Congressmen John Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) today called on President Donald J. Trump to immediately nominate commissioners to fill vacancies at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and restore its ability to enforce campaign finance law. With only three commissioners out of a possible six commissioners, the FEC lacks a quorum and cannot complete its most basic regulatory and oversight responsibilities.
“Put simply, the mounting vacancies imperil the FEC’s already limited capacity to execute its statutorily required enforcement of campaign finance law,” the Members wrote. “This is untenable. As the 2020 election draws nears, our democracy faces significant challenges, both foreign and domestic, that require the full force of our regulatory, oversight and law enforcement institutions, including the FEC.”
The Members continued: “Our nation needs an effective watchdog to respond in real-time, enforce our nation’s election laws, and provide guidance to incumbents and challengers as they navigate our federal election laws. As the House continues to exercise its oversight over the many threats to our electoral process, we urge you, Mr. President, to fulfill your obligations of office and nominate capable Commissioners – one Republican and one Democrat – to the vacant posts at the Federal Election Commission. Americans deserve a fair and transparent election process, which depends on a fully functional FEC.”
Congressman Sarbanes, as Chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, authored H.R. 1, the For the People Act – the most significant package of anti-corruption reforms in a generation. H.R. 1 would restore the promise of American democracy by cleaning up corruption in Washington, exposing secret foreign money in our politics, cracking down on lobbyists and Washington insiders, strengthening America’s election security, repairing the FEC, protecting the right to vote and returning power back to the American people with clean, citizen-owned elections.
Congressman Kilmer, a long-time advocate for reforming the FEC and getting this critical agency back to doing its job, currently leads a bipartisan bill included in H.R. 1 to reform the FEC and enable it to more effectively carry out its mission to oversee and enforce campaign finance laws – mainly by reducing of the number of commissioners from six to five and eliminating stalemate decisions. He recently wrote an op-ed in The Seattle Times on how to fix the FEC.