Elections Commission Chief Uses the “Nuclear Option” to Rescue the Agency From Gridlock

Mother Jones

Ellen Weintraub, a commissioner with the agency since 2002 who became chair in January, has become increasingly frustrated by the FEC’s lack of enforcement of the law, which has led to less disclosure, less transparency, and more dark money within the campaign finance system. According to former FEC Commissioner Ann Ravel, “dysfunction and deadlock” have reigned supreme at the FEC for the past decade, with the agency “failing to enforce campaign finance laws.” “Court challenges to FEC enforcement of the law are very difficult to win,” says Adav Noti, a senior director at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center and a former lawyer at the FEC. “But if the government stops defending itself, it should be more frequent that the court finds that the law has been violated, which will make it harder for super-PACs and megadonors and the like to evade campaign finance law. So there’s significant potential for greater campaign finance disclosure, more transparency, and less dark money.”

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