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Statement of David M. Welborn

Department of Political Science University of Tennessee

Knoxville, TN



Task Force on Administration

and Clearing house Committee on House Administration U.S. House of Representatives

May 14, 1980

exercise its broade: odzinistraiive responsibilities, and avoid comprocising

its position as the center for substantive decision-making.


In conclusion, it seems

to me that altering the nature of the FEC

chairwanship is a necessary and desirable first step in increasing the

commission's administrative and policy capacities.

Presidential appointment

is the preferred means of selection. The tenure question is a trouble

Sobe one.

The Harvard recomendation is for a four year term.


balance I would prefer service as chairman at the pleasure of the


For reasons stated above, I think it highly unlikely that such

an arrangement would itself encourage political mischief or threaten to ·

compromise or skew commission implementation of the law.


appointment for a fixed term lessens accountability and makes it difficult

to correct problem situations.

Under such conditions, deficiencies in

performance, whether fron presidential, congressional or other perspective,

would be most difficult to remedy.

Given the importance of the commission

and its effects on the political system, this would be a most unfortunate


There remains specification of the chairman's authority and the limits

to be placed upon it.

A number of statutes employ similar language which

has served quite well over the years and covers the necessary points.


found in the reorganization plan for the Interstate Commerce Commission is


There is vested in the chairman

the executive and administrative functions of the Commission, including functions of the Commission with respect to (1) the appointment and supervision of personnel employed under the Commission, (2) the distribution of business among such personnel and among administrative units of the Commission, and (3) the use and expenditure of funds.

in carrying out any of his functions under the provisions o this section the Chairman shall be governed by general policies of the Commission and by such regulatory decisions, findings, and determinations as the Commission may by law be authorized to make.

The appointment by the Chairman of the heads of major administrative units under the Comuníssion shall be subject to the approval of the Commission.

Personnel employed regularly and full time in the imediate offices. of commissioners other than the Chairman shall not be affected by... (these) provisions.

Requests for regular, supplemental or deficiency appropriations for the Commission...shall require the approval of the Commission....

Such provisions establish a basic and workable framework for agency ad

ministration which centralizes authority, allows commission involvement

in critical determinations, yet is sufficiently flexible to allow for

future adaptation in the conduct of agency affairs as circunstances change. HEARINGS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON HOUSE ADMINISTRATION'S TASK FORCE


June 18, 1980

Testimony of Stephen L. Babcock, Executive Director, and Richard K. Berg, Executive Secretary, Office of the Chairman of course, it is fair to ask another question: What is wrong with the Commission

of the Administrative Conference of the United States

proceeding by way of advisory opinion rather than by rule? Obviously, one disadvantage from Congress' point of view is that the Congressional review process provided for rules

is avoided. But for critics of statutory provisions for Megislative veto" of agency rules

and the Administrative Conference has criticized such provisions, Recommendation 77-1,

Į C.F.R. S 305.77-1-avoidance of Congressional review is hardly a calamity, and, of

course, Congress is free to overturn by legislation any advisory opinion with which it


But there are disadvantages where the advisory opinion process is unduly emphasized at the expense of the rulemaking process, and my previous testimony has suggested some

of them. First, concentration on the facts of one or a few specific cases may skew the · agency's perception of the overall problem. The advisory opinion process is likely to encourage & cautious, narrow and incremental approach in which each case decides as

little as possible. Sometimes this is desirable, but usually an agency would be better

advised to deal with a problem comprehensively, in the interests both of organizing its

own thinking and of providing maximum guidance to the regulated community.

Second, the rulemaking process is more open. Comprehensive rules adopted after the full notice and comment process of 5 U.S.C. S 553 are likely to reflect a wider and more

considered range of information and comments from interested persons than can be

obtained in the notice-and-comment process provided in section 4371.

Finally, rulemaking is a means whereby the agency can seize control of its agenda.

and address those problems which it believes need resolution.

For these reasons the Commission should be encouraged to use its rulemaking

authority, and Congress should carefully evaluate those features of the statutory scheme

which appear to provide disincentives to rulemaking.

Let me close with a few words on the subject of the organization of the Commission.

vigorous in pursuing finite matters where its mandate is clear while allowing difficult policy questions to languish" (p.135).

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