FEC plans interactive legal guides

Wikimedia: Federal Election Commission logo.

WHAT: The Federal Election Commission wants to put comprehensive, annotated election law guides online.

WHY: Now 40 years old, the FEC is trying to modernize. In March, the agency announced an electronic filing system for political committees and most candidates for federal office. In a recent request for information, the FEC revealed that it is looking to remake its guides to federal election campaign laws and regulations as interactive documents that include statutory information links to case law and precedent, ongoing litigation, enforcement actions, policy statements and legislative history.

The FEC plans to remake two resources – its guide to the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 and the section of the Code of Federal Regulations that covers elections. Current FEC systems are essentially search tools for scanned filing documents from which data is extracted via optical character recognition, and which are delivered as PDFs.

The systems are notoriously clunky and tricky to navigate. The FEC hopes to integrate information from across enforcement, rulemaking and opinion databases in its legal resources.

The RFI cautions that "such integration would require a uniform metadata and high-level character recognition in all documents," a requirement that appears to sprawl across all FEC systems, and not just the new document, so potentially the entire electronic document holdings of the FEC could be improved by this effort.

The FEC hopes to distribute the two documents free of charge. Click here to read the full RFI.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Apr 27, 2015 at 11:41 AM


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