With a record amount of money being poured into our elections, the Federal Election Commission, the agency in charge of monitoring and enforcing campaign finance and other huge election issues, must work harder than ever.
Luckily, Cynthia Bauerly, the chair of the agency, was able to spare a bit of her Thursday and spoke to a packed audience at Public Citizen. She talked about the need to disclose on campaign contributions (something Public Citizen strongly supports), how voters and consumers can weigh in on election-related matters, and the deadlocked nature of the bipartisan agency.
Robert Weissman, Public Citizen’s president, was sure to probe Bauerly on the U.S. Supreme Court’s damaging decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which gave corporations the green light to spend unlimited amount of money to influence elections. Bauerly said that she won’t discuss her personal views on the case while she holds her position, but that her role is not to advocate one way or another, but rather to abide by and enforce SCOTUS’ decision. Well, fine. Just know we’re coming back to ask you again after you leave the commission.
Similarly, Bauerly said that it is up to Congress to issue legislation on public financing and increased disclosure, as well as to decide the role of the Election Assistance Commission.