Appoint FEC Commissioners Committed to Transparency

The president should replace sitting Federal Election Commission (FEC) commissioners with new members who affirm their support for disclosure.


The FEC has contributed to the dark money crisis due to its willingness to all but disregard disclosure laws. While the 3:3 partisan split of the commission is not likely to be altered, there is an opportunity for new commissioners to be appointed. Five of six sitting commissioners are lame ducks, serving after the expiration of their terms. The president should immediately nominate individuals who strongly affirm their commitment to the disclosure provisions in the law, and the Senate should only affirm new commissioners who are committed to enforcing existing campaign finance laws and closing disclosure loopholes.

Historically, party leaders have selected FEC nominees under an informal agreement between the president and Congress. It is up to the President to break this undemocratic tradition and make appointments based on merit and support for the law.

The integrity of US elections is under fire due to the torrent of dark money unleashed after the Citizens United decisions. Laws are already on the books that would have required a modicum of disclosure of the corporations, unions or individuals behind the ads that infected the 2012 elections. The president can demonstrate his commitment to strong campaign finance disclosure by naming FEC commissioners who are willing to enforce the law.

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