President Barack Obama’s two nominees to the Federal Election Commission — an agency rife with ideological discord and often gridlocked on key issues before it — today won unanimous approval from the Senate Rules and Administration Committee. The nominations of Republican Lee E. Goodman and Democrat Ann Ravel now move to the full Senate, which must confirm Goodman and Ravel before they’re appointed to the FEC. The Rules Committee had originally scheduled a nomination vote for Monday but delayed it because it failed to reach a quorum. “The Commission is designed to play a critical role in our campaign finance system,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the Rules Committee chairman, said in a statement. “It is my hope that, once confirmed, Mr. Goodman and Ms. Ravel will work hard to restore the agency to a fully functioning independent federal watchdog for the nation’s campaign finance laws.”
To date, the nominations of Goodman and Ravel have faced few obstacles. A Senate Rules Committee hearing they attended in July was, at times, downright clubby, as both nominees posed for photos with senators after fielding about an hour’s worth of routine questions.
But that’s no guarantee they’ll cakewalk their way to the 9th floor of 999 E St. NW in downtown Washington, D.C., where the FEC is headquartered.
Exhibit A: Labor lawyer John J. Sullivan, a Democrat, who Obama nominated to the FEC in 2009. Like Goodman and Ravel, he won Senate Rules Committee approval with relative ease. But Senate Republicans blocked his nomination, and in 2010, he withdrew from consideration after 15 months in politico limbo.