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The FEC… Ugh!

PoliticsThe Federal Election Commission, in what can only be described as one of the dumbest decisions in a long line of dumb decisions by that commission, decided to leave 527s alone for another two years – despite a judges order to do something about them.

To say this is monumentally stupid is an understatement. The populace bemoans the role of money in politics (rightfully or not), so Congress passes a ridiculous law (the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act or BCRA) to keep the evil of soft money out of politics. Then comes the march of 527s – which put boatloads of soft money into the 2004 election.

A judge rules that this was clearly not the intent of Congress, and orders the FEC to take action to end them or figure out a better way to regulate them and the FEC does… ready for it… NOTHING!

Great plan, kids. I have a sneaky suspicion that this will not meet the judges approval.

Now, I disagreed with the premise of BCRA. The old system was skeevy, sure, but at least a) you knew where the money was coming from and could monitor it, and b) the parties were the process.

By moving everything off to shadow parties, you have effectively neutered the political system that we rely on and given great leeway to groups that people know little about. In the process, you have given billionaire ideologues a way to buy influence and manipulate the levers of power (which is what BCRA was supposed to eliminate.)

This is yet another case where government intentions to do something good have actually exacerbated the problem. Now the FEC, through its inaction, has endorsed the unintended consequences of bad legislation.

Written by Michael Turk