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Thursday, April 4, 2019

FEC Troubles

Dave Levinthal at the Center for Public Integrity reports on the Federal Election Commission.  An internal turf war has led to a vacancy in its office of inspector general.
The May 2018 fracas, described in interviews and a series of internal emails obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, is but one of several stumbles that have helped render the FEC’s inspector general office effectively nonfunctional since November, when the lone deputy inspector general quit.

This matters because the inspector general office investigates waste, fraud and abuse at the FEC, including accusations against commissioners. The bipartisan FEC is itself responsible for enforcing and regulating national campaign finance laws but has long been hamstrung by ideological divisions, low staff morale and other long-standing vacancies, including two of six FEC commissioner slots.

So the lack of an inspector general means no one is watching the election watchdog — at a time when few feel the FEC is functioning effectively, even as its missions are evermore important. The FEC’s struggles are set against the backdrop of an accelerating chase for presidential campaign cash and prominent political money scandals — alleged porn actress hush-money payments and foreign infiltration among them.

Scammers are also increasingly preying on vulnerable Americans who are misled into believing they are supporting a candidate or cause — an issue the FEC has struggled to address.