The_____is the governmental body that regulates political action committees (PACs)

The_____is the governmental body that regulates political action committees (PACs)
The answer is: The “Federal Election Commission(FEC)” is the governmental body that regulates political action committees (PACs). The answer has been explained in details below.

What is Political Action Committees?

A Political Action Committee (PAC) commonly refers to a political committee that is organized with the intention of raising money and spending it for electing and defeating election candidates. PACs usually have an ideological, labor, or business interest in mind.

Political Action Committee is authorized to give a candidate committee $5,000 for every election, be it special, primary, or a general election. They can also contribute $15,000 to a national party committee annually while the contribution to any other PAC can be annual $5,000.

Political Action Committee meeting room

PAC can receive a maximum of $5,000 from an individual, party committee, or any other PAC in every calendar year. PACs are required to register within 10 days of inception with the FEC, providing details such as PAC name and address, treasurer details, and information about any other connected organization.

Affiliated PACs are considered as a single donor unit for the determination of contribution limits.

When was PACs introduced?

PACs were first introduced back in 1944 by the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) for raising money to be spent towards the re-election of then US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The money was largely voluntary contributions from union members with union treasuries not having a role. This avoided violation of the 1943 Smith Connally Act that forbade unions from making any contributions towards federal candidates.

PACs are referred to as “separate segregated funds” by the federal election law as the contribution sum is kept in a bank account that is different from the general union or corporate treasury.

Leadership PACs are often formed by politicians as a means of raising money that goes into funding the political campaigns for other candidates.

A June 2008 mandate stated that Leadership PACs that do electronic reporting must list out the candidate who sponsors the PAC in accordance with the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act, 2007.

Such Leadership PACs often indicate a politician aspiring to be a leader in Congress or for a higher office.

About the Federal Election Commission

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) represents an independent regulatory agency that is tasked with enforcing campaign finance during federal elections in the United States. Amendments to the Federal Election Campaign Act in 1974 created the FEC.

The duties of the commission are described as “to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections.”

The Federal Election Commission comprises six members appointed by the US President while the United States Senate confirms them. Every member is allowed a six-year term and two seats become available for an appointment every couple of years.

The law states that a maximum of three Commissioners can have affiliations to the same political party while a minimum of four votes are required before any official action can be taken by the Commission.

Every year, one of the members gets to become the chairperson of the Commission and no member can chair the Commission more than once during the six-year term.

However, if a member is serving beyond the six-year mark when no successor has been appointed, he gets to serve as the chairperson for a second time. An example of such an occurrence was in 2003 and 2013 when Ellen Weintraub was the chairman.

Official Duties of the Federal Election Commission

The FEC is limited in its responsibilities to the administration of finance laws for federal campaigns.

  • It can enforce prohibitions and limitations on expenses and contributions, administer the reporting system for disclosure of campaign finance.
  • The FEC can investigate and prosecute violations, audit certain organizations and campaigns for compliance, and administer public funding programs for the presidential candidates.
  • It is also responsible for defending the statute when faced by challenges to laws and regulations governing federal elections.

The FEC is also tasked with publishing reports that are filed by Presidential campaigns, House of Representatives, and the Senate.

These reports usually talk about the amount of money raised and spent by every election candidate along with those who have donated more than $200 including their address, job title, and employer details.

This database was first created in 1980. No private organization has the legal right to this data for soliciting new individual donors. However, the information can be used for soliciting Political Action Committees.

The FEC is also actively involved in maintaining public education programs that are primarily directed towards explaining laws to election candidates, campaigns, political parties, and any other political committee under its regulation.

Relation Between PAC and FEC

The Political Action Commission is a subordinate to the Federal Election Commission and governed by rules and laws laid down by the latter.

A PAC at the US Federal Level is required to register itself with the FEC in accordance to the Federal Election Campaign Act amended by the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.

At the state level, the formation of a PAC is governed by the election laws of that state. The different types of PACs that can be formed are also determined by the FEC. Formally, only two types of PACs are allowed – connected and non-connected.

A third classification was allowed by judicial powers and are referred to as Super PACs. These are merely independent-expenditure only committees.

FEC rules stipulate that leadership PACs are non-connected PACs that can accept individual donations and money from other PACs. It is easier for current officeholders to attract contributions, making Leadership PACs a good option for dominant parties to capture seats from competitor political parties.

Conclusion

Both the PACs and FECs have been at the center of numerous controversies surrounding. Leadership PACs have been misused by candidates with loopholes in the Federal Laws that have not been plugged by the governing body.

The FEC has also been accused of causing deadlocks to critical decisions involving the opinion of the committee. Yet, the electoral system in the USA remains an efficient one and is well administered by the Federal Election Commission.

References

  1. About Political Action Committee: Retrieved from opensecrets.org
  2. Introduction to Federal Election Commission: Retrieved from usa.gov
  3. The relation between FEC & PAC: Taken from wikipedia.org

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