The great powers created the League of Nations as a sop to America’s hopelessly naive and inflexible President, Woodrow Wilson, mainly to get him to stop talking about “making the world safe for democracy” and dangerous notions like ending colonialism. They had no intention, however, of giving it any teeth. Similarly, both major political parties deliberately fashioned the FEC to be toothless, in part by assuring that it had an equal number of members from each party so that any uncomfortable rulings about the cesspool of campaign finance would wind up in tie votes, ergo no decisions.
Consequently, it came as no surprise that the feeble Commission voted 2-2 regarding its ongoing investigation of Trump’s illegal hush-money payments to porn star, Stormy Daniels/Stephanie Clifford, thereby bringing the investigation to a close. One Republican Commission member recused himself while one Democrat did not bother to show up that day for the most important vote ever in the FEC’s dreary existence.
Trump’s fixer-lawyer, Michael Cohen, went to jail for serving as the cash conduit to Ms. Daniels while the man who ordered the payments runs around free to grieve, grift, lie and incite violence.
There is no rationale for this hapless organization to continue to exist. Its primary purpose--regulating political campaign contributions and expenditures--was effectively neutered by the U.S. Supreme Court’s dreadful decision in the 2010 case of Citizens United v. FEC and by technology. The former allowed politics and elections to drown in money, paving the way for corporations and billionaires to buy politicians and votes; the latter made it easy for the citizenry to monitor political donations and expenditures by a click of the keyboard.
The solution is to get rid of the FEC and replace it with a simple transparent database that logs contributions and political campaign expenditures, including from whom they came and where the money went. Period. There is no need to shell out more than $70 million per year to do what technology can do much better and a lot cheaper. Let the public access the database and draw its own conclusions about who is buying whom.
June 18, 2021