Terms for All Members of Federal Election Commission have Expired

Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Caroline Hunter, latest FEC commissioner to have term expired

The Federal Election Commission (FEC), which regulates the nation’s campaign finance laws, has reached a new low under President Barack Obama, as the agency now has no members with active terms who are in charge. By late April, all of the FEC commissioners were serving with expired appointments.


Since becoming president, Obama has nominated only one person to the commission, and that nomination was withdrawn.


The five existing commissioners will continue to serve until replacements are nominated by the White House and confirmed by the U.S. Senate. A sixth seat remains vacant.


Those still on the commission have been deadlocked in a partisan split, preventing any substantive work from being accomplished.


The commissioners couldn’t even review their own regulations developed following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission (pdf), which lifted spending restrictions on corporations and unions.


Democrats on the FEC wanted to tighten disclosure requirements, while Republicans preferred to focus only on regulations that conflicted with the court ruling.


While the commissioners debated among themselves, spending by independent groups tripled to $1 billion in 2012, up from $300 million in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

FEC Expired Terms Prompt Calls for Obama to Keep Promise (by Jonathan Salant, Bloomberg)

Obama’s Campaign Finance Reform Plans Have Faded (by Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post)

Court Orders Federal Election Commission to Stop Stonewalling Information Requests (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Chair of the Federal Election Commission: Who Is Ellen Weintraub? (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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