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Jan Baran Discusses Deadlock at the FEC on The Diane Rehm Show

The Diane Rehm Show
May 6, 2015

Jan Witold Baran, co-chair of Wiley Rein’s Election Law & Government Ethics Practice, was a featured guest yesterday on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show, discussing the recent comments of Federal Election Commission (FEC) chair Ann Ravel who called the commission “worse than dysfunctional.”

Mr. Baran said that the divide at the agency was, in part, due to an even split in the number of commissioners of a political affiliation. The agency was specifically designed to have no more than three members from one party to prevent partisan or political abuse, he added.

“They are having trouble providing guidance because they cannot agree what the law is,” Mr. Baran said on the program. “The FEC years ago had a rulemaking to define a political committee. The rulemaking collapsed and they decided, ‘We can’t agree what a political committee is so we’ll make a decision on an ad hoc basis.’ That means in order to make a decision on what the legal definition of a political committee is, you have to pick out some guinea pigs in an enforcement action and investigate them and try and come up with a standard, which they have failed to do.”

To listen to a recording of the program, click here.