FEC SUBMITS FY 2003 BUDGET PROPOSAL
-- Requests $46.9 Million and 362 Personnel --
WASHINGTON The Federal Election Commission has transmitted its fiscal year
2003 budget proposal to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), requesting
$46,917,000 and 362 personnel for FEC operations.
The request represents a continuation of the FY 2002 funding level for core
programs, as adjusted for inflation and salary and benefits, with no additional funds or
staff for new programs or initiatives. Also, the request does not account for any
implementation costs for campaign finance reform legislation, should that legislation be
The total FY2003 request includes $1,673,000 to account for a new method of providing
for federal retirees under the Civil Service Retirement Program (CSRS), which the
Administration has proposed for all government agencies as the federal "Freedom To
Manage" initiative. All totals in the Presidents recent overall federal budget
proposal include these costs at the respective agency level. Absent those earmarked funds,
the FECs proposed budget is $45,244,000, an increase of $1,555,000 (3.6%) over
FY2002s $43,689,000 and 362 personnel.
FEC Vice Chairman Karl J. Sandstrom, who serves as the Commissions Finance
Committee Chairman, said of this proposal, "The requested budget will allow
the Commission to promote compliance with federal election law, while instituting
innovations that allow the FEC to better serve participants in federal elections and the
public at large."
The Executive Summary of the budget proposal highlights various FEC
program-successes and innovations, noting, "In FY 2001, the FEC achieved three major
successes: expansion of the compliance program, implementation of mandatory electronic
filing, and issuance of the draft revision of the Voting Systems Standards (VSS). These
successes are the result of FEC efforts and support from our Congressional oversight
"Swift Congressional action on mandatory electronic filing for large filers and
the establishment of an administrative fine program, as recommended [in
PricewaterhouseCoopers audit, Jan. 1999], resulted in programs allowing the FEC to carry
out its disclosure and compliance missions more effectively. In addition, two programs
have received accolades from the regulated community -- Administrative Fines and
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)."
Highlights of the FEC package (Congressional Justification Budget Request for
FY2003*) submitted to Congress and OMB include:
-- Administrative Fine Program has streamlined the enforcement process for late and
non-filer cases, while encouraging more timely filing. "For example," the
Summary points out, "11% of the 2000 Year-End Reports were filed late, while 24% and
22% of the 1998 and 1996 Year-End Reports, respectively, were filed late."
-- ADR program affords both the FEC and the respondent parties the opportunity to
resolve cases more rapidly. This pilot program concluded agreements with respondents and
formally closed 35 cases (as of Jan. 31, 2002) in an average of 117 days from the time
matters were referred to the ADR office. The Commission accepted the settlements reached
in 33 of the 35 cases closed. Civil penalties from the final agreements exceeded $30,000.
From FY 1995 through FY 2000, the FEC closed an average of 205 cases each fiscal year.
In FY 2001, with the addition of the administrative fine and ADR programs, the Commission
closed 517 cases, a 152% increase over the FY 1995-2000 annual average of 205.
-- "The FEC enforcement goals," as established in the Strategic Plan and
annual Performance Plan, the Summary notes, "seek to activate more enforcement cases
and reduce the number of cases dismissed without substantive action. These goals build on
the FY 2000 record when the FEC closed over 70% of the cases processed with some form of
substantive action and over 50% of the average monthly caseload was actively being
processed. At the same time, the FEC has improved the OGC enforcement tracking process
through the Case Management System. In addition, future productivity benefits are expected
from document imaging and management systems."
-- Electronic filing of campaign reports has "increased significantly the
timeliness, scope, and amount of data available to FEC staff and external users of
campaign finance disclosure information," the Summary notes. "A measure of the
effectiveness of electronic filing is the comparison of the FEC target to process (make
public) at least 95% of the itemized data within 60 days of receipt (based on historical
and current experience in processing documents).
"Now that electronic filing is mandatory for most candidates and committees
(excluding the Senate filings), for the 2002 cycle to date, the FEC processed 95% of the
itemized data within 18 days of receipt, 42 days faster than the target. As we gain more
experience with the mandatory electronic filing system, the targets for processing
itemized data will be adjusted."
-- "The FEC issued draft technical Voting Systems Standards (VSS) designed as
voluntary standards for election administration officials charged with selecting and using
voting systems in federal elections. The final technical standards will be released
formally at a conference hosted by the FECs Office of Election Administration (OEA)
in April 2002. They will also be disseminated in educational outreach workshops and
through other OEA efforts.
"The original FEC FY2003 budget request [$49,465,000 and 368 personnel] would have
built upon the newly revised VSS by developing operational guidelines for election
administrators to improve the operational management of federal elections. The Commission
believed that funding of OEA initiatives to disseminate the new VSS and to begin work on
operational guidelines for election administration was critical to ensure the integrity of
federal elections. The OEA is the only federal office directly involved in providing
assistance to state and local elections officials charged with administering federal
elections," the Summary points out.
In a letter transmitting the budget-request package to Congress and OMB, FEC
Chairman David Mason wrote, "The Commission strongly urges the full support of our FY
2003 budget request. We are ready to answer any questions you may have and to work with
you in securing sufficient funding for the Commission in FY 2003."
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*Complete budget-proposal document, including Executive Summary and Information Technology
Strategic Performance Plans, may be accessed at http://www.fec.gov/pages/budget/budget.html.