Leaders on two U.S. House committees acknowledge that parallel investigations into computer security and staffing breakdowns at the Federal Election Commission aren’t living up their initial billings. Such apparent lack of action comes at a critical time for the FEC, which this month warned Congress of threats to its computer networks that have “increased dramatically,” and of staff vacancies across the agency that “have begun to affect negatively the FEC’s ability to provide public services.” The Center for Public Integrity detailed the severity of both problems, which include the successful infiltration of FEC computer systems by Chinese hackers, in an investigative report last year. Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Government Operations Subcommittee that oversees federal IT matters, in January promised to “conduct a full and thorough review of the vulnerabilities of FEC systems which should raise concerns for all federal elected officials.” That hasn’t yet occurred.
“We have been diverted with several pending crisis [sic] but are having staff review the FEC data breach,” Mica wrote in an email. “We will keep you posted.”
Mica did not elaborate on what the pending crises are. Brian D. Waldrip, Mica’s legislative director, said he didn’t have additional information.
Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa., the ranking member on the Committee on House Administration, which has FEC oversight powers, in January called on his committee to conduct a hearing on the FEC that he considered “long overdue.” He’s still waiting.