FEC hamstrung


Enforcement of election regulations is coming to a standstill, according to watchdogs. A report from BNA notes that in “a sharp break with past,” three Republican commissioners are reversing or stalling FEC action on 527 groups, donor identification and even punishment for campaign aides who have embezzled political funds. BNA says that matters are being closed without public notice, another break from recent past procedure.

RBR/TVBR observation: The FEC is a problematic agency. Since its area of oversight, elections, is highly-partisan by its very nature, it requires a special effort from both Republicans and Democrats to enforce the spirit of the rules, and to put fair-minded individuals on the Commission. It is not surprising that it breaks down from time to time.

The big problem, however, is that because of the highly partisan nature of the agency, it maintains a balanced panel of commissioners – so it is easy for political issues to become mired in a 3-3 tie. And that is a window into the immediate future of the FCC. Deborah Taylor Tate is gone, and the political balance is 2-2. So it will likely be awhile before the FCC is able to move on anything that is both controversial and prone to party-line voting.