“Campaign Finance Analysis: Deadlocks Are Only Part of Story at FEC”

Ken Doyle for Bloomberg BNA:

Partisan deadlocks at Federal Election Commission have been highlighted as the source of dysfunction at the beleaguered agency, but a new analysis of some of the most controversial matters handled by the FEC shows that focusing solely on the battles between the FEC’s Democratic and Republican commissioners misses a lot of what is really going on.
The analysis looked at more than two dozen closed enforcement cases dealing with one of the thorniest issues now faced by the agency—allegations of illegal coordination between nominally independent super political action committees and the candidates they support. The result: Democrats and Republicans on the FEC agreed nearly three times more often than they deadlocked on these controversial cases.
Super PAC cases are important because those organizations, which can raise unlimited amounts of money to influence elections, are becoming increasingly dominant in U.S. campaigns. In theory, at least, they are supposed to remain legally independent of the candidates they support. But, whether super PACs face any practical limits on their activities largely is determined by the enforcement rulings of the FEC in individual cases.
And, the bottom line in all of the cases resolved by the FEC so far is that the allegations of illegal coordination have been dismissed.
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