Federal Election Commission: the REAL Culprit Behind Huge Anonymous Campaign Contributions
Don’t get me wrong. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision sucks balls. Citizens United overturned decades of restrictions on political campaign funding; basically saying America is for sale to the highest bidder.
But Citizens United had nothing to do with disclosure rules requiring wealthy campaign donors to reveal their identities. The culprit behind these anonymous campaign contributions is the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
The Federal Election Commission has taken already-existing campaign disclosure rules and basically “re-interpreted” them into oblivion. Under the FEC’s new “interpretation,” campaign donors still have to identify themselves — but only if the donor has specifically stated how the money is supposed to be spent.
Let’s say you’ve donated a million dollars to a militant anti-abortion group. If you’ve specifically told this group “I want you to spend this money on TV ads attacking pro-choice candidates,” then your identity has to be revealed. But if you’ve given a million dollars to this same group without specifying how you want them to spend the money — what the fuck else are they going to spend it on? — then you’re allowed to keep hiding under your rock. You can purchase an election and the lowly public won’t even know who purchased it.
Last April, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D—Maryland) filed a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission, trying to get them to “un-reinterpret” the already-existing disclosure rules. A month ago the FEC voted on a motion to consider Van Hollen’s request. The vote was 3 to 3; the tie vote killed the motion. Needless to say, the three No votes came from the three Republican appointees to the FEC.
While the Supreme Court gets vilified for its Citizens United ruling — and rightly so — nobody even knows the names of the three FEC commissioners who are allowing wealthy campaign donors to keep cowering in the shadows while they purchase one election after another.
Those three names are: Caroline Hunter, Donald McGahn II and Matthew Petersen.
Anonymous — get busy.