Why is the Federal Election Commission giving the Socialist Workers Party an exemption from campaign finance requirements that apply to every other American individual and organization?
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) first allowed the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) to bypass disclosing its contributors’ identities in 1990, and their exemption was again renewed earlier this year. The reason: Since SWP donors are subject to “harassment” from donor publication, the party is relieved of the requirement to inform the public about who contributes.
The Tea Party Leadership Fund is routinely harassed, too. To prove it, the Fund has provided the FEC 1,438 pages of harassment documentation, and is asking the federal election authorities for an Advisory Opinion to determine whether they qualify for the same exemption.
Why should Fund contributors be open to harassment anymore than donors to a fringe – very fringe – political party?
Considering that the Internal Revenue Service has already publicly disclosed to Congress that tea party groups have been profiled and clearly “harassed” by the agency, and no less than the President of the United States has described tea parties in pejorative terms, such is pretty clear evidence of admission that donors have been, and could be again, subject to undue treatment at the hands of a hostile, politically-motivated bureaucracy.
The Blaze’s Becket Adams covers breaking developments in the ongoing congressional investigation of the IRS abuses.
Dan Backer, the Tea Party Leadership Fund’s attorney spearheading the group’s inquiry, made the following observation to Politico, which first covered the story:
“...as we very thoroughly document at almost three times the length of the socialist request, tea party supporters are subject to an unprecedented level of harassment and abuse.” Mr. Backer went on to say that, “this will be the beginning of a conversation about the burdens and the perils of disclosure.”
There’s more to activism than simply engaging in constructive activity to achieve a specific goal. Pro-active intelligence is also necessary for success. The brain trust behind the Tea Party Leadership Fund, a registered federal political action committee, just combined both attributes with its FEC petition.
The Federal Election Commission was created in 1975 as part of the Watergate-era Federal Election Campaign Act. The body consists of six commissioners, three Democrats and three Republicans. All decisions and rulings must obtain four votes, ensuring agreement from at least one member of the opposing political party. The members are appointed in pairs – one Democrat and one Republican – by the president and are confirmed by the Senate.
Though it seems obvious that the FEC should write an Advisory Opinion in favor of Fund’s petition, such might not be the case. Because of Commission vacancies, it is likely that all four of the remaining members, including two Democrats, would unanimously have to agree upon the decision and that rarely happens.
Even if the FEC’s decides against the Fund, the organization can and should continue to make the argument for fair treatment. Far too often, conservatives aren’t willing to keep pushing government to play fair. Using past FEC rulings that favor fringy and left-wing groups is a key to sound conservative activism. It’s time to turn the tables on the left and an all-too compliant Washington bureaucracy, and the Tea Party Leadership Fund is making the first charge.
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