The Federal Election Commission announced today that Commissioner Bradley Smith would resign from the agency effective Aug. 21. Smith, a Republican, was often critical of campaign finance regulations. Larry Noble, executive director and general counsel of the Center for Responsive Politics, issued the following statement in response to the announcement. Noble served as general counsel of the FEC for 13 years prior to joining the Center in 2001.
"While I do not share Commissioner Smith's views opposing the campaign finance laws he was assigned to enforce, there is no doubting the intellectual focus and energy he brought to the job. The announcement of Smith's departure highlights the need for President Bush to turn his attention to the FEC. With four open seats on the six-member commission, the President now has the opportunity to show he is committed to an agency that stands up for the interests of the public and not just the narrow goals of the politicians and groups it regulates.
"The President's job is made easier by the fact that Commissioner Scott Thomas is both eligible for and deserving of reappointment. Even as the FEC has become more ineffective and partisan, Commissioner Thomas has remained a voice for meaningful enforcement of the campaign finance laws.
"It is critical that President Bush nominate commissioners who will enforce the law as Congress intended and in a manner that respects the public's right to federal elections free from real and apparent corruption."
The FEC press release announcing Smith's departure is at the link below. <http://www.fec.gov/press/press2005/20050615smith.html>