Stephen Klein has an interesting article on the Pillar of Law Institute's blog about FEC functionality, PACs, and vague campaign finance regulations.
Supporters of extensive campaign finance regulation insist that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is a broken government agency. The agency’s current chair Ann Ravel, a Democrat appointee, claims that the Republican commissioners refuse to “enforce the law.” A majority vote of four out of six of the agency’s commissioners (three Republicans and three Democrats, including Chair Ravel) is required for the agency to take action in many instances. In some controversial areas of the law, such as alleged coordination between candidates for federal office and “super PACs” (groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on advertisements and other activities supporting or opposing candidates for federal office), there have indeed been some 3-3 votes, split between the three Republican and three Democrat commissioners. These instances are used to support a narrative that the FEC is not only broken, but in a partisan gridlock. The truth is, the regulations that the Republican commissioners “don’t want to enforce” are open to interpretation, and reformers have no one to blame but themselves that they are not being interpreted to their liking.