Commission Holds Comprehensive Public Hearing on Procedures
WASHINGTON – The Federal Election Commission held a public hearing on Wednesday-Thursday, Jan. 14-15, 2009, to solicit comments on how to increase the transparency, fairness and efficiency of its regulations and procedures. “With the passage of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA), the passage of the Honest Leadership and Openness in Government Act (HLOGA), the advent of new uses of the Internet and new ways of funding campaigns, and the welcome explosion in the number of contributors, we must constantly look at new ways to ensure our mission is being fulfilled,” FEC Chairman Steven Walther said.
The Commission received much constructive feedback, including 25 written comments submitted in response to the questions contained in the Notice of Hearing, which invited comment on the broadest scope of Commission activities since its inception over 30 years ago. Fifteen witnesses addressed a wide variety of FEC practices and procedures at the hearing, and in some instances suggested pilot testing of proposed changes. Commenters recommended ways to improve communication between respondents and the Commission, develop a closer working relationship with the Department of Justice, and make the system of setting penalties more transparent to respondents and the public.
The Commission is using these wide-ranging and thoughtful comments to chart a plan of affirmative steps to improve its operations, and it has announced that the public comment period has been extended until to Feb. 18, 2009. A full transcript and podcast of the hearing will be made available on the Commission’s web site by Jan. 30.
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is an independent regulatory agency that administers and enforces federal campaign finance laws. The FEC has jurisdiction over the financing of campaigns for the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate, the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Established in 1975, the FEC is composed of six Commissioners who are nominated by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.