The House Administration committee’s top Republican last week scolded the Federal Election Commission for failing to approve an enforcement manual two years after lawmakers asked the panel to complete the task. “When a federal agency keeps its enforcement policies and procedures secret or makes them difficult to understand, it increases the opportunity for abuse by its employees — abuse that has very real consequences for the Americans subject to its power,” Committee Chairman Candice Miller (Mich.) said in a statement on Friday. In a letter to Miller on Thursday, FEC Chairman Ellen Weintraub raised concerns about dealing with enforcement guidelines while the Senate is considering two new nominees for the commission.
“In my view, it would be highly inappropriate for the commission to take precipitous action on a matter of this importance without giving our new colleagues the opportunity to participate,” Weintraub said. ”I am also concerned about taking such an action when the commission’s foundational bipartisan structure is out of balance, but soon to be corrected.”
The normally six-seat panel is down to five members, all of whom are serving expired terms. Last month, President Obama named his first nominees for the FEC in four years, tapping Democratic elections watchdog Ann Ravel and Republican attorney Lee Goodman, who now await Senate approval.