Today’s FEC Nominations A Small Step Forward

President Obama’s nominations to fill two seats on the Federal Election Commission are a welcome step – but unfortunately just a small one – toward a desperately-needed overhaul of our campaign finance system, Common Cause said today.

“It’s good to see the President put some action behind his often-stated desire to do something about the corrosive influence of money on our politics and elections,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause’s senior vice president for strategy and programs. “The Senate must promptly review and act on these nominations and the President should make additional nominations to fill the other four vacant seats on the commission.”

The president nominated Ann Ravel,chairwoman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission,and Lee Goodman,an attorney at the law firm LeClairRyan in Washington, D.C.

The FEC is supposed to have six members – three Democrats and three Republicans – but only five of the slots currently are full, and all are occupied by commissioners serving beyond the expiration of their terms. The law permits those members to remain in office until replacements have been nominated and confirmed.

Until today’s action, President Obama had made only one FEC nomination: lawyer John J. Sullivan withdrew his name after senators allowed the nomination to languish without action for more than a year.

“The FEC is arguably the most dysfunctional agency in our government,” Hobert Flynn said. “Again and again, partisan deadlocks among its members have left it unable to enforce our election laws and execute critically important rulemakings. We hope today’s nominations are a first step toward restoring a functional FEC.”

Common Cause has urged Congress to restructure the FEC into a new election agency, independent of the executive branch, structured to prevent partisan deadlock, and empowered to effectively administer and enforce campaign finance laws.