The FEC is broken – H.R. 1 will break it differently

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The FEC is bad. The House of Representatives isn't doing anything to make it better.

When it passed H.R. 1 by a vote of 234-193 on Monday, Congress attempted to address a laundry list of nationwide problems: rampant gerrymandering, voting rights, and the vulnerability of elections to foreign interference, among other concerns. But H.R. 1, billed as the "For the People Act," also takes a shot at reforming the Federal Election Commission (FEC). It fails.

The FEC isn't good at enforcing the nation's campaign finance laws, and, when it is does, it's often an entire election cycle after the given offense. As it is, candidates don't have much difficulty circumventing campaign finance laws, undermining the fairness of elections and opening the door to further corruption.

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The FEC was created by the Federal Election Campaign Act following the Watergate scandal, as Congress sought a better way to police federal campaign laws and prevent future presidents from interfering with investigations as Nixon had. The FEC has six commissioners, and no more than three can be of the same party. Four votes are required for most actions taken by the agency, and that hasn't been an issue for most of its history. But since 2008, the frequency of 3-3 tie votes has increased dramatically. It's why the FEC is slow to investigate cases and even slower to prosecute offenses. Supporters of H.R. 1 complain, with good reason, that the FEC has become toothless. But H.R. 1's reforms introduce new and potentially volatile problems.

FEC's rampant dysfunction won't be fixed by H.R. 1— the bill doesn't get at what actually went wrong. Since its inception, the FEC has been able to operate without excessive gridlock, and, for the most part, it still does. At the height of FEC turmoil in 2014, the FEC only had a tied vote 14 percent of the time (historically, it has been closer to one to four percent of the time) on substantive matters, although many of these tie votes occur on matters that are particularly contentious. The greater problem afflicting the FEC is touched upon by NBC Washington's findings that the Republican and Democratic commissioners of the FEC almost always vote as blocs. At various times, both Republican and Democratic commissioners have put party interests ahead of their agency's responsibilities.

At various times, both Republican and Democratic commissioners have put party interests ahead of their agency's responsibilities.

H.R. 1's Democratic supporters instead believe the FEC's six-commissioner structure makes it dysfunctional. H.R. 1 introduces a new system of five commissioners —two from each party and one independent, eliminating tie votes. But that independent commissioner's de facto role as a tiebreaker would grant them far too much power. Save for Senate approval, there's nothing preventing a president from appointing an "independent" like Bernie Sanders or Angus King.

The bill's proponents are aware of this problem, creating a Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel that will help inform the president's decisions. But this panel has problems of its own. The Blue Ribbon Advisory Panel's decisions are non-binding and not public, a result of its exemption from the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), which ensures the transparency of advisory committees. There are arguments against FACA's necessity, the panel's deliberate exemption from the law undermines the idea that its goal is to ensure non-partisanship. Instead, H.R. 1 will allow future presidents to tilt the scales of the FEC in their favor, a fate the post-Watergate creators of the FEC were so desperate to avoid they originally had members of Congress picking commissioners before the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional. Apparently, the solution to excessive gridlock is one-party control.

H.R. 1 also seeks to grant unilateral powers to the Chair of the commission in the name of expediency, again giving leverage to the Chair's party, and allows the General Counsel to take actions independent of commission votes. While some of the FEC's problems, such as its notoriously slow pace and the delayed appointment of commissioners under Presidents Obama and Trump, might be solved with legislation, the consolidation of power in the hands of a few at the expense of the FEC's integrity is not a winning strategy.

The FEC is afflicted by the same problem that has afflicted governments for as long as they have existed – governments are made up of people, and people can be bad. The Founders, in their wisdom, sought to limit the harm bad actors could do once in power, and the FEC's current structure adheres to this principle. Currently, the consequences of bad actors in the FEC is dysfunction and frustration. But under H.R. 1's reforms, those consequences could be blatant corruption.

Michael Rieger is a contributor for Young Voices. Follow him on Twitter at @EagerRieger.

This weekend, March 17, Rep. Rashida Tlaib will be speaking at (Council on American Islamic Relations) CAIR-Michigan's 19th annual "Faith-Led, Justice Driven" banquet.

Who knows what to expect. But here are some excerpts from a speech she gave last month, at CAIR-Chicago's 15th annual banquet.

RELATED: CLOSER LOOK: Who is Rep. Ilhan Omar?

You know the speech is going to be good when it begins like this:


CAIR-Chicago 15th Annual Banquet: Rashida Tlaib youtu.be


It's important to remember CAIR's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Think of CAIR as a spinoff of HAMAS, who its two founders originally worked for via a Hamas offshoot organization (the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP)).

A 2009 article in Politico says feds "designated CAIR a co-conspirator with the Holy Land Foundation, a group that was eventually convicted for financing terrorism."

The United Arab Emirates has designated CAIR a terrorist organization.

In 1993, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told a reporter for the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.

In 1998, CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad said:

Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran … should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.

Notice the slight underhanded jab at Israel. It's just one of many in her speech, and is indicative of the growing anti-Semitism among Democrats, especially Tlaib and Omar.

Most of the speech, as you might expect, is a long rant about the evil Donald Trump.

I wonder if she realizes that the Birth of Jesus pre-dates her religion, and her "country." The earliest founding of Palestine is 1988, so maybe she's a little confused.

Then there's this heartwarming story about advice she received from Congressman John Dingell:

When I was a state legislator, I came in to serve on a panel with him on immigration rights, and Congressman Dingell was sitting there and he had his cane, if you knew him, he always had this cane and he held it in front of him. And I was so tired, I had driven an hour and a half to the panel discussion at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus. And I sit down, my hair is all messed up, and I said, 'Oh, my God, I'm so tired of this. I don't know how you've been doing it so long Congressman. They all lie.' And he looks at me and he goes. (She nods yes.) I said, 'You know who I'm talking about, these lobbyists, these special interest [groups], they're all lying to me.' … And he looks at me, and he goes, 'Young lady, there's a saying in India that if you stand still enough on a riverbank, you will watch your enemies float by dead.'

What the hell does that mean? That she wants to see her enemies dead? Who are her enemies? And how does that relate to her opening statement? How does it relate to the "oppression" her family faced at the hand of Israel?

Glenn Beck on Wednesday called out Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) for their blatantly anti-Semitic rhetoric, which has largely been excused by Democratic leadership. He noted the sharp contrast between the progressive principles the freshmen congresswomen claim to uphold and the anti-LGBTQ, anti-feminist, anti-Israel groups they align themselves with.

Later this month, both congresswomen are scheduled to speak at fundraisers for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a pro-Palestinian organization with ties to Islamic terror groups including Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State.

Rep. Tlaib will be speaking at CAIR-Michigan's 19th Annual Banquet on March 17 in Livonia, Michigan, alongside keynote speaker Omar Suleiman, a self-described student of Malcolm X with links to the Muslim Brotherhood. Suleiman has regularly espoused notably "un-progressive" ideas, such as "honor killings" for allegedly promiscuous women, mandatory Hijabs for women, death as a punishment for homosexuality, and men having the right to "sex slaves," Glenn explained.

Rep. Omar is the keynote speaker at a CAIR event on March 23 in Los Angeles and will be joined by Hassan Shibly, who claims Hezbollah and Hamas are not terrorist organizations, and Hussam Ayloush, who is known for referring to U.S. armed forces as radical terrorists.

Watch the clip below for more:


This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

The roots of AOC

Wikimedia Commons

It wasn't too long ago that Blanca thought it was all over.

Born in Puerto Rico, Blanca lived in New York most of her life. Recently, a reporter from the Daily Mail sent a reporter to interview Blanca. When the reporter arrived, Blanca was calmly sculpting wood in the front yard of her modest, 860-square-foot home down the street from a cemetery. Occasionally, a drug deal takes place out front, and the house is crumbling in parts, but Blanca has been fixing it up since she moved in a couple years ago, and this is home.

Reading the article, you can feel the writer's surprise, you can feel an unsuspecting writer being wrapped in Blanca's story.

RELATED: We are all now dumber for what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez had to say

By day, Blanca works for the Lake County School District as a clerical assistant.

This is a story about mothers.

Blanca is a woman who makes lasagna for visiting relatives and watches over her 78-year-old mother, "who suffers from pulmonary fibrosis and often breathes oxygen from a concentrator, and a loud rescue mutt named Tammy."

This is a story about daughters.

Because Blanca always believed in her daughter. Believed her daughter would be important. And, regardless of your opinion on her daughter—and, believe me, you have an opinion about her daughter, because everybody has an opinion about her daughter—there's no denying the wholesomeness of this story, so hear me out.

"Her dad and I were preparing for Alexandria's birth and still picking names," Blanca told the reporter. "And he came up with 'Alexandria.' I thought about it for a while and I said: 'Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. That sounds very powerful. That'll be her name.'"

Yes, that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the infamous millennial Democratic Socialist who represents New York's 14th district (covering the Bronx and Queens) in the House of Representatives.

And her mother is Blanca Ocasio-Cortez.

Blanca married Sergio Ocasio in Puerto Rico, then moved to New York. She knew very little English, but she learned. She worked the jobs nobody else wanted. She mopped floors at night, she drove school buses, she answered phones, took orders.

In 1989, she gave birth to her first child, a girl, in The Bronx, New York City. Two years later, she gave birth to a boy.

Until Alexandria was five, the family lived in a one-bedroom condo in the Parkchester neighborhood of the Bronx.

Theirs was an American struggle.

Theirs was an American struggle. Sergio worked hard until he had his own business, and the small family pooled together their resources and took out a mortgage, and moved into "a small single-family house with a yard in nearby Yorktown Heights."

"We had a great life there," Blanca said. "Alexandria was very social, so she always had a bunch of girls over. She took over the shed in the backyard. She cleaned it up, put up curtains and photos and made it look nice, and that was like a clubhouse for her and her friends."

Blanca talks about her daughter the way any good mother does, recalling that her daughter was always talkative.

"When I took her to her pre-K interview, she didn't let me talk much. She was going on and on about knowing the alphabet and being able to count."

In 2008, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a sophomore at Boston University, her father, Blanca's husband, died of lung cancer.

Overnight, Blanca had to become the breadwinner.

I was cleaning houses in the morning and working as a secretary at a hospital in the afternoon... it was still difficult making ends meet. At one point, I was skipping mortgage payments and we almost lost the house.

This is a story about a single mother who raised her family after her husband died of lung cancer.

As the Daily Mail notes:

Sergio's death put the family into a tailspin. He had no life insurance, two years of health care bills due and the money his business brought in dried out. Blanca recalls she faced foreclosure not just once, but twice.

"It was scary," Blanca told the reporter. "I had to take medicine I was so scared. I had to stop paying for the mortgage for almost a year. I was expecting someone knocking on the door to kick me out at any time. There were even real estate people coming around to take photos of the house for when it was going to be auctioned. The worst is that I only had $50,000 left to pay on the loan."

Funny enough, it was the bank, not the welfare office or the local church that helped her.

Blanca worked from 6am until 11pm.

And I prayed and prayed, and things worked out. After the children graduated from college, I figured it was time for me to move to Florida.

These days, Blanca lives in Eustis, Florida, a lakefront community of about 16,000 people near Orlando. She moved here just before Christmas in 2016. She'd been paying $10,000 a year in real estate taxes in New York. Now, she pays $600 a year.

When she first got here, the world, her world was much different. Her daughter was a bartender in New York and hadn't filed paperwork to become a Representative.

Really, though, this is a story about what it means to live in America.

"I love privacy and calm," Blanca said. "I don't like the limelight for myself and my family. But it seems that God played quite a joke on me with this politics stuff."

The Daily Mail sent reporter Jose Lambiet, presumably to do a hatchet job. The story is tempting: taxes are so severe in New York that even the mother of the wild-eyed Democratic Socialist representing that area can't even afford to live there. Really, though, this is a story about what it means to live in America.

And while liberal media has paraded the story around with that smug look on their faces, so have conservative outlets, and in both cases they've missed the real story. The human story. The story of all of us. Because Blanca is an American, same as you and me.

Hoda Muthana, a three-time ISIS bride who left Alabama to join the terrorist group in Syria when she was 19 years old, told CBS News she has every right to return to the U.S.
On Tuesday's show, Glenn took a closer look at exactly what the self-proclaimed non-threatening Hoda Muthana has been posting on social media, and perhaps more importantly, how recently she was still calling for death to the very Americans from whom she now expects pity.