FEC allows candidates to pay themselves a salary

Smiling Female Politician Talking To Press The Federal Election Commission on Thursday voted 5-1 to approve new rules allowing more candidates to pay themselves a salary while running for office. The new rule goes into effect on March 1. 

Under the previous regulations set by the FEC, only candidates who earned income during the 12 months preceding their campaign were eligible to receive compensation from campaign funds. This requirement placed stay-at-home parents, recent college graduates, and individuals with employment gaps at a disadvantage. Recognizing the need to remove these barriers, Nabilah Islam Parkes, a former federal candidate and now Democratic state senator in Georgia, filed a petition urging the FEC to revise these regulations. 

The new rules approved by the FEC have the potential to lower the financial barriers to running for office; while Congress has become more diverse, the majority of legislators are still millionaires. The new rules passed by the FEC allows non-incumbent candidates to receive a day rate equal to 50% of the minimum annual salary of a U.S. House representative or their average annual income over the previous five years, whichever is lowest. This change ensures that candidates are compensated for the income they forfeit while running for office. It also prevents candidates from supplementing their earnings with campaign funds representative or their average annual income over the previous five years, whichever is lowest.

Candidates can now receive compensation from the official launch of their campaign until 20 days after the election, regardless of the outcome. This extension benefits candidates who were previously required to wait until their state’s primary election filing deadline before drawing a salary. The previous regulations often forced candidates without substantial personal wealth to either go without a living wage or juggle a job alongside their campaign responsibilities.

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