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Comments to FEC: Adopt more equitable rules for candidate salaries and benefits

The Brennan Center urged the Federal Election Commission to updates its rules governing candidate salaries and related compensation to make it easier for people from all walks of life to run for and win office.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is considering updating its rules concerning candidate salaries and benefits. The current regulations only allow candidates to pay themselves the lower of two options with campaign funds: the salary of the office sought by the candidate or he candidate’s prior salary before running for office. This disadvantages candidates who previously worked lower paying jobs or part time, or needs to forego paid work altogether, often to care for others. These individuals are disproportionately women, people of color, LGBTQ+, and/or working class. 

The Brennan Center previously submitted two comments to the FEC — one in July 2021 when the commission issued a notice of availability and another in February 2023 after the Commission issue a notice of proposed rulemaking — urging the Commission to adopt new rules for candidate salaries and benefits that make running for office more accessible. After testifying before the FEC at a hearing on the matter in March 2023, the Brennan Center submitted a supplemental comment offering additional recommendations.