Dear Mr. President: Please Bring Change We Can Believe in to the FEC


The inadequacy of the Federal Elections Commission is an old hobby-horse around here. Today, CREW has some wise things to say on the subject:

Come May 1, President Barack Obama will face a first test of whether he will make good on his promise to change the way Washington works. The test will come at an agency that most Americans have never even heard of — the Federal Election Commission — where there could be three vacancies that day.

…the FEC has long been made up of commissioners hand-picked from the ranks of the political party faithful, and its interpretation of the nation’s campaign finance laws has consistently been to the benefit of the parties rather than the people.

CREW then spends some time providing examples of the FEC’s failings, which you should check out if you’re not well-versed on the subject. Then it lays out Obama’s options:

Clearly, there needs to be a new process in place for nominating commissioners in order for the agency to begin functioning. Obama has three choices in this situation. He can take the political easy road by again deferring to congressional leaders, allowing him to retain more political capital for bigger fights sure to come. His second option is to kick the can down the road by leaving the current commissioners in place and making sympathetic noises about a much-needed long-term solution to revamp the agency, such as the reform proposal offered by Sens. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). Championing a legislative solution would avoid a fight, though the FEC would continue its dysfunctional behavior for the foreseeable future.

His third choice is to stand behind his campaign promise to create an administration that changes the way business is done in Washington and voluntarily use a more independent process to find new commissioners who are both well-qualified and dedicated to upholding the law.

That’s truth. There’s a lot more at the link.

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