President’s Inaction Leaves FEC a Lame Duck

Final FEC Commissioner’s Term Ends Tuesday; President’s Failure to Act Creates Lame Duck Agency

Tuesday will mark a new low for the functioning of the Federal Election Commission. FEC Commissioner Caroline Hunter’s term will officially end at 11:59 pm. At that point, all five commissioners will be sitting on expired seats as lame ducks, as the law permits each to do until a replacement is in place. A sixth expired commissioner resigned in February, leaving her seat open. With the exception of one nominee who withdrew from consideration in 2010, President Obama has failed to nominate anyone else for the six expired terms.

“The ball remains squarely in President Obama’s court to nominate new FEC commissioners, as it has since the day he took office,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause senior vice president for strategy and programs. “Once he acts, the Senate should move swiftly to conduct confirmation hearings and vote the nominees up or down. Step one, however, requires presidential leadership. It’s inexcusable that by tomorrow evening, every single seat on the commission will be expired or vacant,” she said.

FEC Commissioners have increasingly deadlocked 3-3 when voting on enforcement matters, leading to very little action against violators. “Campaign finance law has been shifting like quicksand even before the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. At the very least, Americans deserve a cop on the beat,” said Hobert Flynn.