National: After Contentious, Impromptu Debate on Enforcement Procedures, FEC Deadlocks on Two Advisory Opinion Requests, Approves a Third | In the Arena
Before the Federal Election Commission took up the scheduled agenda at today’s public meeting, a contentious debate broke out over its continued inability to agree on whether and how to revise its enforcement procedures. Commissioners have disagreed over how to handle fact-finding during enforcement investigations, as well as proposed guidelines on information sharing with the Department of Justice. In an hour-long back-and-forth, Commissioners McGahn, Hunter and Petersen all called for prompt consideration of the proposed Office of General Counsel (OGC) Enforcement Manual. Commission Chair Weintraub acknowledged that she had placed a hold on consideration of the manual, but criticized McGahn for publicly discussing the matter. While she did not explicitly state when she would remove the hold, Weintraub argued that only after a new general counsel is appointed and two new Commissioners are confirmed by the Senate would there be enough of a “level playing field” to warrant a vote on the manual. (There is currently one vacant seat on the Commission, and McGahn has announced his plans to leave in the near future.) Commissioner Walther (via phone connection) said that while the agency had made “unprecedented improvements in transparency” regarding its enforcement procedures, it needed to go further. Eventually, Chair Weintraub brought the discussion to a close, citing the fact that the matter was not included on the agenda.