Happy New Year! As we begin this campaign year of 2008, the Federal Election Commission lacks a quorum. It canâ€™t make decisions regarding violations of federal campaign laws. The FEC will also lack the ability to send out matching fund checks to those presidential candidates who still play the matching funds game.
Thatâ€™s actually good, since most federal campaign laws are blatant abridgments of our freedom of speech in the first place.Also good may be the mess itself. Itâ€™s a sign of the bankruptcy of the whole system of federal regulation of politics.
How big is the mess? As big as the parties can make it. Democrats wonâ€™t confirm the latest Republican nominee for the FEC . . . and Republicans follow suit, refusing to confirm the Democratsâ€™ nominees. Stalemate.
The underlying problem is the unduly partisan nature of the FEC. The commissioners are appointed by their party affiliation. This means an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, who can essentially block enforcement against their party.
But if you arenâ€™t a Republican or a Democrat, say youâ€™re an independent or a Libertarian or a Green, then the FEC certainly isnâ€™t set up to equally protect your political rights. Its very make-up violates the 14th Amendmentâ€™s requirement of equal protection under the law.
Partisan politics ought not shut down the FEC. Our Constitution should.
This is Common Sense. Iâ€™m Paul Jacob.