Reforming The FEC

Law360 (October 29, 2020, 1:51 PM EDT) -- As Election Day nears, former commissioners of the Federal Election Commission discuss the biggest issues facing the FEC, which has been without a quorum since July. 

Bipartisan Compromise Is Essential
As the Federal Election Commission faces the weighty issues of campaign finance, foreign nationals in American politics, and interaction with courts and other agencies, the commissioners must effectively manage partisan conflicts in the decision-making process to achieve consensus and ensure the agency's smooth functioning, says former FEC Commissioner Robert Lenhard at Covington & Burling LLP.

Effective Commissioners Are Needed
The Federal Election Commission's dysfunction — leading to an explosion in secret spending and rigged campaign financing — could be mitigated if presidents prioritized the nomination of commissioners committed to the agency's mission rather than deferring to party leaders in Congress, says former FEC Commissioner Trevor Potter at Caplin & Drysdale Chtd.

Rulemaking Obligations Must Be Fulfilled
The Federal Election Commission has collectively failed to minimize uncertainty in the law by abandoning rulemaking, resulting in large swaths of political activity, including fundraising and foreign national participation in elections, left ungoverned by clear regulation, says former FEC Commissioner Karl ​Sandstrom at Perkins Coie LLP.

The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Portfolio​​ Media Inc. or any of its​​ respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes an​​d is​​ ​​not ​​intended to be and​​ should not be taken as legal advice.

For a reprint of this article, please contact

Hello! I'm Law360's automated support bot.

How can I help you today?

For example, you can type:
  • I forgot my password
  • I took a free trial but didn't get a verification email
  • How do I sign up for a newsletter?
Ask a question!