3L Rachael Hughes shares her summer externship experience at the Federal Election Commission.
I have been very fortunate to be an extern at the Federal Election Commission this summer. Working there has been a dream of mine because I have always had an interest in campaign finance and I even wrote my law review article on the topic. I am also happy to say that my experience has far exceeded any expectations I had before coming here.
I work in the Enforcement Division, which investigates the factual and legal circumstances of each possible violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act and recommends the proper action to take to the Commission. During the first half of my experience, I worked on three reports that will be reviewed and voted on by the Commission. I also worked on various research projects that will hopefully be useful tools for the attorneys even after I am gone. While working on these assignments, I have enjoyed learning a great deal about the inner framework of the agency.
Attending the Commission meetings is one of the most interesting stages of the process I have witnessed. I attended a closed session where the Commission addresses matters under review that are still pending and therefore not yet disclosed to the public, and I also attended an open session where the Commission approves public matters such as advisory opinions. Both sessions were very interesting because each case usually came down to determining the appropriate level of regulation, and I enjoyed hearing strong arguments on both sides.
Aside from working at the Federal Election Commission, I have enjoyed my time in Washington, D.C. This is the first time I have ever been to the nation’s capitol, and it is a beautiful city with historic sites around every corner. I have been able visit many places I have always wanted to, including the memorials, many of the Smithsonian museums, and Arlington Cemetery. With all that I have seen in Washington, D.C., and learned at my externship, I feel very blessed to work at my dream job at the Federal Election Commission this summer.