Reforming the FEC: Partisan Appointment Process

As it currently exists, the appointment process only fuels the partisan nature of the Commission. In Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court made clear that the Constitution requires the president, not Congress, to appoint commissioners.

In reality, an informal understanding between the president and the Congress exists whereby the nominees are selected by party leaders. This tacit understanding only enhances the partisan nature of the process, with party leaders nominating commissioners who further their political interests, some of whom are openly hostile toward the very laws they’re charged with enforcing.

The Senate is currently deadlocked over an apparent deal between the White House and Senate Republican leaders to have an up and down vote on three pending nominees to the FEC, so that it’s an all or nothing approach. A few courageous senators adamantly refused, however, to rubber stamp their party’s nominees, some of whom have made their disdain for campaign finance law enforcement abundantly clear. Accordingly, the FECA should be amended to reform the appointment process.



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