The FEC: The Failure to Enforce Commission

Author(s): 
Fred Wertheimer and Don Simon
Publication Date: 
February 20, 2013

ACS is pleased to distribute “The FEC: The Failure to Enforce Commission,” an Issue Brief by Fred Wertheimer and Don Simon, President of and Counsel to Democracy 21, respectively.

In the Issue Brief, Wertheimer and Simon assert that the Federal Election Commission is “exactly the weak and ineffective agency that members of Congress, whose campaign finance activities it oversees, intended it to be.” The authors explain how the FEC is flawed by design, has only contributed to the problem of money in politics, and is in need of a complete overhaul. Among the changes they recommend to ensure that the FEC becomes an effective enforcer of our federal campaign finance laws are (1) a single administrator as head of the agency, (2) a new decision-making structure that would “include a system of impartial administrative law judges to hear enforcement cases and make initial decisions about potential violations of the law,” and (3) multi-year funding for the agency as one way to ensure it has adequate resources free from the pressures of election cycles.

Wertheimer and Simon conclude: “The current situation demands a real campaign finance enforcement agency to enforce the campaign finance laws and protect the integrity of our elections.”


“Toward a More Perfect Union: A Progressive Blueprint for the Second Term” is a series of ACS Issue Briefs offering ideas and proposals that we hope the administration will consider in its second term to advance a vision consistent with the progressive themes President Obama raised in his second Inaugural Address. The series should also be useful for those in and outside the ACS network – to help inform and spark discussion and debate on an array of pressing public policy concerns. The series covers a wide range of issue areas, including immigration reform, campaign finance, climate change, criminal justice reform, and judicial nominations. To view the series, click here.