For Immediate Release
CREW and Others Critical of White House Response to Request to Fix the FEC
WASHINGTON - Today, a broad coalition of civic groups led by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) wrote to President Obama regarding the White House’s lackluster response to the groups’ petition calling for him to nominate new commissioners to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The response – delivered just past 5:00 P.M. last Friday after a four-month wait – offered only vague, generic support for enforcement of our nation’s campaign finance laws. The tepid statement stands in marked contrast to those made by the president during his 2008 presidential campaign. The White House response makes clear that fixing the FEC is not a priority for the administration.
“With the 2012 elections right around the corner and millions of dollars flowing in to fund deceptive ads designed to mislead voters, the agency charged with regulating campaign spending – the FEC – is a useless mess,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “Assurances from the White House that the president really, really cares about campaign finance law are no substitute for real action. The president needs to nominate new commissioners now.”
During the 2008 campaign, President Obama promised to appoint new commissioners to the FEC who would be committed to enforcing our nation’s election laws. Five of the six current commissioners continue to serve despite expired terms, and three openly flaunt their routine refusal to enforce existing campaign finance laws, even where the FEC’s professional staff has called for an investigation.
Americans deserve commissioners who will faithfully enforce existing campaign finance laws and close existing loopholes. Efforts to remake the FEC cannot begin until the president nominates new commissioners.
“President Obama has been quick to blame Congress and the courts for our lousy campaign finance system, but he bears some of the responsibility. The president has declined to exert his authority to fix the FEC,” continued Sloan. “What is he waiting for? Given the completely dysfunctional state of the FEC and the enormous damage that has been done to our campaign finance laws, this is a fight worth having.”
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.