Tuesday, August 30, 2005

FEC Commissioner Toner on Media Misrepresentation

FEC Vice Chairman Toner takes the MSM to task about their misrepresentation of the recent Berman/Doolittle Advisory Opinion.

Vice Chair Toner begins:

The Aug. 24 editorial criticizing the Federal Election Commission's ruling that the McCain-Feingold law does not apply to this fall's ballot initiatives in California did not mention the most important part of this and every other administrative agency action: what Congress provided by statute on the matter.

Commissioner Toner implies, without impolitically saying so, that the real cause of the Berman/Doolittle AO is Congress. If they don't like (and I haven't heard a great deal of complaint from Capitol Hill on the matter) Congress can amend the law, just as I argued earlier.

While Commissioner Toner takes a more diplomatic approach, I will say this more directly. Newspapers need a course in civics and administrative law BEFORE they should be allowed to comment on regulatory outcomes. Regulators often have very little wiggle room when it comes to interpreting and enforcing statutes passed by Congress.

We need to do more to force Congress to make more concrete decisions in the campaign finance realm and other, more important, areas of law.

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