A new Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruling this week could open the door to untraceable political donations, closing a key avenue for observers to review FEC rulings.
On Monday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to review a 2021 ruling that blocked the courts from reviewing FEC decisions and prevented private watchdog groups from challenging certain decisions. , reports the Washington Post on Thursday. According to the court, judges do not have the authority to challenge “prosecutorial discretion” in defending the FEC’s decisions not to proceed with this case.
Prosecutor’s discretion means the authority of prosecutors to determine the level of enforcement of a certain law.
Because courts cannot rule on such rulings, private groups seeking to pursue spending cases do not have the ability to challenge the FEC’s rulings, which are protected by prosecutorial discretion. Activists say this clears the way to protect all kinds of black money donations, WaPo reports.
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This is due in part to the composition of the FEC, which, like many other federal agencies, is run by a bipartisan commission. But while organizations like the FCC are run by a five-member commission with a maximum of three commissioners from each party, the FEC is run by six commissioners with a maximum of three from each party. The organization also requires at least four votes to move the case to court, which often leads to impasse.
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Until 2021, private entities could challenge cases that the FEC claimed were improperly denied. However, those challenges disappear as commissioners who reject cases defend their decisions against prosecutorial discretion, FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat, told WaPo.
Dark money accounts for tens of millions in political donations to Republicans and Democrats each election cycle, allowing groups to spend money on specific candidates without public scrutiny.
The nation’s largest left-wing black money network has collected more than $1.5 billion in anonymous donations to bankrupt liberal priorities in 2021 alone.
a secret money network of five non-profit organizations run by Washington, DCArabella Advisors, a consulting firm, also spent nearly $1 billion last year.
Fox News’ Joe Schoffstall contributed to this report.