FEC: the next rogue agency?

| July 11, 2013

John O’Sullivan — whom I’ve had the pleasure of dining with more than once — once enunciated what’s become known as O’Sullivan’s Law: “All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.” Kimberley Strassel’s article in the Wall Street Journal about the Federal Election Commission illustrates O’Sullivan’s Law all too well:

…over the years [FEC] staff have come to ignore the law, and routinely initiate their own inquiries—often on little more than accusations they find on blogs or Facebook. For a sense of how these investigations can go off the rails, consider that Lois Lerner—before serving as the center of today’s IRS scandal—was the senior enforcement officer at the FEC. A Christian Coalition lawyer has testified that during a (sanctioned) FEC investigation in the 1990s—in addition to generating endless subpoenas, depositions and document requests, Ms. Lerner’s staff demanded to know what Coalition members discussed at their prayer meetings and what churches they belonged to. Once staff gets rolling, there is little to stop them.

More troubling to some FEC commissioners has been the staff’s unsanctioned and growing ties to the Obama Justice Department. In September 2011, Tony Herman was named FEC general counsel. Mr. Herman in early 2012 brought in Dan Petalas, a Justice prosecutor, as head of the agency’s enforcement section. FECA is clear that a bipartisan majority of commissioners must vote to report unlawful conduct to law enforcement. Yet FEC staff have increasingly been sending agency content to Justice without informing the commission.

Her article points out how those in charge of the FEC — in particularly, Republican Commissioner Donald McGahn — have tried to control the agency, and the anger that has engendered on the Left. Be sure to read the whole thing


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Category: 2014 Election, 2016 Election, Idiot bureaucrats, Main, Obama Administration

About the Author ()

Webster is Principal and Founder at Bruce F. Webster & Associates, as well as an Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Brigham Young University. He works with organizations to help them with troubled or failed information technology (IT) projects. He has also worked in several dozen legal cases as a consultant and as a testifying expert, both in the United States and Japan. He can be reached at bwebster@bfwa.com, or you can follow him on Twitter as @bfwebster.

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