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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.