The Federal Election Commission is so dysfunctional that it cannot even decide that an employer coercing its employees to make political contributions is wrong:
Last week, the Federal Election Commission deadlocked over whether to investigate allegations that coal baron Robert Murray coerced employees at his company, Murray Energy Corporation, into making campaign contributions. It’s a move that watchdogs warn will give the green light to workplace political coercion, which experts say is on the rise.
The case stems from a complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) alleging that Murray Energy coerced its salaried employees to contribute to the company’s PAC. Sources within the company had alleged that their year-end bonuses depended on their levels of political giving.
FEC staff had advised the commission that there was a strong case for enforcement, based on evidence that included internal company documents reportedly showing that the company told managers, “We have been insulted by every salaried employee who does not support our efforts.” Staff members recommended that the commissioners find that Murray and his company’s PAC had violated federal election law by “coercing Murray Energy employees to make contributions to federal candidates and participate in fundraising activities supporting federal candidates.”
When the commission finally voted on whether to take action last week, the FEC split along party lines, with the three Democratic commissioners voting in favor of investigation, and the three Republican commissioners voting against action. FEC rules bar the agency from taking action unless a majority of commissioners agree. It’s just the latest in a long list of FEC disputes that have ended in stalemates and inaction—involving everything from complaints over super PAC coordination with campaigns to nonprofits’ political activity, straw donations to LLCs, and end-runs around contribution limits.
Seriously? An employer threatening loss of pay and perhaps loss of a job you don’t contribute to their candidates is OK?
We are completely f%$#ed.