The Federal Election Commission (FEC) and Election Assistance Commission (EAC) both must move expeditiously to hire permanent Inspectors General (IG), according to letters CREW sent to both agencies. The FEC and EAC must have permanent IGs in order to ensure the integrity of these agencies which both have crucial roles to play in this year’s elections.

The last time the FEC had an Inspector General vacancy, the agency struggled to fill the role for more than two years and after the lone deputy IG resigned, the agency was unable to conduct formal investigations and audits for more than six months until an IG was finally appointed. A vacancy lasting that long this time around would be disastrous for an agency that is facing questions about its inaction and refusal to enforce federal campaign finance law and lack of transparency in its recusal process. The Office of Inspector General is critical to addressing these concerns, and it recently cited a commissioner for his failure to cooperate with an OIG investigation.

The EAC is similarly facing challenges, including its most recent executive director’s firing after another department’s IG found that he had obtained a substantial pay increase without the Commissioners’ approval, as well as budget cuts and difficulty retaining staff. Escalating attacks on election workers, voting rights and our democratic institutions reinforce the need for EAC to fulfill its mission of “improving the electoral process to ensure that all eligible citizens have the right to vote and have their votes counted accurately.” The stability and crucial oversight provided by a permanent IG would help ensure the EAC is able to carry out that crucial mission.

As Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has noted, permanent IG’s are critical because “[e]ven the best acting Inspector General lacks the standing to make lasting changes needed to improve his or her office.” Both the FEC and EAC should act with the care and urgency needed to hire permanent IGs without delay. 

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