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Senate Rules and Administration Committee Approves Nominees to Federal Election Commission

Urges Full Senate to Swiftly Confirm Nominees

Washington, DCThe Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, chaired by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), today approved the nomination of three new members to the Federal Election Commission.

“This vote means the FEC is one step closer to restoring a working quorum. This vote comes not a moment too soon. It is unconscionable that in the middle of a presidential election year, with campaign committees spending millions of dollars, that we don’t have our federal election watchdog in place,” Senator Feinstein said. “Clearly, we need a fully functioning Commission to ensure the integrity of our system of raising and spending campaign funds. I’m hopeful the full Senate will confirm these nominees, along with a fourth nominee whose nomination is still before the full Senate.  I believe it would be a terrible mistake to delay the process further.”

On May 6, 2008, the President nominated the following three individuals:

  • Cynthia L. Bauerly, of Minnesota, for appointment to a term expiring April 30, 2011, for the seat held by Robert D. Lenhard;  
  • Caroline C. Hunter, of Florida, for appointment to a term expiring April 30, 2013, for the seat held by Michael E. Toner;   and
  • Donald F. McGahn, of the District of Columbia, for appointment to a term expiring April 30, 2009,  for the seat held by David M. Mason.

These three nominees will now go before the full Senate for confirmation along with Steven Walther, who was previously reported to the floor.

Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, the Federal Election Commission needs four affirmative votes to take action— to pursue litigation, audits, regulatory changes, or administrative changes to the agency. However, since the end of December, the FEC has had only two commissioners – well short of the quorum needed to conduct its business.

On June 13, 2007, the Rules Committee held a confirmation hearing to consider four FEC nominations – Robert D. Lenhard, Hans von Spakovsky,  David M. Mason and Walther.

 The four nominees were reported out of Committee en bloc without recommendation. The Senate did not take further action on these nominations. Mr. Lenhard and Mr. von Spakovsky have withdrawn their nominations while the White House withdrew the Mason nomination.