The Washington Post

Zombie Federal Election Commission still wants your quarterly reports

The Federal Election Commission is one of those agencies that is going to be virtually closed because of the shutdown. Fully 335 of its 339 employees are being furloughed. The only ones still around are four commissioners who, by law, can’t be furloughed. (Although without any staff around it’s unclear what they can do.)

But that doesn’t mean it’s a free-pass for campaign fundraising. The computers will be working there to receive your reports, we’re told. “Despite the shutdown, FEC reports will continue to be due,” former FEC chairman Dave Mason, now with political software and services firm Aristotle, advised in an e-mail to clients.

“It is our understanding the FEC servers may remain online to receive filings,” Mason advised, even though “FEC staff will not be available to answer questions and provide assistance with technical or substantive issues regarding filings.”

Not to worry. “Shutdown or no, Aristotle WILL be here for you,” Mason wrote, and “will continue to answer any questions you may have . . . to ensure that your reports are filed accurately and on time.”

Things could get even trickier if the shutdown lasts for a long time, he told us. “Computer systems need maintenance,” Mason said, “and eventually will shut down” without it. “Then you won’t be able to file.”

Best keep in touch, maintain records of your Herculean efforts to file, have long lunches with a commissioner or two. . . .




Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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