Political tensions intensified on Thursday at the Federal Election Commission, as a Republican commissioner charged that conservative groups were the focus of agency reviews into possible impropriety far more than liberal ones. On a commission deeply divided already along party lines, Democrats quickly dismissed the charge as baseless. Lee E. Goodman, one of three Republican commissioners, said at a public meeting that he tallied up the political leanings of groups investigated by the agency for possible campaign violations and found what he said was a system tilted to inquiries of conservative groups.
For pending F.E.C. reviews, Mr. Goodman said that campaigns and groups he characterized as conservative or Republican outnumbered liberal or Democratic ones by a margin of 49 to 16. He did not disclose the names of the groups in his tally and his office said it could not release a detailed breakdown of the groups because of confidentiality laws.
Mr. Goodman said the blame for what he saw as a political tilt fell not with the F.E.C. itself, but rather with liberal outside groups aggressively bringing complaints of campaign violations to the agency. Outside complaints automatically trigger an F.E.C. review into the merits, which can lead to fines and disciplinary action against anyone found to have violated election law.