Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. (R-Md.) will hold hearings Jan. 26 and 27 before his Rules Committee to consider how the election laws should be changed for the 1984 campaign. The committee will consider whether there should be new limits on total contributions a candidate can receive from political action committees in the face of candidates' growing dependency on them.

It will also consider whether the limits on individual and party contributions to candidates should be raised to account for inflation.

The FEC will avoid these legislative issues, although it will seek a couple of mechanical changes.

It wants the state-by-state limits on expenditures for publicly financed presidential primary candidates eliminated. Those regulations have been an administrative nightmare: for instance, how does one account for a phone call placed from Iowa to a television station in Boston to arrange for an ad designed to influence the voters of New Hampshire? The FEC, which has already lost half of it auditing staff to RIFs, wants to be free of the burden.

The commission also wants Congress to make clear that limits on the contributions individuals and PACs can make to federal candidates also apply to draft committees formed to encourage an undeclared candidate to seek federal election. A District Court ruling has cast doubt on limits on donations to draft committees.