Federal Election Commission Rejects Motion to Expand Secret Money in Politics

4 weeks ago 26

In an open meeting today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) deadlocked on a motion by Commissioner Allen Dickerson, a Trump appointee, to allow anybody anonymity who may otherwise feel intimidated by having their names and political donations disclosed to the public. The vote was close, with all three Republicans voting in favor of increased secrecy.

Dickerson proposed extending the very rare donor disclosure exemption granted to the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in 1979 to all persons and organizations who fill out a sworn statement saying they fear harassment if their campaign contributions are disclosed. SWP received a court ordered exemption from disclosing its donors after documenting an extensive record of government intimidation, including a Custodial Detention List compiling all SWP donors for arrest in the event of a national emergency. The exemption has only rarely been applied to others.

Craig Holman, Ph.D., a government ethics expert with Public Citizen, issued the following statement in response:

“Commissioners of the FEC, regardless of party affiliation, have always defended the need for disclosure of campaign money sources – until now.

"Preventing the disclosure of the sources of political spending would deprive voters of critical information and undermine the essential need for checks on monetary power. It is truly disturbing to see half of the Commission now undermining that core principle, which is so important to an open democratic society."

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