The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jordan Libowitz,,,.

Why Hasn't White House Responded to CREW Petition Requesting New Appointments to FEC


Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) and 11 other good government groups today reiterated their call on President Obama to fix the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by appointing new commissioners.

"During the campaign, then-Senator Obama promised to bring 'strong impartial leadership' to the FEC," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. "Once in office, he promised to respond to any petition on the 'We the People' section of the White House website with at least 25,000 signatures. More than 27,000 Americans signed the petition calling on the president to nominate new FEC commissioners. But from the White House, there has been only silence."

In a letter sent to the president today, CREW and the other organizations reminded President Obama that it's been two months since the 25,000-signature goal was achieved. The letter decries "the national scandal at the FEC," noting:

The FEC is widely recognized as a dysfunctional agency that consistently refuses to enforce federal campaign finance laws enacted to prevent the corruption of federal officeholders and government decisions. Five of the six current commissioners are serving 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.

Added Sloan: "The FEC's problems were aptly described nearly a decade ago by the then-general counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee. He called the FEC 'the fox guarding the hen-house' and added: 'You're gonna appoint your guys to make sure you are taken care of.' "Today, that former general counsel, Don McGahn has another job," Sloan continued. "He has a seat on the FEC. Mr. McGahn's term expired in April 2009, but - inexcusably - there he sits openly using his position to protect Republican candidates."

CREW views the problem as so serious that it has an entire website devoted to the need to fix the FEC. Appointing new commissioners is a crucial first step.

"A functioning FEC that enforces our campaign laws fairly and vigorously is worth fighting for. President Obama should be leading that fight," Sloan said.

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.