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Brennan Center Comment to FEC on Candidate Salaries and Benefits

The Brennan Center submitted a comment urging the Federal Election Commission to update its rules governing candidate salaries and benefits to make it easier for people from all walks of life to run for office.

Published: July 6, 2021

On July 2, 2021 the Bren­nan Center filed a comment with the Federal Elec­tion Commis­sion (FEC) concern­ing candid­ate salar­ies and the permiss­ible use of campaign funds. The FEC allows candid­ates to pay them­selves a salary using campaign funds, recog­niz­ing the real­ity that candid­ates must be able to support them­selves while running for office. However, the FEC only allows candid­ates to pay them­selves the lower of two options: the salary of the office sought by the candid­ate or the candid­ate’s previ­ous salary before running for office. This disad­vant­ages candid­ates who earned lower salar­ies than their wealth­ier coun­ter­parts, or who were full-time care­givers. It dispro­por­tion­ately impacts candid­ates who are women, people of color, and LGBTQ+. The Bren­nan Center’s comment urges the FEC to update its rules to allow candid­ates to pay them­selves a living wage and reas­on­able bene­fits from campaign funds, and to make provi­sion for candid­ates who do not pay them­selves a salary to still use campaign funds for child­care and other expenses neces­sit­ated by a run for office.

The Bren­nan Center’s full comment can be read here.