Gonzalez Calls for Increased Action on Campaign Finance and Electoral Protection from FEC and House Republicans
May 23, 2012 (San Antonio) Today, under pressure from House Republicans, a collection of internal documents from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) was released that explain how the Commission is supposed to determine whether to prosecute a campaign or individual for violating our campaign finance laws and regulations. Representative Charles A. Gonzalez (TX-20), Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Elections, released the following statement:
“With today’s disclosure, House Republicans have made it a little easier for campaign operatives to decide whether violating campaign finance laws is worth the fines they might have to pay. Of course, an enforcement manual is only of use if the Commission chooses to enforce these rules. In recent years, we have seen partisan, 3-3 votes prevent FEC from doing that, or from passing updated regulations so necessary in the wake of Citizens United. Watchdog groups have called it a “broken” agency. Perhaps, now that these documents are public, the three commissioners will be willing to vote to enforce the rules.
“My greatest hope is that the Majority will finally turn to the vital issues that are actually confronting American voters. Despite repeated requests, they have declined to hold a single hearing on campaign finance. I, tired of waiting, convened a forum to address the subject last month, but I said then and repeat today that we need a formal hearing, a bi-partisan examination of the impact of Citizens United, the need for disclosure, and what Super PACs and unlimited corporate spending are doing to our elections.
“It is also my hope that we can finally hold a hearing about voting rights. The right to vote is under siege today, with access to the ballot being curtailed in states across the country. Millions of Americans have been purged from the voter registration rolls without cause, threatening their right to participate in the next election. I was fortunate to be invited to testify at one the several hearings convened in the Senate, but the House Majority has not held a single hearing on the subject. Maybe we can finally have a hearing on the efforts to restrict early voting and how they’re making voting harder for the disabled and Americans abroad, including those fighting overseas. Maybe we will hold a hearing on the Voter Empowerment Act, a bill introduced by Representative John Lewis of Georgia, a hero of the Civil Rights movement, that contains non-partisan provisions to ensure that the disabled, young, and old can vote, and that no one can deprive an American citizen of his or her right to vote.”