Mother Jones: The Nation's Election Watchdog Just Hit a New Level of Dysfunction


The FEC's inability to open an investigation ends this case, but it doesn't create a legal precedent. The commission could theoretically pursue future cases over the use of limited liability companies to fund campaigns. But don't hold your breath, says Paul S. Ryan, the deputy executive director for the Campaign Legal Center.

"We have seen a pretty dramatic increase in the use of the LLCs to contribute to super-PACs, and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon," he says, noting that the Campaign Legal Center has filed three similar complaints in the last two weeks alone. "But I think the dismissal of these complaints from 2011 will be viewed as a greenlight to continue laundering money into super-PACs." 

For the gridlocked commission, Ryan fears that this is far from rock bottom. "I've thought on several occasions that we've reached bottom, and they continue to surprise me with greater and greater dysfunction every year. This is a new low, that's for sure. This does seem to be a million-dollar violation with an admission, and the FEC won't even do anything about that. If they won't do this, what hope is there for them to do any investigations in the context of less clear-cut violations?"

Ryan says the Campaign Legal Center will decide in the coming weeks whether to sue the FEC over its failure to act in this case.

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