Campaign Contributions Go Into the Shadows During Shutdown

Come Nov. 5, voters could still be in the dark about who has been funding the candidates they are voting for.

National Journal
Brian Resnick
See more stories about...
Brian Resnick
Oct. 2, 2013, 8:44 a.m.

There are four people work­ing at the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion dur­ing the shut­down. There are usu­ally 339. This is the agency that’s meant to shine a light on cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions and ex­pendit­ures, to let the people know who is pay­ing for the at­tack ads flood­ing their tele­vi­sion screens as Elec­tion Day ap­proaches.

Cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions are go­ing in­to the dark.

Cam­paigns can still file elec­tron­ic­ally, but if the sys­tem breaks, there will be no one around to fix the prob­lem. “And it is pos­sible that tech­no­lo­gic­al prob­lems may arise that would pre­vent filers from fil­ing on time,” FEC’s web­site states.

But more than that, they won’t have much ca­pa­city to make the re­ports pub­lic. “I don’t know how to per­son­ally post the re­ports — I’m a little out of my league there,” com­mis­sion Chair­wo­man El­len Wein­traub, one of the four people work­ing, told the Cen­ter for Pub­lic In­teg­rity. “The pub­lic will have to go without dis­clos­ures un­til we open back up.” Also, cam­paigns won’t be pen­al­ized for miss­ing dead­lines due to the shut­down.

If the shut­down lasts for a few weeks, the FEC could still be closed for a key Oct. 15 con­gres­sion­al fil­ing dead­line. That’s the dead­line, the Sun­light Found­a­tion ex­plains,

for all polit­ic­al com­mit­tees that file quarterly (a group that in­cludes most House can­did­ates) to have their pa­per­work in­to the FEC. Five days later, the re­ports of monthly filers (mostly polit­ic­al ac­tion com­mit­tees, in­clud­ing su­per PACs) are due.

When the gov­ern­ment re­opens, cam­paigns that have missed fil­ings will have 24 hours to com­ply. For a com­mis­sion with a his­tory of back­logs, that could fur­ther im­pede pub­lic post­ings.

What We're Following See More »
“CLINTON MUST BECOME THE NEXT PRESIDENT”
Bernie Sanders Seeks to Unite the Party
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Instead of his usual stump speech, Bernie Sanders tonight threw his support behind Hillary Clinton, providing a clear contrast between Clinton and GOP nominee Donald Trump on the many issues he used to discuss in his campaign stump speeches. Sanders spoke glowingly about the presumptive Democratic nominee, lauding her work as first lady and as a strong advocate for women and the poor. “We need leadership in this country which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor,” he said. “Hillary Clinton will make a great president, and I am proud to stand with her tonight."

“MUST NEVER BE PRESIDENT”
Elizabeth Warren Goes After Donald Trump
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

In a stark contrast from Michelle Obama's uplifting speech, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke about the rigged system plaguing Americans before launching into a full-throated rebuke of GOP nominee Donald Trump. Trump is "a man who has never sacrificed anything for anyone," she claimed, before saying he "must never be president of the United States." She called him divisive and selfish, and said the American people won't accept his "hate-filled America." In addition to Trump, Warren went after the Republican Party as a whole. "To Republicans in Congress who said no, this November the American people are coming for you," she said.

FLOTUS OFFERS STRONG ENDORSEMENT OF CLINTON
Michelle Obama: “I Trust” Hillary Clinton
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"In this election, and every election, it's about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives," Michelle Obama said. "There is only one person who I trust with that responsibility … and that is our friend Hillary Clinton." In a personal and emotional speech, Michelle Obama spoke about the effect that angry oppositional rhetoric had on her children and how she chose to raise them. "When they go low, we go high," Obama said she told her children about dealing with bullies. Obama stayed mostly positive, but still offered a firm rebuke of Donald Trump, despite never once uttering his name. "The issues a president faces cannot be boiled down to 140 characters," she said.

SANDERS BACKER CONFRONTS STUBBORN SANDERS SUPPORTERS
Sarah Silverman to Bernie or Bust: “You’re Being Ridiculous”
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Many Bernie Sanders delegates have spent much of the first day of the Democratic National Convention resisting unity, booing at mentions of Hillary Clinton and often chanting "Bernie! Bernie!" Well, one of the most outspoken Bernie Sanders supporters just told them to take a seat. "To the Bernie-or-bust people: You're being ridiculous," said comedian Sarah Silverman in a brief appearance at the Convention, minutes after saying that she would proudly support Hillary Clinton for president.

‘INEXCUSABLE REMARKS’
DNC Formally Apologizes to Bernie Sanders
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

The Democratic National Committee issued a formal apology to Bernie Sanders today, after leaked emails showed staffers trying to sabotage his presidential bid. "On behalf of everyone at the DNC, we want to offer a deep and sincere apology to Senator Sanders, his supporters, and the entire Democratic Party for the inexcusable remarks made over email," DNC officials said in the statement. "These comments do not reflect the values of the DNC or our steadfast commitment to neutrality during the nominating process. The DNC does not—and will not—tolerate disrespectful language exhibited toward our candidates."

Source:
×