Posts Tagged Election ’08

Olbermann Slams Clinton Camp…Again

What defines winning according to the Hillary campaign…

“When you boil it all down in determining the Democratic party’s presidential nominee, only one vote really matters: The 50-something, conservative, registered Democrat, who’s not independent, but not a part of the base, and skipped college so they could go straight into teaching rather than become a casino worker, who votes on domestic issues — but not in a primary or caucus — in a big state, that doesn’t border Illinois, that has elected female governors and members of Congress, but didn’t vote Republican in 2004, won’t vote Republican in 2008, and didn’t vote for Jesse Jackson in 1984 or 1988, during an all-day vote, except between the hours of 7 and 7:15 p.m.” –Keith Olbermann, 05/05/2008

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FEC Closed for Service

In 1975, Congress created the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to administer and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) – the statute that governs the financing of federal elections. The duties of the FEC, which is an independent regulatory agency, are to disclose campaign finance information, to enforce the provisions of the law such as the limits and prohibitions on contributions, and to oversee the public funding of Presidential elections.

I thought this was worth blogging about, being it does involve an integral part of our democracy and is definitely something we, as informed citizens, should be concerned with.

The federal agency charged with overseeing a candidate’s use of campaign finances, such as making sure that all contributions are legit, is out of service. Why? Because the Federal Election Commission needs four commissioners in order to function. Currently, it only has two. The reason being is a two-year-old standoff between the Senate and White House over three nominees, one of whom recently asked that his name be withdrawn because he was hired by a top law firm in the process of waiting. According to Tony Corrado, a political scientist at Colby College, this not good: “Not only do we have a dysfunctional FEC at this point, but it is going to be increasingly difficult to find individuals who are going to be willing to serve on the commission.”

And if the standoff between the Senate and White House isn’t resolved before the Senate’s recess in July, the commission will remain closed for business for the remainder of this election year.

How is this translating so far? Well, this past Monday the Democratic National Committee filed a suit against the FEC for its failure to investigate McCain and his possible violation of campaign finance law. The heart of the issue has to do with whether McCain violated the law when he decided not to accept public funding after taking out a private loan, a loan Democrats say he wouldn’t have received had his campaign not promised the public money as collateral. Although the Democrats’ claim has a political motive– seeking to remind voters of McCain’s campaign finance troubles while Obama and Clinton continue to squabble for the nomination- there is a legitimate case according to FEC Chairman David Mason. Mason has said that McCain cannot legally withdraw from the public finance system without FEC approval. Except for the fact that there is no functioning FEC to seek approval from…

So amidst what is the biggest fundraising season in history, the agency created to oversee election spending is effectively useless due to an incompetent Congress and White House. That’s another minus for democracy, in what is already a huge pile of stinky minuses…

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