The partial government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, is affecting the Federal Election Commission’s ability to enforce campaign finance laws and investigate possible infractions, Democrats on the Senate Rules Committee wrote to the FEC on Wednesday. Ninety percent of the agency’s 300 employees have been furloughed, forcing it to skip its first scheduled meeting of the year, according to the letter, which was first reported by The Washington Post.
“The lapse in government funding means that enforcement of campaign finance laws that hold politicians and political committees accountable has stopped,” said the letter to the FEC chairwoman, Ellen Weintraub. “Further, the FEC cannot investigate complaints regarding possible campaign finance violations.”
No FEC employees were present when Chinese hackers broke into the agency’s computer network during the 2013 government shutdown, the letter said, warning that the current shutdown’s effects extend “beyond proper enforcement of law.”