Presidential candidates should help break Senate deadlock over FEC nominations

Lack of FEC enforcement is “national embarrassment”

Common Cause on Wednesday called on the three leading presidential candidates to use their prominence as party leaders and influence in the US Senate to help break the deadlock in that chamber over Federal Election Commission (FEC) nominees so the FEC can have a quorum and enforce the nation’s campaign finance laws during this critical election.

“The fact that the country does not have a functional election watchdog during the most important presidential election in a generation is a national embarrassment,” Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause, wrote in letters sent to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), and Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL). “It is like playing the World Series without an umpire. Without effective enforcement, our campaign finance laws are essentially meaningless.”

The six-member FEC has been unable to function this year because it has four vacancies. The Senate is in a standoff over nominee Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department lawyer with a record of extreme partisanship and known efforts around voting suppression.

“Unprecedented amounts of money are being raised and spent by candidates and interest groups for this presidential election,” Edgar wrote. “Americans must have some measure of faith that our campaign finance laws are being enforced.”

Read the letters.