Bipartisan Overhaul of Dysfunctional FEC Introduced by Representatives Kilmer and Renacci
Today, Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH) introduced a bipartisan bill to overhaul the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and break the gridlock that has left the federal campaign finance watchdog incapable of performing many of its most important duties. The Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act would reform an agency where enforcement actions and rulemakings have ground to a halt in recent years despite a spike in apparent violations and a pressing need to promulgate new rules in responses to Supreme Court decisions striking down a number of longstanding campaign finance laws. Representatives Lou Barletta (R-PA) and John Carney (D-DE) are also original cosponsors of the bill.“In the vacuum created by the FEC’s breakdown, candidates, committees and outside groups of both parties and at all levels have engaged with impunity in what appear to be violations of law, using soft money for federal campaigns, creating and coordinating with allegedly ‘independent’ groups, and ignoring disclosure requirements,” said Trevor Potter, Campaign Legal Center President and former FEC Chair. “Congress gave the FEC power to enforce the campaign finance laws, and did not expect it to become gridlocked and unable to act. This bill will enable the FEC to do its job. I commend this bipartisan group of Members of Congress for addressing this urgent issue. This is a subject on which bipartisan solutions are badly needed, and they have provided that.”Rep. Kilmer recently invited Potter to join him for a telephone town hall with his constituents to share his insights on reforming the FEC and campaign finance laws in general.
The Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act would:
- Reduce the number of Commissioners from six to five to eliminate stalemates.
- End the practice of Commissioners serving indefinitely until a replacement is confirmed by the Senate.
- Create a blue ribbon advisory panel to recommend nominees to the President for vacancies on the Commission.
- Delegate some administrative and investigatory tasks to the Chair to ensure timely investigations of alleged violations and to ensure the smooth operation of the agency.
- Maintain the requirement for a majority of the Commission to vote to initiate or take civil action against someone who violates federal election law, issue advisory opinions, engage in rulemaking, and conduct investigations and hearings.
To see the text of the bill, click here.