Saturday, January 21, 2012

FEC Making Citizens United Decision Worse

My summary of an important article at Think Progress.

How The Republicans On The FEC Are Making Citizens United Even Worse

By Josh Israel on Jan 21, 2012 at 9:00 am
Three Republican appointees to the Federal Election Commission may be as responsible as anyone for the lack of transparency of post-Citizens United political spending.

-  When the Supreme Court issued its Citizens United ruling, the majority explicitly endorsed the constitutionality and necessity of disclosure rules that inform voters who paid for the political ads.

-  Federal statutes require that for all significant “independent expenditures” and“electioneering communications” the names and addresses of large donors must be identified.

-  But the FEC said the identities of donors behind the outside spending need only be identified if the money was specifically earmarked for the political expenditure.

-  In April, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) asked the FEC to close the loophole for “independent expenditures” and filed a lawsuit challenging the loophole for “electioneering communications.”

-  Last month the six FEC commissioners killed — on a 3-3 vote — a motion to begin consideration of Van Hollen’s suggestions. 

-  Republican appointees, Commissioners Caroline Hunter, Donald McGahn II and Matthew Petersen were the three “no” votes. The same trio also made headlines last month when they took the view that even coordination between Super PACs and candidates might not qualify as coordination between Super PACs and candidates.

Because of these loopholes, virtually none of the funders behind the Super PAC attack ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina will be disclosed until well after the voters there have cast their ballots. And the funders behind 501(c)(4) attack ads may never be known.

Read full article here:

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