Campaign Finance Reform: A Sourcebook

By Anthony Corrado; Thomas E. Mann et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 8
THE FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION

Implementing and enforcing Federal Campaign Finance Law

INTRODUCTION BY THOMAS E. MANN

The absence of effective enforcement machinery has plagued campaign finance law from the outset. Compliance with the Federal Corrupt Practices Act of 1925 (document 2.4) was notoriously weak, at least in part because no public agency was given the authority, resources, and incentives to administer it. In line with this practice, the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) of 1971 (document 2.8) dispersed authority for compliance and enforcement among the Clerk of the House, the Secretary of the Senate, the General Accounting Office, and the Secretary of State for the state where campaign activities took place. As related by Brooks Jackson in Broken Promise: Why the Federal Election Commission Failed (document 8.1), after the Watergate hearings uncovered serious campaign abuses in both parties, Congress passed amendments to the FECA that for the first time created an agency, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), mandated to enforce the law. But Congress had no interest in an independent, powerful FEC. It designed the agency carefully to ensure that it would operate on a tight leash held firmly by its master. Although ostensibly modeled on traditional regulatory agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Federal Election Commission was distinct in at least one crucial respect: only two of its six voting members were to be appointed by the president, the others by leaders of the House and Senate. (The Commission also was to include two nonvoting, ex officio members, the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House.) The six voting members were to be equally divided between Democrats and Republicans, making it difficult if not impossible for the Commission to move against a campaign in a way that would be seen as injurious to one of the parties. The FEC was given no authority to sanction violators. For criminal prosecutions, it had to refer cases to the Justice Department; for civil penalties, its only recourse was to ask a federal court to impose penalties. Congress also gave itself veto power over FEC rules and regulations, although it lost that power when the Supreme Court declared all legislative vetoes unconstitutional in 1983 ( Immigration and Naturalization Service v. Chadha, 462 U.S. 919 [ 1983]).

The Supreme Court in its Buckley v. Valeo decision ( 424 U.S. 1 [ 1976]; document 3.1) upset these arrangements by ruling unconstitutional the role Congress played in appointing four of the six members of the FEC. The Court stated that the statute violated the Constitution's appointments clause by encroaching on the president's authority to appoint the "Officers of the United States" with the advice and consent of the Senate. (Seventeen years later the D.C. appeals court in Federal Election Commission v. NRA Political Victory Fund [ 6 F.3d 821 ( 1993)] took the additional step of declaring that the presence of the two ex officio members violated the Constitution's separation of powers. Excerpts from the decision are included in this chapter as document 8.2.) In the middle of the 1976 presi

-277-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Campaign Finance Reform: A Sourcebook
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 402

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.