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Obama Has a Golden Opportunity to Fix the FEC

April 30, 2009 

Obama Has a Golden Opportunity to Fix the FEC

Public Citizen Sends Open Letter to President Obama

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Obama administration should seize the opportunity afforded by the expiration of terms for three commissioners on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to break the deadlock that has immobilized the agency over the past year, Public Citizen told the president in a letter today.

The letter notes that “a series of highly partisan and politically charged appointments to the Federal Election Commission by the Bush Administration” has created an agency that is unwilling to carry out its duties. “Since the commission was reestablished in mid-2008,” the letter says, “partisan 3-to-3 deadlocks on important enforcement matters have increased dramatically over previous years.”

The letter notes that a principal force behind these deadlocks is Commissioner Don McGahn, a former ethics advisor to former U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, who resigned from Congress under criminal indictment. Republican members of the FEC have rallied around McGahn and coalesced into a voting bloc committed to reversing established regulations to implement the law and preventing critical enforcement actions. The reconstituted commission in 2008 has produced the largest percentage of dismissed enforcement cases and the lowest percentage of substantive enforcement actions in recent history.

The letter warns “that the immediate future of the FEC will follow one of two paths: either current federal campaign finance laws will be largely torn asunder by a deadlocked FEC, or you will appoint commissioners who are committed to carrying out the agency’s mission.”

Public Citizen encourages the administration immediately to appoint commissioners who will pursue their duties responsibly and professionally.

READ the letter.