FEC gets modest budget boost

Election watchdog's 2015 funding level reverses years of cuts

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After several years of budget cuts, the Federal Election Commission will receive a modest funding boost.

Congress' government funding bill, signed Tuesday by President Barack Obama, allots $67.5 million for the agency, which enforces and administers the federal government's election laws.

That's about $1.7 million more than it received this year and more money than it's had during any year this decade.

The FEC's previous funding high water mark occurred during the 2011 fiscal year, when it received $66.7 million.

FEC Chairman Lee Goodman, a Republican, described the agency's 2015 funding as "adequate."

He noted the agency will heavily invest in improving its information technology systems, overhauling its website and hiring new staffers, especially those tasked with analyzing the millions of pages of campaign finance filings for which it's responsible.

Agency staffing levels had steadily declined since hitting a high of 385 in 2005.

Among the FEC's other challenges in 2015 will be addressing historically low morale among staffers still there: an annual Partnership for Public Service study released this month ranked the FEC No. 29 out of 30 small federal agencies for employee satisfaction.

The FEC in 2015 will be led by Ann Ravel, a Democrat. Ravel's commission colleagues on Wednesday voted 5-0 to appoint her FEC chairwoman.

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