August 10, 2009

Sens. McCain and Feingold Suggest Alternative to FEC

Via the Center for Competitive Politics, which hates the idea, comes news that Senators McCain and Feingold have proposed scrapping the FEC for a new 3-member body, with a 10-year chair and two other members with staggered six-year terms, with no more than any one member from any political party. As I read the key provision (section 352(a)), at least one member (not necessarily the chair) would have to be either registered as an independent or as a third party member for the five years before serving on the commission. In addition, all three members would have to have a background in "law enforcement," as defined in section 352(b)(3)(A)(ii), and could not have served on the FEC.

I'll have to think more about this proposal, but my first reaction is not to like these selection mechanisms. For the chair, I'd prefer something like a system whereby the President nominates and the Senate confirms two members from different parties (presumably one Democrat and one Republican), and those two choose a proposed third member to be chair (that person could have any or no party affiliation). That chair would then be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. I also don't like the idea of limiting the members of the Commission to having "law enforcement" experience. That is certainly valuable, but it does not seem like an indispensable job qualification. I guess the Senators were thinking that such a person would be a strict enforcer of the law, but there seem other, more precise ways to achieve that goal.

UPDATE: More from BNA($).

Posted by Rick Hasen at August 10, 2009 11:43 AM