Campaign-finance reform advocates hold out zero hope that the current Congress will overhaul the rules, but they have nevertheless unveiled a plan that sketches out their ideal vision for tightening up federal election law enforcement. On Tuesday, Senator Tom Udall, of New Mexico, introduced a bill that would kill the Federal Election Commission and replace it with a new agency that is “empowered to crack down on campaign finance violations,” according to a statement. A cadre of pro-reform advocacy groups is now calling on other senators to support the legislation, dubbed the Federal Election Administration Act. “The Federal Election Commission is a failed, dysfunctional agency that does not enforce or properly interpret the nation’s campaign finance laws,” the groups wrote in a letter to U.S. senators this week. “As a result, campaigns, political operatives, parties and independent spenders know they can operate with impunity and without consequences for campaign-finance violations. This has created the modern political equivalent of the Wild West without a sheriff.”
Replacing the FEC with a stronger agency, like a Federal Election Administration, isn’t a new idea. Republican Senator John McCain, of Arizona, introduced a similar bill back in 2007, as did former Wisconsin Democratic Senator Russ Feingold in 2009. Both times, though, the legislation went nowhere.
“I’m not arguing that anything is going to happen overnight,” Fred Wertheimer, who heads Democracy 21, one of the reform groups backing the bill, told the Prospect. “This presents a marker that’s on the table and can begin educating people about how we can reform the FEC. One of the purposes is to start a discussion; you don’t get much attention inside Congress on this issue.”
Full Article: Reform Advocates’ Elusive Goal: Fix the FEC.