The nation’s federal campaign and election regulator could soon have a new address — and it wouldn’t necessarily be in Washington, D.C.
Federal Election Commission officials confirmed to the Center for Public Integrity that a move appears increasingly likely since a real estate investment group controlled by Jordache Enterprises — best known for its designer jeans — purchased the agency’s headquarters building last year.
The FEC’s lease expires in September 2017; the stately, nine-story structure the commission occupies sits atop prime real estate at 999 E St. Northwest near Washington, D.C.’s burgeoning Gallery Place-Chinatown district.
Short-term, moving to a new building could create yet more inconvenience and tumult for the agency, which is already struggling with internal ideological battles and low employee morale. Long-term, however, a new facility could upgrade employees’ office environment and save taxpayers money.
“My gut tells me that the FEC, they’re going to go, but I can’t tell you exactly whether they’re going to stay or going to go,” said Jonathan Bennett of Jordache Enterprises’ Nakash Holdings.
FEC commissioners aren’t sure, either.
“It’s up in the air. There are still several shoes left to drop,” said FEC Chairman Matthew Petersen, a Republican.
Democratic Commissioner Ann Ravel, whose tenure as agency chairperson ended last week, said it’s “less likely” that the FEC will stay put and “more likely” it’ll move to a yet-to-be-determined location.
This much is certain: the FEC’s current headquarters is one pricey piece of property.
Jordache Enterprises, which owns several dozen hotel, resort, residential and office properties, purchased the FEC’s headquarters building for $83.5 million, according to District of Columbia property records.
In 2015, the District’s Office of Tax and Revenue valued 999 E St. NW at $77,100,800.
“The building — we love it. We love the location, the proximity to the Smithsonian, it’s all great,” Bennett said.