Federal Election Commission employees — a generally unhappy lot for years — are even more unsatisfied with their jobs than before. That’s the bleak conclusion drawn from the 2015 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey’s satisfaction index, which places the election law enforcer and regulator near the bottom of 41 small agencies ranked. The FEC received an employee “global satisfaction” score of 43 out of 100, down a point from last year and 12 points from 2010, according to the annual survey released today by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Only the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (36) and African Development Foundation (18) received a lower score than the FEC among small agencies. The average score among small federal agencies is 62.
Personal tensions and ideological clashes among the FEC’s six commissioners — three Democratic appointees, three Republican appointees — often color the agency’s decisions on election law matters.
That’s if commissioners decide anything at all: they often deadlock on votes that affect a slew of campaign issues, from how politicians spent money to the kinds of disclaimers people must place on election messages.
The FEC has also suffered from a leadership vacuum in key areas, most notably going 767 days without anyone leading its legal department, which accounts for about one-third of the agency’s staff.