Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The decision follows an amazing admission by a former Democratic FEC chairwoman and frequent critic of Republicans and President Trump that the agency is biased against the GOP.


Federal judge halts secret FEC plot to target GOP groups

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A federal judge has blown the whistle on a secret Federal Election Commission scheme to punish some Republican groups and their donors, the latest sign of an anti-GOP bias at the elections watchdog.
In a newly released decision, Trump-appointed District Court Judge Trevor N. McFadden shined a spotlight on the FEC’s general counsel who recommended action against four Republican groups but dismissal of similar charges against supporters of a Democratic group, “Black Men Vote.”
In the case, the Washington-based Campaign Legal Center charged that the FEC wrongly voted to drop charges against three of the Republican super PACS accused of taking “straw donations” through corporations.

In a February 2016 3-3 vote, the FEC's Republicans voted to dismiss action in all five cases, noting that the conduct of the donors was the same in each, including the Black Men Vote complaint. FEC Democrats sought to investigate the four Republican and one Democratic groups.
In a sixth enforcement case, the FEC's Democratic chairman switched his position and refused to investigate a real estate developer allegedly using shell companies to funnel Chinese money to support a Florida Democrat.
In the federal court case, McFadden considered only three Republican cases involving straw donors from limited liability corporations, but since the FEC combined all five confidential recommendations, he considered them all too and made a point to note how the FEC counsel’s enforcement recommendations were biased against Republicans.
The decision follows an amazing admission by a former Democratic FEC chairwoman and frequent critic of Republicans and President Trump that the agency is biased against the GOP.
Asked if the cases before the FEC are biased, Ann Ravel said, “Absolutely. The cases have come primarily from watchdog groups, and most of those groups are on the liberal side.”
She was one of the Democratic commissioners who led the effort to target conservative media, like the Drudge Report.
The judge’s decision won support from a former Democratic FEC chairman who said it was a major victory for the election commission. “A resounding victory for the FEC at the USDC for DC. The agency wins deference for its decision (three Commissioners voted not to investigate three ‘dark money cases) and quite a ‘tip of the hat to the First Amendment's role in agency decisions,” tweeted Bob Lenhard.

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