CNN contributor: Federal watchdogs for Super PACs are toothless

By Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, September 19, 2012 22:20 EDT
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CNN contributor John Avlon said Wednesday that the Federal Elections Commission, which oversees election spending in the United States, had essentially become useless thanks to partisan politics.

“There is this gold rush going on in the Super PAC economy but it really is like the wild west, people are pushing boundaries, getting away with anything they can get away with because the laws are unclear and the regulators who are supposed to be laying down the letter of the law, they are toothless watchdogs,” he said. “They are not doing their jobs and it is adding to the chaos of the Super PAC economy right now.”

Avlon explained that the FEC was comprised of three Republican commissioners and three Democratic commissioners, who have been unwilling to compromise.

Republican commissioners who don’t want to enforce campaign finance law have rendered the agency useless, according to the advocacy group Public Citizen. From 2003 to 2007, there were a total of 39 split votes on enforcement actions. But from 2008 to 2010, the number of split votes jumped up to 70, even though the total number of votes was drastically less. The deadlocked votes led to dismissed complaints.

Historically, the agency deadlocked on fewer than 2 percent of its enforcement actions.

The FEC is also pursuing far fewer audits of the financial activity of candidates and committees than it had done so previously. The number of audits dropped from 242 between 2004 to 2007 to just 84 between 2008 to 2010.

Watch video, courtesy of CNN, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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