Quartz: One of the two agencies that probes meddling in US elections is completely broken
The by-now infamous meeting between Donald Trump Jr and a Russian lawyer in June 2016 has become a focus for the FBI’s probe into last year’s US election campaign. The agency has assembled a grand jury(paywall) and issued subpoenas to examine evidence related to the meeting, which the president’s son, along with other senior campaign members, took after being promised incriminating material on his father’s political rival, Hillary Clinton. He may have broken a federal lawprohibiting foreign participation in elections.
But another US government agency, the Federal Election Commission (FEC), should be involved too. The commission’s job is to investigate civil violations of the Federal Election Campaign Act, including the ban Trump Jr may have broken. However, the FEC is so profoundly dysfunctional that both current and former employees tell Quartz they doubt it will even launch a probe over Trump Jr’s meeting, much less hand out any punishment.
“The FEC’s track record in recent years is that there are three commissioners that will never vote to investigate a matter unless it is a very minor violation,” says Adav Noti, a senior director with the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), which works for greater transparency in US elections, and who previously worked in the FEC for over a decade.