The overwhelming majority of 2020 general election voters would like to see the Federal Election Commission (FEC) take a more active role in enforcing existing campaign finance laws on the books as corruption was rated the most serious problem facing the country, a poll released Monday found.
The poll of 855 likely 2020 presidential voters, commissioned by the Campaign Legal Center, a bipartisan watchdog organization, found that 54% of respondents viewed corruption in politics as the most pressing issue facing the country, outranking rising healthcare costs, climate change, illegal immigration and wage stagnation.
Other major concerns for voters include unlimited dark money donation to political campaigns and the political influence corporations and special interests have on the political system, the poll found.
The belief that the FEC needs to take a more active role in enforcing campaign finance laws was shared across party lines. Some 66% of Republicans and 77% of Democrats said the commission should be doing more aggressive in carrying out its mandate.
“Voters have a right to know which wealthy special interests are spending big money to secretly influence our vote and our government,” Campaign Legal Center president Trevor Potter said in a statement. “Real transparency about who is spending big money on elections will mean more government accountability, less influence for wealthy special interests and less political corruption.”
The FEC has only had three active commissioners on its six-member board following Republican Matthew Petersen’s departure at the end of August, leaving the commission hamstrung as it is unable to meet its four-member quorum to take any official actions. (RELATED: FEC Hamstrung As Third Commissioner Announces Resignation)
“For the last two months, the FEC has been unable to launch any new investigations, issue any advisory opinions, promulgate any rules, or render any decisions on pending enforcement actions,” FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, said in a Nov. 1 statement. “With only three commissioners presently serving, the agency charged with administering and enforcing the federal campaign-finance laws that will govern the 2020 election is hamstrung as we approach that election.”
Only @POTUS and the Senate can fix this!
— Ellen L Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) November 1, 2019
The FEC has 303 matters on its enforcement docket, 90 of which are awaiting an official vote from the commissioners on whether or not to proceed with an official investigation, Weintraub said.
“We cannot launch new investigation sin any of them, even if the three remaining commissioners agreed to do so,” Weintraub said.
While there are three empty seats on the FEC, President Donald Trump has only nominated one FEC commissioner so far in his tenure — Texas attorney Trey Trainor, whose nomination has sat in the senate for two years without a confirmation hearing, the Center for Public Integrity reported.
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