Obama’s F.E.C. is a Shameful Mess

July 24, 2014 at 1:37 PM 2 comments

In light of all the money that will pour into the campaign coffers of politicians this summer and fall ahead of the November elections (h/t to Republicans on the Supreme Court!), this is just not good:

FEC Logo


WASHINGTON — BILLIONS of dollars are being spent in the run-up to this November’s midterm elections. The Supreme Court has struck down limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions, as well as overall caps on individual donations to candidates for federal office. More and more money is also being spent through ostensibly independent “super PACs” and nonprofit entities.

Even as cash gushes through the system, though, we still have a key underpinning of our campaign finance law: the principle that the public has a right to know who finances campaigns, and how candidates, parties and other political committees are using those funds. If the Federal Election Commission, the agency charged with receiving and reviewing the reports and making the information available, falls down on the job, this principle is undermined.

On May 21, about a month after reports for the first quarter of this year were filed, the research and technology teams here at the Center for Responsive Politics did a routine download of F.E.C. data, as we’ve done hundreds of times in our 30-year history.


For years, the F.E.C. has said in its strategic planning documents that it would complete 95 percent of its processing within 30 days of a filing deadline.

So when we downloaded the F.E.C. files on May 21, we believed that virtually all reports from 2014 House candidates submitted by April 15 would be included. We were shocked to find, however, that information for 347 of the 703 active House candidates for the first quarter of the year was missing.

We asked the F.E.C. if something unusual — an information technology crisis, perhaps — had occurred. The response was much more disturbing: The agency told us it simply hadn’t finished processing the filings. We’d never heard that one before.


I’m so cynical the though has crossed my mind that maybe the government has been so deeply corrupted by corporate interests that this is being done intentionally.


Entry filed under: 2014 Election.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. walthe310  |  July 24, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    More likely they are underfunded. It is GOP strategy to make the government fail so that they can justify abolishing agencies they don’t like.

  • 2. Say It Ain't So Already  |  July 24, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    That’s a good point.

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