The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is sharply divided over how the election watchdog agency should respond to Russian interference in the U.S. election as more revelations come to light about foreign meddling during 2016. Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, a Democratic appointee, believes the FEC should play a more active role and consider rulemaking proposals to prevent foreign influence in future U.S. elections. She advocates a forward-looking, “prospective” approach focused on preventing future influence in the 2018 midterm elections. Federal election law prohibits foreign nationals or entities from making campaign contributions or influencing U.S. elections.
“This is a great opportunity for the commission to take on an issue that is of great concern to the public,” Weintraub said at Thursday’s open meeting.
But the divide within the agency spilled out into the open at their latest public meeting with three GOP commissioners saying they want to follow the FEC’s current enforcement procedures and avoid acting “prematurely” while multiple government agencies still have ongoing investigations into 2016 election interference.
This was the first time Weintraub discussed potential rulemaking proposals to prevent foreign election influence since January.