Brennan Center Letter Opposing the Nomination of Bradley Smith to FEC

The Brennan Center urges the Senate to reject Bradley Smith as FEC nominee

March 3, 2000


March 3, 2000

Dear Senator,

On Wednesday, March 8, the Senate Rules Committee will conduct hearings regarding the nomination of Professor Bradley A. Smith to serve as a Commissioner to the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

As the Brennan Center for Justice said when this nomination was originally offered by the Republicans in 1999, Brad Smith is a wholly inappropriate choice to serve as a Commissioner to the FEC.

The enclosed memo, prepared by the Brennan Center, outlines the facts about Smith and his self-described “radical” position on campaign finance laws and their enforcement.

In a Wall Street Journal op-ed Smith neatly summed up his feelings about the nation’s federal campaign laws: “The most sensible reform is a simple one: repeal of the Federal Election Campaign Act.”

An FEC Commissioner is called upon to uphold, administer, and enforce the nation’s campaign finance laws and regulations. Smith, however, has consistently voiced his strong disagreement with the mission of the FEC and the election laws that he would be called upon to enforce as a Commissioner. Indeed, Smith does not disagree with only a few aspects of current campaign finance law; rather he believes that the entire federal campaign finance scheme is fundamentally flawed and unworkable.

As The New York Times wrote in a July 13, 1999 editorial: “Mr. Smith’s writings make plain that his agenda as a commission member would be a further dismantling of reasonable campaign limits intended to curb the corrupting influence of big money rather than serious enforcement of current campaign finance laws.”

While FEC Commissioners must administer and enforce the nation’s campaign finance laws, Smith has a long, documented history of vigorously opposing them. A decision to appoint Smith as an FEC Commissioner would be tantamount to voting to repeal the Federal Election Campaign Act.

In short, Smith would be a disastrous FEC Commissioner. The Brennan Center for Justice strongly urges you to reject the nomination of Bradley A. Smith to the Federal Election Commission.


E. Joshua Rosenkranz
Brennan Center for Justice At NYU School of Law