With the Senate Rules Committee expected to soon vote on the nominations of three lawyers who have been nominated to fill vacancies on the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee issued the following statement:
“It is a travesty that the FEC has lacked the quorum necessary to conduct official business for the majority of the 2020 election cycle, during which a record $14 billion flowed into our elections. But in order for the FEC to be the campaign finance watchdog the American people deserve, the agency must have commissioners who are dedicated to enforcing the anti-corruption laws that already exist.
“Anyone who believes transparency is important and that large sums of money injected into our elections can result in corruption and the appearance of corruption is right to be concerned about the nominations of Allen Dickerson and Sean Cooksey.
“Allen Dickerson spent the past decade working as an advocate for less transparency in our elections. As the legal director at the Institute for Free Speech, Mr. Dickerson questioned the value of numerous commonsense proposals that would bring more transparency to online political ads, shine more light on the secretive donors funding political dark money groups, and guard against foreign interference in U.S. elections. Concerningly, he also advised the FEC against implementing stronger anti-coordination rules between candidates and outside groups like super PACs — an arena in which both conservatives and liberals continue to push the legal envelope without consequence, as Issue One has highlighted in our Coordination Watch project.
“Meanwhile, Sean Cooksey has praised as his ‘role model’ and ‘mentor’ Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who has called for the eradication of campaign contribution limits, despite their constitutionally permissible role as guards against corruption and the appearance of corruption. In fact, Sen. Cruz introduced legislation to eliminate federal campaign contribution limits while Sean Cooksey was working as his deputy chief counsel.
“Nothing said by Allen Dickerson or Sean Cooksey during their confirmation hearings assuages concerns about how they will approach their work on the FEC. Should these two be confirmed as FEC commissioners, it is paramount for them to embrace their constitutional responsibilities to uphold our nation’s anti-corruption laws. Without a commitment from each FEC commissioner to enforce the laws on the books, the agency is likely to be mired in deadlock and dysfunction, despite regaining a quorum.”