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This Position Is No Longer Available

Job Title:  ATTORNEY-ADVISOR (Special Counsel)
Agency:  Federal Election Commission
Hiring Organization:  Federal Election Commission
Job Announcement Number:  VA 14-023

This position is closed and no longer accepting online applications through USAJOBS.

The contents of the announcement can still be viewed.
$124,995.00 to $157,100.00 / Per Year
Tuesday, June 24, 2014 to Monday, July 21, 2014
Full Time - Permanent
001 vacancy - Washington DC, DC   View Map
United States Citizens
Public Trust - Background Investigation


About the Agency

Are you interested in helping to protect the integrity of America’s federal campaign process?  Would you like the opportunity to work on unique and intellectually stimulating legal issues that intersect with the world of politics?  Are you interested in practicing law within a dynamic work environment with a senior management team that respects the desire to maintain a healthy work-life balance and is committed to establishing itself as one of the best places to work in the federal government?  The Federal Election Commission is looking for a bright, articulate, and enthusiastic individual with outstanding communication skills and superior analytical abilities to serve as an Special Counsel to the Associate General Counsel in the Enforcement Division of the Office of General Counsel.  If you are ready to contribute to matters of importance that will challenge your mind and develop your career, please consider joining our dedicated team of public servants.

The Federal Election Commission is an independent federal regulatory agency established by the Federal Election Campaign Act (the FECA).  It is governed by six Commissioners appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate.  The FEC has exclusive jurisdiction for the administration, interpretation, and civil enforcement of the FECA, which requires disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures by candidates for federal office and committees supporting those candidates, and imposes limitations on the amount and sources of such contributions.  The legal work at the Commission regularly involves important and complex issues implicating the First Amendment.

The FEC is located in Penn Quarter, an area of northwest Washington, DC offering access to government agencies, residential living, casual and fine dining, shopping, a major sports arena, and several theaters.  The FEC is located near several METRO subway and bus stations.



  • An applicant must hold a law degree from an accredited law school.
  • Include the State to which admission to the Bar and year.
  • Must be a member in good standing of the Bar.


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This position is located in the Office of General Counsel (OGC) at the Federal Election Commission (FEC); FEC regulates the financial aspects of political campaigns for Federal office and administers the public financing of presidential campaigns.  The FEC has exclusive jurisdiction over civil enforcement of the Act.  The OGC's  Enforcement Division supports this critical role by investigating alleged violations of the Act, recommending to the Commission appropriate action to take with respect to apparent violations, and directly negotiating conciliation agreements, which may include civil penalties and other remedies, with respondents or their counsel.

The incumbent serves as the Special Counsel (Attorney-Advisor) to the Associate General Counsel for Enforcement  in OGC.  The incumbent, under the direction and guidance of the Associate General Counsel, serves as personal and confidential advisor to the Associate General Counsel relating to the enforcement of the Federal Election Campaign Act (the "Act") and the conduct of investigations into alleged violations of the Act and the Commission's  implementing regulations.  The incumbent's  work demands exceptional judgment, discretion, and broad knowledge of the law.

The incumbent provides guidance on OGC activities of the Enforcement Division that affect the work of the Commission and internal OGC operations, performing the following tasks to support Division-wide interests:

  • Serves as legal advisor and consultant to the Associate General Counsel responsible for rendering formal advice, recommendations, and opinions on a range of issues.
  • Advises the Associate General Counsel on matters pending before the Commission.
  • Provides policy guidance on enforcement matters.
  • Reviews legal documents for timeliness, accuracy, legal consistency, clarity, organization, and procedural correctness, and ensures that activities such as investigation, fact analysis, discovery, depositions, subpoenas for document production, and the like are thoughtfully planned and presented, and comply with Commission procedures, policies, and practices.
  • At the Associate General Counsel's  request or on the incumbent's  initiative, conducts special studies of the law, regulations, policies, programs, and operating procedures; sets the parameters of the study, determines the issues involved; secures staff input, analyzes the data, and prepares proposals or conclusions for the Associate General Counsel's consideration.
  • Prepares legal memoranda or other recommendations.
  • Assists the Associate General Counsel in specific legal research and policy assignments.
  • Drafts speeches and presentations.
  • Provides legal advice to the Associate General Counsel on sensitive and confidential matters.
  • Represents the Associate General Counsel on assigned matters as directed.
  • Works with the General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel on various projects.
  • Keeps the Associate General Counsel advised of matters pending before the Commission;
  • Reviews and briefs the Associate General Counsel on agenda items and recommends positions on the issues to be represented;
  • Maintains current knowledge of pending legislation and social and political developments which may affect the FEC’s mission;
  • Assumes responsibility for special projects as the Associate General Counsel may assign.
  • Attends Commission meetings, as required.
  • Performs other related duties as required.


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Mandatory education and credentials:  An applicant must hold a law degree from an accredited law school and be a member in good standing of the Bar of a state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or any territorial court under the Constitution.

Specialized Experience:  To qualify, the experience must have been equivalent to one year of service at the next lower grade in federal service, GS-14.  This means that in order to be eligible for appointment at the GS-15 level, the applicant must have four years of experience as a practicing attorney, and in order to be eligible for appointment at the GS-15 level, the applicant must have four years of experience as a practicing attorney which is directly related to the line of work of the position.

Desirable Experience:  Knowledge of the Federal Election Campaign Act and the Public Financing statutes found in Chapter 95 and 96 of the Internal Revenue Code, though not required, is desirable and should be highlighted in the cover letter, resume, or both.

Time-in-Grade Requirement:  In order to be eligible for appointment at the GS-15 level, an applicant currently employed in the Federal Government and paid on the General Schedule must already be a GS-15 or must have completed one year of service at the GS-14 grade level.




Competencies Needed for Success in the Position: Please provide a cover letter of at least two pages summarizing the evidence of your competencies in the following areas.  Applicants who do not submit a cover letter addressing the competencies will be ineligible for further consideration.

1.    Describe your ability to write clearly, concisely and persuasively, with particular emphasis on the ability to analyze and explain complex legal issues including regulatory, procedural and constitutional issues.

2.    Describe your ability to communicate – both written and oral – including the ability to negotiate effectively with others within and outside an organization.

3.    Describe your knowledge of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA), or provide examples of experience with analogous regulatory regimes.  Knowledge of FECA is preferred but not required.  The incumbent, if he or she does not have this knowledge, will be required to quickly develop a thorough understanding of the FECA; the historical background of election laws and of the Commission; and FEC policies and decisions relating to the enforcement of the FECA.


Attorney applicants are evaluated in a two-step process.  Upon review of the written materials submitted in accordance with the vacancy announcement, during step one the agency weighs the candidate’s legal education and legal experience against a pre-determined set of criteria.  If you meet the minimum qualifications for this job, you may be requested to submit a separate supplemental written statement specifically addressing how your background and experience relate to the technical competencies and qualifications of this position.  Your application will be further reviewed and rated to assess the quality, depth, and complexity of your accomplishments, experience, and education as they relate to the qualifications stated in this vacancy announcement.  The highest rated candidates will be interviewed during a second phase of the applicant’s evaluation.  Final ranking is based on an evaluation of applicant’s experience, education, training, and abilities, including an analysis of the candidates’ writing samples.  Only those applicants found to be among the best qualified may be contacted for further assessment, such as interviews and consideration by the selecting official.

Internal applicants must submit a copy of their most recent performance appraisal; the appraisal and an internal applicant's awards history will be considered in the evaluation process.

Click the following link to preview the applicant questionnaire: Preview Applicant Questionnaire.


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You can review our benefits at: http://OPM’s Healthcare and Insurance Website.

FEC benefits package, including: health insurance, Thrift Savings Plan (similar to a 401(k)), Flexible Spending Account, retirement plan, life and long-term care insurance, Employee Assistance Program, personal leave days and paid Federal holidays.  Other benefits may include:  flexible work schedules, telework, and transportation subsidies.


  • This is a permanent full-time position in the Excepted Service and does not confer Federal competitive status.  This is a non-bargaining unit position.
  • The successful applicant will be subject to a background investigation and security clearance.  Continued employment will be subject to the successful completion of the investigation and favorable adjudication.
  • Persons selected may have to satisfy a two-year probationary period.
  • All standard government benefit programs apply.  Additional information on benefits for Federal Employees can be found at
  • The incumbent may be eligible for a transit subsidy up to $130 per month.
  • You must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Males born after 12-31-59 must be registered for selective service.
  • Direct deposit of pay is required.
  • Relocation expenses will not be paid.

The FEC is an Equal Opportunity Employer.  All qualified applicants will be considered without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, physical disability, lawful political affiliation, or labor organization affiliation or non-affiliation. The FEC provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities. If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the servicing HR Office. Requests for reasonable accommodation are granted on a case-by-case basis.




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To begin, create or log into your USAJOBS account, complete your profile and upload all required documents listed below. Once you complete this, click the "Apply Online" button on this Job Announcement and follow the prompts to complete the applicant questionnaire.

Application Deadline: You have until 11:59 p.m. EST (Eastern Standard Time) on the closing date of the announcement to complete and submit the online application.


1.  Resume.

2.  A cover letter summarizing the evidence of your competencies.

3.  A brief writing sample, no longer than 10 pages, that demonstrates competencies mentioned in this announcement under the "Qualifications Tab".

4.  There is no formal rating system for applying veterans' preference to attorney appointments in the excepted service; however, the Federal Election Commission considers veterans' preference eligibility as a positive factor in attorney hiring. Applicants eligible for veterans' preference must include the information in their cover letter or resume and attach supporting documents (e.g., DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty and other supporting documents to their submissions. Although the "point" system is not used, per se, applicants eligible to claim 10-point preference must submit Standard Form SF-15, Application for 10-Point Veteran Preference, and submit the supporting documents required for the specific type of preference claimed (visit OPM website,  for a copy of SF 15,which lists the types of 10-point preference and required supporting document(s).


Cathy Lee-Amos
Phone: (202) 6941080
Agency Information:
Federal Election Commission
999 E. Street N.W.
Washington, DC


Once your complete application is received and an evaluation of your qualifications is conducted, the best qualified candidates will be referred to the hiring manager for further consideration and possible interview.  You will be notified of the outcome.

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