U.S. Sen. Tom Udall introduced legislation this week to abolish what he called a broken Federal Election Commission and replace it with a new agency empowered to crack down on campaign finance violations.
The new Federal Election Administration would be established to avoid the partisan gridlock that currently prevents the FEC from doing its job and enforcing our election laws. Udall is a champion for fair elections that are free of unlimited and undisclosed special interest money, and is the lead sponsor of a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, as well as other flawed campaign finance decisions.
Many commonsense campaign finance laws have been struck down by the Supreme Court, and the few rules that remain are not being enforced. The lack of FEC action has compounded the disastrous impact of Citizens United, and subsequent lower court decisions like SpeechNow.org v. FEC, which created Super PACs. Without FEC enforcement, Super PACs and campaigns are now pushing the envelope on all remaining campaign finance rules with near impunity. Former FEC Chairwoman and current Commissioner Ann M. Ravel has spoken strongly about the commission’s inability to enforce the law.
Udall’s Federal Election Administration Act would abolish the FEC and create a new agency composed of five members appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. A chair would lead the agency, and the remaining members would equally represent both political parties. The bill is modeled after a bipartisan proposal previously introduced by Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Senator Russ Feingold (D-Wis.).
“Congress created the Federal Election Commission to fight political corruption after Watergate. But today, partisan gridlock leaves the agency powerless to enforce the few campaign finance laws remaining on the books,” Udall said.
A summary of the Federal Election Administration Act can be found here.