Gizmodo: Experts Say an FCC Official Broke the Law to Help Trump. Trump Alone Will Decide If He's Punished.


The moment Michael O’Rielly took the stage at CPAC and told people who they should vote for, ethics watchdogs say he broke a federal law. But in an administration that has regularly thumbed its nose at ethics rules, it’s hard to imagine anyone will care.

There’s little question as to what hat O’Rielly was wearing when he addressed the crowd last Friday. On the schedule for this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), he was listed as “Commissioner Mike O’Rielly, Federal Communications Commission.” The panel he was there to sit on was called “How the FCC is Paving the Way for Innovation.” And when he stepped on stage, he and two other FCC officials were introduced as the “Republican commissioners.”


“It’s unequivocal that [O’Rielly] was appearing in his official capacity here,” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal and FEC reform at Campaign Legal Center. “He was introduced with his official title. He was referred to several times as ‘commissioner.’ He talked about FCC business. The context here was clear.”


“He should know,” added Fischer, “as a high-ranking government official, that when you’re appearing in your official governmental capacity, you cannot endorse candidates and tell people how to vote.”

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