Federal Election Reform | Hearings

November 18, 2008

Recent Hearings on Election Issues in the 112th and 113th Congresses

The following is a list of Congressional hearings on election issues in the 112th and 113th Congresses. The hearings are listed in reverse chronological order. Where available, links to hearing announcements, video or audio of a hearing, and witness testimony are provided.

Click here to access information on the Congressional Response to the Wave of Voting Restrictions.

Click here to access information, including testimony, from hearings held during the 110th and 111th Congresses.


House Hearing on H.R. 2115, The Voter Registration Efficiency Act

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Committee on House Administration held a hearing on the Voter Registration Efficiency Act, sponsored by Candice Miller, at the Longworth House Office Building.


  • The Honorable Ken Bennett, Secretary of State, Arizona        Testimony
  • Ms. Elisabeth MacNamara, President, LWVUS                     Testimony
  • Mr. Chris Thomas, State Elections Director, Michigan           Testimony

Senate Briefing on the Democracy Restoration Act

Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 10:00am

Senator Cardin, the Senate sponsor of the Democracy Restoration Act, gave opening remarks at a briefing on the bill at the Capitol Visitor Center. Nicole Austin-Hillery, the director of the Brennan Center's Washington, DC office, moderated a panel that included:

Desmond Meade, President, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition

Deborah J. Vagins, Senior Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office

Dave Louden, Assistant to the President, Justice Fellowship (Prison Fellowship Ministries)

Carl Wicklund, Executive Director, American Probation & Parole Association

Pictures from the event can be found here.

Congressional Forum on “The Most Expensive Seat in the House: The State of Our Campaign Finance System”

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012, 2:00pm

From the Committee on House Administration Democrats: The past two years have seen a sea change in our nation’s campaign finance laws. The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in SpeechNow.org v. FEC have ushered in a new era in funding campaign advertisements. The result has been the creation of Super PACs, ostensibly independent operations that have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on political advertising, helping to sway important congressional elections.

But who is paying for these advertisements? A loosening of the laws and regulations, combined with the use of 501(c)(4) corporations that require no disclosure of contributors, has allowed a great deal of this spending to be hidden. Powerful individuals have created shell corporations to fund these Super PACs and disguise the source of monies.

The Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Elections convened a congressional forum to shed some light on this new world of campaign finance, to expose how we got here, what it means for the future, and to look further into what Congress can and should do about it.


Dr. Norman Ornstein, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute

Mr. Paul S. Ryan, FEC Program Director, Campaign Legal Center

Ms. Zephyr Teachout, Associate Professor, Fordham University School of Law

Ms. Monica Youn, Brennan Center Constitutional Fellow, NYU School of Law - Read Monica's testimony here.

Hearing on the “Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act of 2012” (DISCLOSE Act of 2012)

Thursday, March 29, 2012, 10:00am

Senate Committee on Rules and Administration


  • Mr. Fred Wertheimer, Founder and President, Democracy 21
  • Mr. David Keating, President, Center for Competitive Politics 
  • Prof. Richard L. Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, UC-Irvine School of Law

Congressional Black Caucus Briefing on Voting Rights

Friday, February 17th, 2012, 1:30pm in Cannon House Office Building room 345

Testimony from the Brennan Center's Washington Office Director, Nicole Austin-Hillery, along with representatives from the Advancement Project, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the ACLU, Black Youth Vote, and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. For more information, click here.

House vote on a bill to abolish the Election Assistance Commission and public financing for presidential campaigns

December 1, 2011 | House floor vote

The House of Representatives voted, virtually along party lines, to pass HR 3463, a bill introduced by Rep. Harper (R-MS) to dismantle the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and end public financing for presidential campaigns. Mr. Harper had previously introduced HR. 672, which would have abolished only the EAC. Read the Hill's coverage of the vote here, and coverage of a letter sent by the Brennan Center and other groups in support of public presidential financing here. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has stated that the bill has no chance of passage in the Senate.

    Hearing on "New State Laws: Barriers to the Ballot"

    September 8, 2011 | 2:00 p.m. | 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building
    Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights


    • The Honorable Emanuel Cleaver, Chairman, Congressional Black Caucus, United States Congressman State of Missouri
    • The Honorable Charles Gonzalez, Chairman, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, United States Congressman State of Texas
    • The Honorable Todd Rokita, United States Congressman State of Indiana
    • Judith A. Browne-Dianis, Co-director, Advancement Project
    • Justin Levitt, Professor, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
    • Hans A. Von Spakovsky, Senior Legal Fellow, Heritage Foundation

    Bill Mark-Up on HR 672, a bill to terminate the Election Assistance Commission

    May 25, 2011 | 10:30 a.m | 1310 Longworth House Office Building

    House Administration Committee

    The House Administration Committee met to mark up HR 672, which would abolish the Election Assistance Commission established by HAVA (the Help America Vote Act). The Committee passed the bill along party lines.

    Hearing on: "The Fair Elections Now Act: A Comprehensive Response to Citizens United"

    April 12th, 2011 | 10:00 a.m. | 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building

    Senate Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights


    • The Honorable Alan Simpson, Former United States Senator, Cody, WY 
    • Monica Youn, Senior Counsel, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, New York, NY 
    • Cleta Mitchell, Partner, Foley & Lardner, Washington, DC

      Hearing on: "The 2010 Election: A Look Back At What Went Right and Wrong"
      March 31, 2011 | 10:30 a.m. | 
      1310 Longworth Building
      U.S. House Committee on House Administration


      • The Honorable Scott Gessler, Colorado Secretary of State
      • The Honorable Mark Ritchie, Minnesota Secretary of State
      • Ms. Susan Gill, Supervisor of Elections, Citrus County, Florida 
      • Mr. Ken Carbullido, Senior Vice-President of Voting Systems, Election Systems and Software, Inc.
      • Mr. Lawrence Norden, Deputy Director, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law

      Hearing on: Election Assistance Commission Operations and 2012 Budget Request
      March 17, 2011 | 1310 Longworth Building
      U.S. House Committee on House Administration


      • The Honorable Donetta Davidson, Commissioner, U.S. Election Assistance Commission 
      • The Honorable Gineen Bresso, Commissioner, U.S. Election Assistance Commission 
      • Mr. Thomas Wilkey, Executive Director, U.S. Election Assistance Commission 
      • Ms. Alice Miller, Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Election Assistance Commission 
      • Ms. Annette Lafferty, Chief Financial Officer, U.S. Election Assistance Commission

      Hearing on: Effectiveness of the MOVE Act in the 2010 Election
      February 15, 2011 | 1310 Longworth Building
      U.S. House Committee on House Administration


      Panel 1: 

      • The Honorable Thomas E. Perez Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Justice

      Panel 2: 

      • The Honorable Natalie E. Tennant, Secretary of State, West Virginia  
      • Mr. J. Bradley King, Co-Director, Election Division, Indiana Secretary of State
      • Mr. David Stafford, Supervisor of Elections, Escambia County, Florida    
      • Mr. Rick Jones, Co-Chair, Alliance for Military and Overseas Voting Rights 
      • Mr. Eric Eversole,  Executive Director, Military Voter Protection Project