Service of Watchdogs Asleep on the Job When Their Partisanship Gets the Better of Them

October 1st, 2018

Categories: Elections, Illegal, Partisanship, Politicians, Politics, Watchdog


Partisanship has caused our representatives to lose their focus. It masks common sense forcing our elected officials and their appointees to make decisions for the wrong reasons. Senator Flake admitted on “60 Minutes” last night that he would not have taken the step he did to insist on an FBI investigation in the Kavanaugh hearing had he been running for office.

Bloomberg View senior executive editor David Shipley shed light on an example that impacts us all yet hasn’t grabbed many headlines. He argued on Bloomberg radio “that the Federal Election Commission [FEC] is overly partisan, and if Democrats take control of one or both sides of Congress in November, they should commence hearings into its operations.”


I checked out some info about the FEC. Its six members** are appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. A term is six years, two appointments are made every two years and no more than three commissioners can represent a party. Four members must agree for the commission to take action. **In an “On the Media” interview on NPR on Saturday, Washington Post national reporter Michele Ye He Lee said currently there are four commissioners on the FEC–two from each party.

Shipley said that the Trump 2016 campaign solicited funds from members of Parliament in the UK, which is illegal, but even though watchdog organizations filed complaints, the FEC didn’t pursue the campaign or enforce the law. “The FEC preferred not to know,” he said. He added that “Republicans on the FEC were sure that campaign laws were not broken.”

He also mentioned that when Paul Manafort was Trump’s campaign chairman he sought campaign money for a super PAC that backed Trump, which is also illegal. Nothing happened.

Shipley recommended that if “Democrats take control of Congress in November, and if a bipartisan resolution is impossible, Congress should wind down the FEC and transfer its function to the justice department.” He concluded: “Status quo is a mockery of the law.”

Do you agree? How can members of a watchdog commission accept the position and then forfeit their responsibility without blinking? Can you identify other examples of people we depend on to watch out for us who, for reasons of partisanship, turn a blind eye to illegal activities?


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6 Responses to “Service of Watchdogs Asleep on the Job When Their Partisanship Gets the Better of Them”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    With several exceptions, Congress is presently composed of blockheaded adult brats with nothing better to do than throw highly publicized politically charged mud pies at one another in hopes of getting maximum attention/votes from supporters. Next month’s voters tasks are to listen carefully and to act in favor of candidates who take their jobs as work seriously, in the interests of their constituents and NOT as ramming particular ideologies down the communal throat. This goes for all, from dog catcher to US senator.

    Chaos threatens, but can be stilled next month by those whose job is to show up at the polls and vote for sanity, be it for Republicans, Democrats, or for those willing to promote the interests of his/her fellows — at the expense of ideology.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Sage words. Trouble is, those running for office fear for their political lives. They seem to have forgotten why they go to work. They spend much time soliciting funds and satisfying those who send them big checks in addition to bowing to their political parties so as to acquire more support from them. There do not seem to be many if any willing to stand for a concept that doesn’t perfectly match the rest of their party’s rhetoric.

    The expression on Senator Flake’s face when he admitted that had he been running for his Senate seat he couldn’t have taken the action he did in the Kavanaugh situation was shame and embarrassment and yet he should be commended for telling the truth.

    I can’t believe that so many in Congress agree with so many others in their parties on every issue. It’s not normal. They represent such a wide swath of constituents with varying priorities. Fingers crossed that this lockstep approach of our policymakers changes and soon–in November maybe?

  3. Protius Said:

    A long time ago I spent the better part of a weekend showing a Maryland congressman and his wife around Genoa, Italy and the nearby Italian Riviera. I don’t remember why he was there, but I do remember that he was a relatively unsophisticated conservative democrat representing the Eastern shore of the state along the Chesapeake Bay in the days before integration, equal opportunity and the great society. He was also intelligent, interested (He asked good questions.) and relatively open minded. He and his wife were both likable, sincere and earnest.

    I’ve often wondered whether, if he were in the House today, this good man would have been a republican, and if he had been, whether he would have been a Trump republican. I’ve reluctantly concluded that he would have had to have been in order to be elected, but I also think that he was a decent, honorable human being who would have chosen to leave office in preference to serving as a pawn to be manipulated by others.

    I do not know why this man went to Washington. Perhaps he felt, like others have, a yearning for power, however, I do know that he was honest, sincere and took his duty to serve his constituents seriously. Now, however, the emphasis on money, corporate patronage and power is sufficiently extreme and time consuming that our representatives have neither the freedom nor the means to think independently, far less to protect and encourage patriotic whistleblowers.

    A good case in point is the current battle in the Senate over Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, those judging him seem to be relegating consideration of his suitability in temperament and judgment to serve as a justice to a distant second place behind the increasingly evident likelihood that he will almost always vote on the Court as the extreme, radical right wishes him to.

    Last Friday, to move the appointment forward to Senate floor, the Senate Judiciary committee agreed to a further review of certain issues in the judge’s past by the FBI. Since then, the White House has apparently limited what the agency may, or may not do, to the point where the FBI’s eventual findings are likely to be unhelpful.

    Consequently, your post is most timely.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Being a good citizen doesn’t get you on the news these days. Politicians must say or do something outrageous to get headlines–the bar is set that low.

    That politicians have sold their souls is dangerous for us all. I am fearful of what each day will bring. Cut Social Security and Medicare to ensure increased tax breaks for the 1 percent? Good idea! Pre existing conditions no longer covered routinely by insurers and when they are, at huge increase in premium–super! Think of the savings for insurance companies. Let’s offer national parks to developers so they can build mansions with great views. Why not? You get the idea.

    I can’t believe that every Republican lawmaker agrees with every move by the administration or that every Democrat is lockstep with what fellow Democrats condone. That discourse and compromise are discouraged is atrocious and unnatural. We will all suffer.

  5. David Reich Said:

    I don’t know if the answer is to transfer the mandate of the FEC to the Justice Dept, but something must be done. Partisan politics has gotten way out of hand. Whatever happened to the idea of country before party?

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:


    Good question. I wish the press corps would ask it of every candidate as well as “What do you see your role to be in Congress/as President/on the Supreme Court? Whom do you represent and what does that mean? Are there any circumstances/issues under and about which you would break from your party?”

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