Decor

The Federal Election Commission

The Landscape: The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the federal agency tasked with enforcing campaign finance laws. Official agency actions require agreement by a majority (four) of the agency’s six commissioners, and no more than three commissioners can represent the same political party. Historically, commissioners affiliated with both the Republican and Democratic parties have worked together to investigate complaints and enforce campaign finance laws. But for the past decade, partisan gridlock among commissioners has stalled the agency from pursuing its mission, effectively relegating the FEC to the sidelines as political spending increases and the online political advertising landscape becomes more complicated and in need of regulation. 

Moving Forward

The FEC must begin immediately enforcing election and campaign finance laws to help restore public trust in government and our elections. Specifically, Congress should provide additional funding for FEC enforcement lawyers. It should also promote stronger coordination with other federal agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury to investigate foreign interference, and with the Federal Trade Commission to investigate deceptive practices in the form of election disinformation in digital ads. As outlined in the For the People Act, Congress should reform the agency’s structure to five commissioners with no more than two affiliated with the same political party.

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