Overhead view of oil spill in waterway

Damage doesn’t dim CEO pay

Despite spills and air pollution, fossil fuel companies award CEOs for environmental records. For example, Marathon Petroleum’s former CEO got a $272,000 bonus for surpassing environmental goals the same year the company spilled 1,400 barrels of fuel in an Indiana creek.

Loopholes keep voters in the dark in Japan

Japan will hold a general election this fall in the midst of persistent controversy over politics and money.  But, as in past elections, it’s unlikely to be resolved as the government and politicians in question, including former ministers, are reluctant to talk about issues such as opaque money that may have influenced policy making.

men sitting at a table

FEC takes shape under Hays’ watchful eyes

If you were a Congressman in the early 1970s, you were probably scared of the late Rep. Wayne Hays (D-Ohio). You definitely hated him. His dominance in Congress has had lasting effects on how elections are monitored today.

FEC stuck on the sidelines

Two major court rulings in 2010 fundamentally changed the landscape of campaign finance law in the United States. The floodgates were opened to unprecedented levels of campaign donations, much of it untraceable.

figures in tug of war

FEC debates deadlocks and dismissals

Since its founding in 1974, the Federal Election Commission has long been regarded as an ineffective agency, garnering criticism as a “toothless tiger” or a “tightly leashed watchdog.”

FEC office building exterior

What is the FEC?

Following the Watergate scandal, Congress introduced the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in an amendment to existing campaign finance regulations. An independent agency that would enforce campaign finance law, the FEC officially opened for business in April 1975.

businesswoman sitting on hourglass

Commissioners linger in ‘holdover’ status

In 1997, the Treasury and Government Appropriations Act mandated that FEC commissioners may serve a single six-year term, with no opportunity for reappointment. When a commissioner’s term expires, they may choose to continue serving in holdover status until they are replaced. Currently, three out of the six commissioners are in holdover status.