Threats against politicans are prevalent. The FEC wants to let campaigns pay for security.

The campaign finance regulator of the United States is proposing that congressional and presidential candidates be able to pay for security measures from their campaign funds.

The Federal Election Commission is allowing federal candidates to spend campaign funds on a variety of security measures. This will allow them to make the most of their campaign warchests in a hot political climate.

The campaign finance regulator’s proposal comes at a time when threats against politicians are on the rise. Last year, the U.S. Capitol Police investigated more than 8,000 cases. They expect that number to increase in 2024.

Federal candidates could use their campaign account to pay for security personnel, home equipment such as cameras or motion sensors and cybersecurity services. This is provided that the purchases are “addressing ongoing dangers or risks” associated with their position as federal officials or candidates and they pay fair market value.

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In an interview with Score, FEC chair Sean Cooksey stated: “I don’t want anyone to die trying to run for a position or serve the country.”

The first step will be Wednesday’s meeting. Three Democrats and three Republicans, the six commissioners of the agency are voting to open this rule up to public comments today. The agency will take into account the public comments after a sixty-day comment period and may make changes before voting on the final rule. This rulemaking proposal will likely receive bipartisan support. However, this process means that it won’t be implemented immediately. Cooksey predicted that a final vote would be held at the end or beginning of the fall.

He said that the proposed rules give candidates a lot of latitude.

The Republican commissioner stated that “we’re not trying micromanage candidates or members of Congress to customize their security needs.” The Republican commissioner added that “there are also some important controls to prevent abuse and misuse, by making sure they pay fair market prices and that it is reasonably tailored to their security needs.”

Federal law prohibits candidates from using funds raised for campaign purposes for “personal expenses.” However, under the advisory opinion process of the FEC, officeholders can use campaign funds in order to pay for security measures. The FEC has issued advisory opinions on a case by case basis and only when a campaign asked for their opinion on a particular situation. This means that campaigns had to request permission for every individual use. For example, the FEC issued separate advisory opinions for security gates, security lighting, and wiring related to them, as well as “window safety film.”

The proposed rules will eliminate this piecemeal approach, and give candidates more freedom to choose the security measures they want. The proposed rule applies to all federal candidates. This is an expansion in terms of scope. The majority of advisory opinions on security spending were for members of Congress.

The same rule would apply to presidential candidates. The new rule allows candidates to pay as soon as they wish for security protection. While “major candidates” get Secret Service protection, this is determined by Homeland Security’s secretary after consulting a “committee” which includes four of the most powerful congressional leaders. This rule would apply to all candidates, even those who are not eligible for Secret Service Protection. Remember how Robert F. Kennedy Jr., an independent presidential candidate, unsuccessfully sought Secret Service protection in the summer of last year. This would have been a historic early request.

Cooksey stated that the proposed rule could help to level the playing fields between wealthy candidates and middle-class candidates.

He said that it was “a matter of wealth disparity, and equal access to people running for office.” “Wealthy members of Congress and candidates will always be able pay for their security. This has never been limited. “It is more working class and middle-class candidates and members of Congress who are forced to choose between their own safety or the safety of their families in order to run for federal offices.”

He said that the desire to change the rules was driven by his own personal experiences and those of his colleagues who worked for high-profile politicians who faced security threats. Cooksey worked previously for both Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. Ted Cruz (R Texas) and Josh Hawley (R Missouri). He cited Dara Lindenbaum’s experience as a Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams’s assistant, as another motivational factor.

But it’s not just that. He added, “Many of us watch the news and continue to see how serious this problem is.”