Fill the Federal Election Commission vacancy with a Libertarian

For immediate release
February 28, 2017

The unexpected resignation of Ann Ravel from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) offers an ideal opportunity for President Trump to “drain the swamp” by appointing a Libertarian commissioner. And because he is considering filling the entire commission with new blood, he could appoint a Libertarian to any of its six seats.

The law requires that no more than three members of the commission come from the same political party. Presidents typically appoint members who are either Democratic or Republican, or closely aligned with one of those two old parties.

But the country consists of much more than just Republicans and Democrats. There are many millions of independent voters, and November’s election saw 4.5 million voters casting their ballots for Libertarian candidate Gov. Gary Johnson. These voters also deserve representation on the FEC.

The Libertarian Party is the nation’s third-largest political party. Through its strength and popular support, it was able to overcome significant hurdles and place its presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  It would be entirely reasonable and consistent with the law for President Trump to appoint a Libertarian.

Speculation has already begun as to which Libertarians could make President Trump’s short list of prospective replacements. One obvious possibility is Richard Winger, the long-time publisher and editor of Ballot Access News, and nationally recognized expert on independent and alternative-party election issues.  Winger would certainly bring a fresh and much-needed perspective to the FEC.

A more diverse FEC would likely curb the self-serving behavior of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), which was brought to light this month when a U.S. district court judge ordered the FEC to adequately respond to a complaint that presented mounds of evidence of CPD’s bias in setting criteria for inclusion in presidential debates.

Polls consistently show that a majority of Americans want alternative candidates included in the debates. Yet the FEC has allowed the CPD to exclude them in violation of the FEC’s own regulations.

Adding a Libertarian to the FEC would begin the process of giving American voters real choice at the polls, so that they—rather than political insiders—will control the federal government’s agenda.