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Congressional Pressure on FEC Criticized

Congressional pressure on the Federal Election Commission by members of Congress, whose campaigns are regulated by the FEC, has been criticized by various groups today.

Ten advocacy organizations urged the chairman of the FEC not to yield to pressure from the chairman of the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over legislation regarding elections. Chairman Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., chairwoman of the committee, has urged the FEC to promptly adopt an agency enforcement manual that reduces the interaction between the FEC and the Department of Justice, as well as other government agencies.

View the letter from the 10 organizations and our earlier posting on the issue.

Congressional pressure is not new at the FEC. Just two years after the FEC was established in 1975, Frank Thompson, D-N.J., then chairman of the House Administration Committee, brought pressure on the FEC to abandon random audits of congressional campaigns. In early 1978, Thompson amended a budget authorization for the FEC, forbidding use of the money to audit randomly selected reports filed by House and Senate candidates. The FEC dropped their random audit program.