CCP Asks FEC to Reconsider Enforcement Regime

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The Center for Competitive Politics submitted comments [today,Friday] to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in response to Notice 2013-01, Request for Comment on Enforcement Process. In the letter detailing the comments, CCP Legal Director Allen Dickerson outlines several steps CCP believes the Commission should take in carrying out its duty to enforce the nation’s campaign finance laws.

“CCP believes that additional changes in procedure which would permit more engagement between the Commission and the Office of General Counsel— and between the Commission and respondents—are advisable,” writes Dickerson. “In all enforcement matters, indeed, in all matters before the Commission, the FEC ought to always bear in mind this observation from the 1982 ABA report on enforcement:

‘The Federal Election Commission is unique in many ways, but particularly in tworespects. First, it is unique by virtue of the conduct that it regulates—political speech…The Commission is also singular in its enforcement procedures, which reflect anamalgam of investigative, prosecutorial, and de facto adjudicative phases and functions. In addition to conducting investigations, the Commission has the sole discretionary power to determine whether or not a civil violation has occurred or is about to occur, and consequently whether or not informal or judicial remedies will be pursued.’

These comments come on the heels of a well-publicized effort of late to allow other regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the authority to enforce laws related to campaign finance. Dickerson’s comments address the uniqueness of the FEC as the agency qualified to handle such enforcement, and warn of the danger of moving that enforcement to other, less qualified agencies.

A copy of the comments can be found here. For more information or to interview Allen, please contact CCP Communications Director Sarah Lee at 770.598.7961.

The Center for Competitive Politics promotes and defends the First Amendment’s protection of the political rights of speech, assembly, and petition. It is the nation’s largest organization dedicated solely to protecting First Amendment political rights.

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