Transparency advocates yesterday excoriated the Federal Election Commission for what they called increasingly lax oversight of campaign finance as the country barrels toward what are expected to be the most expensive elections in history next year. The advocates – including nonpartisan watchdogs Democracy 21, Public Citizen, and the Campaign Legal Center – said the FEC has repeatedly failed to issue new regulations clarifying aspects of a Supreme Court ruling last year allowing companies and other organizations to spend unlimited amounts on elections.
Among the questions still unanswered: Can foreign companies with some US operations legally contribute to US elections? In the past, foreign citizens and companies have been barred from spending money in the American political system. Also unanswered: Should American organizations that spend money to influence elections have to disclose the source of the money?
The FEC, which is composed of three Republicans and three Democrats, has so far deadlocked on issuing the rules. “It’s an extraordinary disaster on top of an extraordinarily disastrous Supreme Court decision,’’ said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21.