Federal Election Commission

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The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an agency created to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1975 (FECA), the statute that regulates the financing of federal elections in the United States.

The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of U.S. presidential elections.

The Commission is made up of six members, who are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the United States Senate. Each member serves a six-year term, and two seats are subject to appointment every two years. By law, no more than three Commissioners can be members of the same political party, and at least four votes are required for any official Commission action. This structure was created to encourage nonpartisan decisions. The Chairmanship of the Commission rotates among the members each year, with no member serving as Chairman more than once during his or her term.

Critics of the FEC, such as major campaign finance reform supporters like Common Cause and Democracy 21, have criticized this feature of the FEC, claiming that it renders the agency toothless. Though the agency disputes this characterization, critics reply that most FEC penalties for violating election law come well after the actual election in which they were committed.

Source: Adapted from FEC website: About the FEC on June 1, 2003.

Members of commission as of May 2004:

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