Scranton Times-Tribune: FEC overhaul proposal flawed (In the News)

Scranton Times-Tribune: FEC overhaul proposal flawed 

By Brad Smith

Today, the FEC is under attack from members of Congress with a misguided proposal to “reform” the agency. A bill co-sponsored by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-11, Hazleton) would shrink the agency from six commissioners to five. It may sound minor, but it has huge implications.

Republicans and Democrats now have equal influence over the commission. With six commissioners, at least one vote from each side is needed to write new rules or open investigations. In a proposed five-commissioner agency, one party would consistently trump the other.

The proposal would give the president the power to choose the pivotal fifth vote. In theory, no more than two commissioners could be from the same party, so no party would have a majority. But that would be illusory – for example, a Democratic president could appoint socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders; Trump could appoint a registered independent, such as his daughter Ivanka. The president could also name a commissioner to a 10-year term as chairman, meaning that the disadvantaged party would spend a decade on the losing end, even if it managed to win the presidency in between. The result, could be a partisan agency not trusted by roughly half of Americans.