In This Issue
Vol. 26 Issue 44
The FEC’s Big Bet
What Shana Broussard’s Political Acumen Means for Information Warfare & Global Politics
- Handicapping the New FEC Chair
- Bipartisan Results in Congress: The White Wolf
- The FEC vs. Cambridge Analytica 2.0
- The Global Picture
It was a dangerous bargain.
On November 2, Federal Elections Commission chair Shana M. Broussard voted with three Republican commissioners against mandating regulations on foreign spending in state ballot initiatives.
Her vote flung the door wide open for foreign corporations and foreign nationals -a blaring neon sign, begging them to try: WANT TO SWAY U.S. POLICY? YOUR MONEY WELCOME IN STATE BALLOT MEASURES. NO PROSECUTIONS INCOMING.
She was still a relative newcomer to the position. Just over a year earlier, Broussard, a Black woman from Louisiana, was confirmed by a 92-4 majority in a highly divided Senate. Not only is she the first Black woman to head the FEC, but she is also the first person of color, period, to serve as a commissioner in the commission’s 45-year history.
At the time of her appointment, Sen. Chuck Schumer sang her praises as a protector of democratic ideals.
“Shana Broussard has a distinguished career as a fierce advocate for free, fair, and open elections and will be an outstanding FEC commissioner,” he wrote in a statement. “I’m proud to have recommended her for this historic nomination.”
“As FEC Commissioner, I have no doubt that Shana will work tirelessly to protect the sanctity of our elections, the wellspring of our democracy, and defend the right of every American to have an equal say in who represents them.”
So why was Broussard voting against keeping foreign money out of state ballot initiatives? A collective howl went up from pro-democracy Twitter (myself included).
“Scoop,” crowed a headline from Axios. “FEC lets foreigners finance U.S. ballot fights.”
It will perhaps not surprise you to learn that this outrage was fueled by lazy reporting and social media panic. Apparently, few bothered to read her Statement of Reasons for the decision.
But after my initial shock wore off, I did.