With Polls Open, Elections Monitor Closed

Partisan deadlock has Federal Election Commission toothless
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2008 5:50 PM CST
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., his wife Cindy, left, and McCain political advisor John Weaver, right, discuss the success of the passing of a compromise amendment to the McCain-Feingold finance reform bill,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – As the 2008 election cycle kicks into high gear, the partisan wrangling over nominations to the Federal Election Commission has shut down the watchdog body, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Four of six seats on the commission are vacant, and nominations are gridlocked in the Senate—leaving the agency with little power to make rulings or enforce regulations.

New disclosure requirements in an ethics bill signed into law in September can't go into effect until the FEC does its bit—meaning the requirements might not come into play in time to influence the 2008 elections. "Everyone is running around Iowa and New Hampshire, and no one noticed that the FEC closed for business last week," one campaign-finance expert said.