Exemption of FEC From the Current Provisions of the Federal Reports Act

B-182087: Published: Jul 24, 1980. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1985.

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GAO considered the advantages and disadvantages of continuing the recent exemption of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) from the paperwork control process required by the Reports Act. Recent legislation has shifted the responsibility for review of FEC forms from the Comptroller General to Congress. If neither house of Congress disapproves the forms within 10 legislative days after submission, FEC may proceed to use the forms for collecting the required information. Legislation under consideration would require the forms to be reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in addition to the present congressional review. There is little basis for exempting FEC from the centralized paperwork control process. The proposed legislation aims to consolidate the currently fragmented responsibility for control over federal reporting requirements levied on the public. This is critical to making progress toward controlling the growth of burdensome, duplicative, and unused reporting requirements. Should Congress wish to retain the review of FEC forms, it should be made clear that the basis for the decision is the unique role of FEC, not its independent status. Otherwise, numerous other independent regulatory agencies would wish exemption. GAO believes that dual review of FEC forms by OMB and Congress is not really necessary. If Congress decides to include FEC in OMB review, it should repeal the congressional review. Should Congress decide to exclude FEC, the bill should be amended to remove FEC from OMB forms review responsibility.

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