FEC: Reform Groups Urge FEC Chair to Buck Partisan Political Pressure to Undermine Enforcement


Today, the Campaign Legal Center joined with ten other reform groups to urge FEC Chair Ellen L. Weintraub not yield to political pressure from Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) to undermine the enforcement of the nation’s campaign finance laws.

Rep. Miller, Chairman of the House Administration Committee, criticized the FEC for failing to adopt amendments to an agency Enforcement Manual and urged the Commission to act promptly on the matter. The letter to Chair Weintraub urged her to wait until the Commission had a full complement of Commissioners before voting on changes to the FEC’s Enforcement Manual proposed by the Republican Commissioners seeking to take advantage of a temporary 3-2 majority on the Commission.

“This is a clear attempt by a Member of Congress to apply partisan political pressure to the FEC and the agency should not bow to it – particularly as the proposed enforcement policies would inhibit the government’s ability to enforce the campaign finance laws passed by Congress,” said Legal Center Senior Counsel Paul S. Ryan. “Rep. Miller has been conspicuously silent on the glacial pace of FEC enforcement in general but suddenly chooses to apply pressure when she sees the opportunity for partisan political gain.”

The proposed changes to the manual would stop the longstanding free exchange of information between FEC professional staff and the Department of Justice, United States Attorneys and other federal agencies, thus hindering enforcement of federal campaign finance laws. Internally, the proposal would remove the ability of the agency’s dedicated professional staff to consider publicly available information in its investigations without a vote of approval from the Commission, effectively giving investigative veto power to the three Republican Commissioners who have repeatedly refused to enforce current campaign finance laws.

The reform groups sending the letter with the Legal Center include Americans for Campaign Reform, the Brennan Center for Justice, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Demos, the League of Women Voters, Public Citizen, Sunlight Foundation and U.S. PIRG.         

To read the letter, click here.