Voters are not clamoring for reform, either: The issue ranked 21st out of 22 issues in a January Pew Research Center poll when respondents were asked to name their top priorities for Obama and Congress, edging out global warming. Just 24 percent of respondents in a Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll last year thought more outside spending was having a negative impact on the election.
At the FEC, most commissioners are appointed by the Senate to six-year terms but are allowed to continue serving past that time until a replacement is found. Obama has put forward only one FEC nominee, labor lawyer John J. Sullivan, whose name was withdrawn after he came under fire for positions he took while representing unions.
Regardless of the appointment issues, the FEC has been racked by partisan dysfunction for years, frequently deadlocking 3 to 3 on major rulings.
The vacancy issue came up at last Thursday’s regular FEC meeting, which featured nearly two dozen schoolchildren in the audience for Take Our Children to Work Day. The scene prompted FEC Chairman Ellen Weintraub — whose term officially expired in 2009 — to pose a question.
“Anyone want to be commissioner?” she asked. A few kids raised their hands. “Write the president and tell him you want to be a commissioner, because we need somebody.”
Bernie could get elected tomorrow and nothing much about campaign finance reform would get done. It has to be enacted by Congress. Obama would sign a comprehensive campaign reform law tommorrow if one got passed today.