ARTICLE
21 January 2010

FEC’s New Rules For Carriage Of Federal Political Candidates Take Flight In 2010

Originating from the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) promulgated new rules governing the carriage of Federal political candidates.
United States Transport
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Originating from the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) promulgated new rules governing the carriage of Federal political candidates. The new rules are effective Jan. 6, 2010 and will apply to any individuals traveling in connection with an election for Federal office – including candidates, campaign members, security personnel, media members, authorized committees, and leadership of Political Action Committees for such candidates. This article will explore and summarize the new FEC rules and explain how the 2010 Rules alter the existing 2003 Rules.

Background
Effective Dec. 15, 2003, the FEC issued regulations allowing Federal candidates to travel on private aircraft during election campaigns. To avoid in-kind contributions for non-commercial air travel, the 2003 Rules provided uniform reimbursement guidelines. Accordingly, a Federal candidate could utilize non-commercial aircraft travel and avoid an in-kind contribution if the service provider was reimbursed in accordance with the 2003 Rules.

However, due to various indiscretions and the passage of the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007, the FEC recently promulgated new rules governing the private carriage of Federal candidates. The new rules restrict, and in some situations prohibit, Federal candidates and certain individuals traveling on behalf of such candidates from utilizing non-commercial air travel. Further, the new rules provide a new method for calculating the reimbursement rate for allowable non-commercial air travel.

It is important to note that the FEC rules only apply to candidates seeking Federal office, not already elected Federal officials. Generally, elected Federal officials are prohibited from using non-commercial aircraft. Therefore, service providers should limit providing air travel to only Federal campaign travelers, defined as individuals meeting the definition of a candidate and traveling in connection with an election for Federal office.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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