the Commission’s ability to identify and move forward on issues and initiatives that improve compliance with the law, provide helpful information to the public, and enhance Commission operations. To that end, we are committed to finding common ground and to compromise where necessary to make tangible progress on constructive proposals.
For instance, we plan to build on the efforts of past-Chairs Goodman and Ravel to improve the design and functioning of the Commission’s website in order to provide the most useful and user-friendly website possible for practitioners, the regulated community, and the public alike. Earlier this month, the Commission released a new customizable download feature that allows users to quickly export summary level data in a readily understandable format. Soon, users will similarly be able to download transaction-level data regarding contributions and disbursements, and new website features will be unveiled, such as (i) an improved Commission calendar featuring filters, subscriptions, and automatic updates and (ii) improved access to Commission legal documents, including regulations, advisory opinions, and enforcement and compliance matters.
Furthermore, the FEC continues to expand its outreach programs to provide practitioners and the public with valuable compliance tips and up-to-date information regarding recent developments in campaign finance law. The Commission will offer a series of day-long webinars for candidates, parties, and PACs, along with workshops and regional conferences on election-year reporting requirements and other timely topics. These programs constitute a core component of the Commission’s obligation to promote voluntary compliance.
Finally, we would like to thank the employees here at the Commission for their hard work and dedication. It is our hope that as a result of the efforts of Commissioners and staff, 2016 will be an effective and rewarding year.