FEC Modernizes Some Regulations Concerning Technology - State and Federal Communications

December 22, 2023  •  

FEC Modernizes Some Regulations Concerning Technology

On March 1, 2024, the Federal Election Commission new rules eliminating and updating references to outdated technologies in federal campaign finance regulations are expected to come into effect.

The Final Rules and an Explanation and Justification for Technological Modernization, approved by the FEC at their last meeting in December, attempts to modernize the commission’s regulations in light of technological advances in communications, recordkeeping, and financial transactions.

A significant part of the rulemaking is amending the definition of “public communication” and adopting a new term, “internet public communication,” to include communications over the internet that are “placed or promoted for a fee on another person’s website, digital device, application, or advertising platform. A public communication is promoted for a fee where a payment is made to a website, digital device, application, or advertising platform in order to increase the circulation, prominence, or availability of the communication on that website, digital device, application, or advertising platform.”

The intent is to ensure that political committees properly disclose their paid internet communications and help to prevent the circumvention of disclaimer requirements.

The FEC also concluded that many of the current regulations do not account for technological developments in how electronic documents are created, maintained, and submitted, particularly in the context of electronic transactions. The rules make regulatory revisions to facilitate electronic accounting, recordkeeping, reporting, and redesignation by political committees.

The Final Rules will be published in the Federal Register at a future date.

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