Saturday, September 12, 2015

GOP legislator wants WI to copy dysfunctional FEC

Everyone knows that the Federal Election Commission is toothless and dysfunctional because it has an even-numbered, six-member board - - three Republicans and three Democrats - - that cannot in these very partisan times reach a majority vote and do anything of substance
WASHINGTON — The leader of the Federal Election Commission, the agency charged with regulating the way political money is raised and spent, says she has largely given up hope of reining in abuses in the 2016 presidential campaign, which could generate a record $10 billion in spending. “The likelihood of the laws being enforced is slim,” Ann M. Ravel, the chairwoman, said in an interview. “I never want to give up, but I’m not under any illusions. People think the F.E.C. is dysfunctional. It’s worse than dysfunctional.” 
Her unusually frank assessment reflects a worsening stalemate among the agency’s six commissioners. They are perpetually locked in 3-to-3 ties along party lines on key votes because of a fundamental disagreement over the mandate of the commission, which was created 40 years ago in response to the political corruption of Watergate...
These days, the six commissioners hardly ever rule unanimously on major cases, or even on some of the most minor matters. 
Last month at an event commemorating the commission’s 40th anniversary, even the ceremony proved controversial. Democrats and Republicans skirmished over where to hold it, whom to include and even whether to serve bagels or doughnuts. In a rare compromise, they ended up serving both. 
Yet this is the very model which 'reformers' in the GOP Wisconsin legislature are looking to duplicate in the name of some weird distortion of governance and transparency after they get rid of the non-partisan Government Accountability Board, says State Rep. Joe Sanfilippo, (R-New Berlin):
...Wisconsin would be wise to follow the model of the Federal Election Commission and have state legislative leadership appoint six election experts to the GAB, with three of the members identifying as Republicans and the other three as Democrats.
That way there will be no hidden agendas and more incentives for Republicans and Democrats to work together for the betterment of the public.
Because four votes would be needed to take any official action, it would be extremely difficult for one side to have a distinct advantage. Both parties may try to look out for themselves, but in following the FEC prototype, they would be compelled to negotiate to find an acceptable solution on all issues, preventing the scales from tipping too far in one direction....
If it works for the Federal Election Commission, there’s no reason it won’t for Wisconsin as well.
Except it doesn't work for the FEC, Rep. Sanfilippo, because it's not supposed to.

Intentional 'regulatory' gridlock will only give legislators, lobbyists and campaign donors a freer hand to play the game and run the show on their own terms, not ours.

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