FEC Chair Uses Twitter To Bust GOP Blockade On Foreign Influence Information

The chair of the Federal Election Commission decided to tweet the entire weekly agency digest — after it was blocked by a GOP commissioner because it addressed illegal foreign election activities. That’s a topic Republicans are particularly sensitive about just now.

Chair Ellen Weintraub appeared to keep her humor about it all, tweeting: “Funny story,” before explaining what went down.

She revealed in a series of messages that she had decided to print a “Draft Interpretive Rule Concerning Prohibited Activities Involving Foreign Nationals” on the FEC website. The draft is supposed to be discussed at an upcoming FEC meeting just as President Donald Trump faces an impeachment inquiry for pushing Ukraine’s president to launch an investigation into his political rival Joe Biden. 

Then, GOP FEC Commissioner Caroline Hunter “took the altogether unprecedented step of objecting” to Weintraub’s draft being added to the FEC’s regular weekly digest and blocked the entire digest. So Weintraub printed the whole thing — on Twitter.

Then a bit of a zinger from Weintraub: “I always thought these anti-regulatory people liked the First Amendment well enough. I guess they think it’s just for corporations. I’m not fond of anyone trying to suppress my speech.”

The 39 tweets include everything from calendar changes to several civil penalties against people and groups who violated election law. It’s all available on Weintraub’s Twitter or here.

The draft on illegal foreign activities in an American election can be found here and below:

The FEC has been hamstrung since August, when Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen resigned, leaving the federal election watchdog without a quorum. The commission’s dysfunction has been on display since soon after Trump was inaugurated, when Commissioner Ann Ravel quit in disgust over the partisan “deadlock” preventing it from dealing with the flood of dark money in politics.