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Federal Election Commission

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Enforcement Matters

The FEC has exclusive jurisdiction over the civil enforcement of the federal campaign finance law. In exercising that authority, the Commission uses a variety of methods to uncover possible election law violations:

  1. The agency’s monitoring process may detect potential violations through a review of a committee’s reports or through a Commission audit. 
  2. Potential violations may be brought to the Commission’s attention through the complaint process. This process enables anyone to file a sworn complaint alleging violations and explaining the basis for the allegations. 
  3. The referral process enables other government agencies to refer possible violations to the FEC.
  4. Any person or entity who believes it has committed a violation may bring the matter sua sponte to the Commission’s attention.

Each of the preceding may lead to an FEC enforcement case or Matter Under Review (MUR). By law, these matters must remain confidential until they are closed. In some cases, respondents may be given the option to participate in the Commission's Alternative Dispute Resolution program, which seeks to resolve matters more swiftly through negotiation. Violations involving late submission of FEC reports or failure to file reports are subject to administrative fines, based on a schedule of penalties. Links to additional information on the FEC's enforcement process and to closed enforcement files appear below.

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