March 17, 2020
The Federal Election Commission has closed its offices to visitors and strongly encouraged its employees to telework in an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). While most agency operations are unaffected, the agency will be receiving but not processing mail due to the implementation of maximum telework flexibilities. This disruption will affect all documents submitted on paper, including non-electronically filed reports, advisory opinion requests, enforcement complaints, and court-case documents. FEC staff have access to phone and email. The FEC’s website, web-based programs, and electronic filing systems are all still online.
If you have pending or new business before the FEC, please contact staff electronically or by telephone. Please visit our Contact page for details. Please review the following information to determine the specific impact to FEC services and operations.
Campaign Finance Reports
The Commission continues to receive, review and make available to the public campaign finance reports filed electronically. Those filings comprise approximately 94% of the reports filed with the FEC, and electronic filing is mandatory for all filers who receive contributions or make expenditures that exceed $50,000 in a calendar year, or have reason to expect to do so.
The Commission will not process campaign finance reports filed by mail or other delivery service until the agency resumes normal mail operations. Nevertheless, filers should continue to file their reports on time. Reports sent by registered mail, overnight delivery, or certified mail, are considered filed with the FEC as of the date of the postmark. Reports submitted by first-class mail or delivery service will be considered filed within 24 hours after the Commission resumes normal mail operations. The FEC does not have statutory authority to extend filing deadlines, but it may choose not to pursue administrative fines against filers prevented from filing by reasonably unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. See 11 CFR 111.35.
Complaints alleging a violation of any statute or regulation within the Commission’s jurisdiction must be filed in writing, with the contents sworn to and signed in the presence of a notary. Complaints must be sent to the General Counsel at the FEC’s street address. FEC staff will not be able to access or process complaints sent by mail or delivery service until the agency resumes normal mail operations. Thus, the Commission requests that if you file a new enforcement complaint by mail or delivery service, you should also send an electronic copy of the complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org. The FEC encourages the use of electronic signatures on, and electronic notarizations of, such electronically submitted complaints from states in which electronic notarization is available. Electronically submitted copies of complaints that otherwise appear to be in order will be deemed received on the date the copy was electronically received by staff. Complaints that are filed only on paper, via mail or delivery service, will be deemed received within 24 hours after the agency resumes normal mail operations.
Other Enforcement Materials
You may continue to submit other enforcement materials to the FEC, such as responses or discovery materials, electronically at email@example.com, or to the staff attorney assigned to the matter, as applicable. Enforcement-related materials submitted only by mail will be deemed received within 24 hours after the agency resumes normal mail operations. At that time, agency staff will determine if any adjustments to deadlines are necessary or warranted.
Requests for Legal Consideration
If you have received a request for corrective action from the Reports Analysis Division or the Audit Division, you may continue to request the Commission’s consideration of legal questions. See Policy Statement Regarding a Program for Requesting Consideration of Legal Questions by the Commission, 84 FR 36,602 (July 29, 2019).1 You are encouraged to submit such requests electronically, to LegalRequestProgram@fec.gov, to ensure timely receipt while the FEC is unable to process mail. Any requests for legal consideration that are submitted by mail only will be considered to have been received by the Commission Secretary within 24 hours after the agency resumes normal mail operations.
Advisory Opinion Requests
You may continue to seek advisory opinions from the Commission. Advisory opinion requests must be submitted in writing. At this time, FEC staff will not be able to access or process advisory opinion requests sent by mail or delivery service until the agency resumes normal mail operations. Thus, it is requested that any person submitting an advisory opinion request send an electronic copy of their request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any advisory opinion request that is sent by email will be treated as having been received on the date the copy was electronically received by staff. Any advisory opinion requests that are submitted by mail or delivery service only will be considered to have been received by the Office of General Counsel within 24 hours after the agency resumes normal mail operations.
1) The FECA requires an affirmative vote by four Commissioners to make certain decisions. Due to the Commission’s current lack of quorum, requests for legal consideration and requests for advisory opinions may be submitted but the Commission is unable to answer such requests at this time. See September 11, 2019 Press Release: https://www.fec.gov/updates/fec-remainsopen-business-despite-lack-quorum/.
2) See fn 1 regarding the Commission’s lack of quorum.
For documents connected to court cases that may be served through mail or delivery services, the serving party is asked to send a courtesy copy to email@example.com to facilitate the advancement of the litigation.
Public Financial Disclosure Report for Presidential and Vice-Presidential Candidates (Office of Government Ethics Form 278e)
Active candidates for President and Vice President who were required to file personal financial disclosure reports with the Commission in 2019 or who become candidates between January 1 and April 15, 2020 are required to file personal financial disclosure reports in hard copy with the Commission by May 15, 2020. Candidates seeking extensions of time to file must submit their requests electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org. Extension requests submitted only by postal mail or private delivery will be neither considered nor granted until the agency resumes normal mail operations, and failure to receive a timely extension will mean that the candidate’s form remains due on May 15. If it appears that the FEC will not be able to resume normal mail and delivery services prior to May 15, further information about how to file the financial disclosure report will be posted in this spot.
Presidential Election Campaign Fund – Matching Funds
Questions regarding the Matching Funds Program and threshold submissions can continue to be directed to Zuzana Pacious at email@example.com.
Office of Inspector General
Due to the evolving situation concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19), the FEC OIG mail operations are suspended and we strongly encourage that you file all inquiries and/or complaints electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you submit other materials to the FEC, you may wish to submit these materials electronically to ensure agency staff can access your submission. When the FEC resumes normal mail operations, agency staff will determine if any adjustments to deadlines are necessary or warranted. General inquiries may be sent to email@example.com; email addresses for specific inquiries are available at https://www.fec.gov/contact/.
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