Hans von Spakovsky, a visiting legal scholar at the Heritage Foundation and former FEC commissioner, has written a piece for National Review dealing with the recent debate over split votes at the FEC.
He explains how the complexities of the law, which have at times escaped even campaign finance “reform” crusader Sen. John McCain, have led the Republican bloc on the FEC to refuse charge forward with penalties in cases where the law is unclear, ambiguous, or not applicable to the facts — even when such deference upsets proponents of strict campaign finance regulations like Sens. McCain and Russ Feingold.
von Spakovsky relates how “amusing” it is that a Democratic nominee of President Obama is being held up by Sens. McCain and Feingold after then-Sen. Obama placed a hold on von Spakovsky’s nomination, upsetting a tradition of deference to FEC nominees of the opposing party.
Here’s an excerpt:
… if it weren’t for the three Republican commissioners voting together to block enforcement of ambiguous and confusing provisions, McCain would be paying large civil penalties for violating the law he co-authored. McCain has demonstrated on more than one occasion that he does not understand the requirements of his own law, including when he was investigated by the FEC while I was on the commission.
…now we have a situation in which McCain, who claims he did not violate the law, wants to replace those same Republican commissioners, on the grounds that the FEC needs “new commissioners with a demonstrated commitment to the existence and enforcement of the campaign-finance laws.”
So who does McCain think was correct in his own case — the career lawyers and the three Democratic commissioners, or the Republican commissioners he wants replaced because they are supposedly not enforcing the law? If the author of the law can’t understand its confusing, complicated, and often ambiguous requirements, how does he expect the rest of the political world to do so?