May 11, 2015|
Bristling at claims that GOP opposition has made the Federal Election Commission “worse than dysfunctional” in the eyes of the Democratic chairwoman, Republicans counter-charge that the left is frustrated because it hasn’t succeeded in regulating conservative Internet sites, media and right-leaning super PACs.
“In Washington, people have a way of vilifying anything they disagree with in the most unflattering labels,” wrote Republican Commissioner Lee E. Goodman in a column for Politico. It was in response to claims by Democratic Chair Ann Ravel that the GOP is thwarting her bid to clean up politics.
“Commissioner Ravel believes that there are too many instances where the commissioners have evenly divided their votes, and that the bipartisan safeguards that prevent one party from politicizing or misusing the agency to punish political enemies stand in the way of meaningful enforcement,” wrote Goodman.
Ravel recently hit the GOP side in a New York Times article. “The likelihood of the laws being enforced is slim,” she charged. “I never want to give up, but I’m not under any illusions. People think the FEC is dysfunctional. It’s worse than dysfunctional,” she added.
The paper described the FEC as being “perpetually locked in 3-to-3 ties along party lines on key votes.” But Goodman provided figures which dismissed that charge. Under his chairmanship, he said, the commission acted in a bipartisan manner 93 percent of the time, including several votes with the GOP by Ravel.
However on key issues like Democratic targeting of conservative media, possibly including conservative websites like the Drudge Report, the sides deadlocked.
Goodman also said Ravel’s war on “dark money” only targets Republican groups, making the agency too partisan. “To punctuate her concerns over ‘dark money’ as the poster issue for Republican lawlessness, she has publicly called out four conservative non-profit organizations: Crossroads GPS, Americans for Job Security, American Future Fund and the American Action Network. Commissioner Ravel never mentions the many liberal groups that spend millions of dollars in elections without disclosing their donors, including Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Sierra Club, League of Conservation Voters, SEIU and many others. The omission suggests what many conservatives suspect really drives the philosophical complaint and sows cynicism,” he wrote.
Goodman said the 3-3 votes show the wisdom of Congress setting up the FEC as a divided body. “No one team gets to choose all the umpires or unilaterally set the rules of the game,” he wrote.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.