In this clip, Rachel Maddow interviews FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub on the gridlock that plagues the Federal Elections Commission and is allowing the Republican Party to be bought and sold by billionaires in exchange for legislative favors should they somehow find themselves victorious.
The FEC, a separate agency from the Department of Justice, is supposed to police campaign finance and the enormous amounts of money that are poured into election campaigns, but the way it has been designed has essentially left the agency crippled. Three Republican commissioners, three Democrat. Any action requires four votes, and in this age of intense polarization between the two parties, both sides vote along ideological lines and a stalemate leads to inaction.
In the interview, Weintraub admits it is a “devastating message that the laws will not be enforced. It’s a challenging prospect because half the commission doesn’t really want to see the laws enforced.”
Rachel then asks for confirmation that “Republican commissioners think that we’re doing okay, that money in politics is not something that needs more policing now more than any other time in the past.”
She gets it. Weintraub concludes that “I’m concerned we’re seeing a race to the bottom. The candidates and the Super PACs and the outside money are out there, and they’re seeing the laws not being enforced.”
It is a dark day for our democracy when the FEC admits it is powerless to stop the flow of corporate millions into our election process, perverting the ideals of representation and accountability to the voters that have been central to our elections since the birth of our nation.
Watch it here:
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.