Legislation & policy analysis

Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Julia Brownley (D-CA) sponsor bill to overhaul the Federal Election Commission (FEC)

Today, Nebraska Republican Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and California Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley joined in sponsoring bipartisan, bicameral legislation to overhaul the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Issue One Chief of Policy, Programs and Strategy Meredith McGehee released the following statement:

“Both Republicans and Democrats continue to express concern on Capitol Hill about whether the FEC — the nation’s election watchdog — is enforcing the laws on the books and ensuring everyone plays by the same rules in our elections,” said McGehee. “We applaud Representatives Fortenberry and Brownley for prioritizing the rule of law in America’s elections over partisan, party politics.

There is mounting evidence that foreign governments are seeking to interfere in U.S. elections, using political ads spread through wide-reaching social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others.

If we had a functional FEC, it would have stepped up to the plate to protect American democracy from foreign influence long before now. But the reality is the FEC is feckless and gridlocked. And the American people are the ones who are most affected; they are in the dark about who is trying to influence the country’s campaigns and elections. Reform of the FEC is long overdue. This bipartisan bill should spark a robust, bipartisan conversation about safeguarding democracy.”

The Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act (H.R. 2034) list of current sponsors includes:



Rep. Jim Renacci (OH)

Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA)

Rep. Mark Amodei (NV)

Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY)

Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN)

Rep. Scott Peters (CA)

Rep. Walter Jones (NC)

Rep. Jared Polis (CO)

Rep. Lou Barletta (PA)

Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL)

Rep. Ken Buck (CO)

Rep. John Sarbanes (MD)

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (NE)

Rep. Julia Brownley (CA)

The Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act (H.R. 2034) would model the structure of the FEC to be the same as almost every single independent agency in Washington. It would reduce the number of commissioners from six to five, likely ending the near-permanent stalemate that confronts the agency now. It would also term-limit commissioners and permit no more than two commissioners to be members of the same political party, while allowing the president to appoint the chair of the agency to a 10-year term, subject to confirmation by the Senate. This aims to avoid House and Senate leaders from simply appointing party loyalists. By establishing a Blue Ribbon Advisory panel of unbiased experts to recommend individuals for nomination to the president, its intention is to end the practice of commissioners serving until a replacement is confirmed by the Senate. The chair would also absorb more administrative tasks, allowing commissioners to focus less on staff-related issues and more on questions of campaign finance law.