Sen. Reid makes commendable effort to break deadlock over FEC nominees

Common Cause applauds Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) latest effort to fill the vacant seats on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and make it operable for the first time since January. The FEC has four vacancies that must be filled before it can take any formal action to enforce federal campaign finance laws during this critical presidential election year.

“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,” said Common Cause President Bob Edgar. “It is like playing the World Series without an umpire. Without enforcement, our campaign finance laws are rendered meaningless.”

Common Cause has called on the three presidential candidates, as well as the leaders of the Senate, to use their stature and prominence as party leaders to intervene and break the deadlock in Senate over nominees to the FEC. Common Cause has also met with Sen. Reid’s counsel to explore solutions.

Common Cause agrees with Sen. Reid that the FEC needs a full complement of six commissioners – not four — in order to effectively carry out its statutory responsibilities. Common Cause also supports the proposal to bring up each of the pending nominees separately for up-or-down, simple majority votes in the Senate for confirmation.

“For Americans to have some measure of faith that the 2008 elections will be fair, transparent and honest, we need to resolve this impasse over nominees as soon as possible,” said Edgar.