It has come to this: The chairman of the Federal Election Commission and a fellow Democratic commissioner have filed a petition asking their own agency to do its job. Don’t hold your breath. It’s not news that the campaign finance system is out of control. It’s not news that the FEC has watched, haplessly, as candidates and their super PACs have made a mockery of individual contribution limits and as a torrent of unreported “dark money” sweeps through a system premised on disclosure. The conventional narrative places the blame on the Supreme Court and its 2010 Citizens United ruling, which, along with subsequent decisions, paved the way to unlimited independent expenditures by corporations and bands of wealthy individuals (via super PACs).
But this account both overstates the ruling’s significance and neglects to hold the FEC to task for failing, even in the difficult post-Citizens United legal landscape, to perform its enforcement and regulatory functions.
Recall, even before Citizens United — indeed, since the high court’s landmark 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo — the justices made clear that the First Amendment protects the ability of wealthy individuals to spend unlimited sums of their own money to promote (or oppose) individual candidates. The catch has been that these expenditures are supposed to be (a) disclosed and (b) made independently of candidates.
Ha and ha.
Full Article: The FEC’s cry for help – The Washington Post.