Tuesday, August 27, 2019

FEC renamed Federal Election Corruption

Nah, no one did that. But some one should. America, you see, has accepted institutionalized corruption as a driving force in its electoral policies and practices.

Judd Legum blows the whistle on the Federal Election Commission in An election without rules (Subscribers Post at popular.info). Here are excerpts.

The 2020 presidential election is just 17 months away, and soon the United States will not have an agency capable of enforcing its election laws.

Today, Federal Election Commission (FEC) Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen announced he was stepping down, effective August 31. That will leave the FEC with just three commissioners. The FEC is supposed to have six commissioners. But, by law, it needs at least four commissioners to operate. Petersen’s resignation will leave the commission without a quorum.

That means the FEC will not be able to conduct meetings, issue fines to rule-breakers, vote on the outcome of investigations. If you are running a federal campaign, it’s open season.

Individuals can donate unlimited funds to Super PACs, which are often endorsed by the candidate, and the Super PAC and campaign can coordinate their spending without any real danger the FEC taking action. This was true before Petersen’s resignation. Now campaigns that flout the rules really have nothing to worry about.

A broken system is about to get worse. After Commissioner Petersen steps down, the FEC won’t be able to issue any fines whatsoever. This is not a theoretical problem. In June, FEC Treasurer Bradley Tate sent the Trump campaign a 236-page document listing donors who made “apparent excessive, prohibited, and impermissible contributions.” Starting in August, the Trump campaign won’t have to worry about being fined for these or future violations.

The underlying issue, however, is the weakness of election law itself – particularly after Citizen’s United. Even robust enforcement of existing law would not create a system free from corrupting influences. But the failure to enforce the modest laws that are in effect has made the situation even worse.

Just this last week I posted how AZ Republican Senator Martha McSally screws up campaign finances again. Why can’t she learn. With the functional demise of the FEC, now she will not have to.

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