(This is the fourth in a series of five posts on the demonstrated bias of Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub. The first installment is here, the second here, the third here, and the last installment will be posted in the next few days.)
Former FEC Chairman Brad Smith was the first to warn the American public, detailing the legal problems presented by Commissioner Weintraub's actions in a June 2017 blog post at the Institute for Free Speech. According to Chairman Smith, "Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub's actions in recent months cast serious doubt on whether she can continue to credibly carry on her duties as a Commissioner. She should recognize this predicament and do the honorable thing, which is to resign." Chairman Smith outlined federal law that requires government officials to act without bias and documented Weintraub's violations of that legal duty.
Chairman Smith also explained the corrosive effects of the anonymous AltFEC Twitter feed in 2017, before it was widely known that the AltFEC twitter feed is sponsored by Weintraub's staff.
Liberal defenders like Professor Rick Hasen rallied to Weintraub's defense. Hasen called Chairman Smith "mean spirited" for his analysis of Weintraub's bias. No doubt Professor Hasen has exhibited some mean spiritedness on his own blog. More important than his one-sided view of campaign finance discourse, however, apparently liberals like Hasen thinks it's okay for Democratic law enforcement officials like Loretta Lynch and Ellen Weintraub to enforce the law with prejudice. They are not in the least bit concerned for "good government" when it comes to law enforcement bias, which is its own form of corruption.
But Chairman Smith was right and it shouldn't take a national controversy like Lois Lerner or Peter Strozk to restore the appearance of fairness and impartiality. Weintraub's demonstrations of bias are worse than the Peter Strozk controversy. Her public political jabs at the President go well beyond private texts and emails. And her votes to punish Trump demonstrate that she will use her public office to get the President. Yet, there has been little outcry about it.
The FEC is a law enforcement agency. Commissioner Weintraub is a law enforcement official. Nobody looking at this evidence could reasonably conclude that Commissioner Weintraub is unbiased, fair and neutral in her approach to President Trump. Nor is she known throughout Washington, DC as a dispassionate, objective regulator. Rather, she has a reputation as a flamboyant, outspoken ideologue, given to partisan infighting and polarization on the Commission. The strong opinions she and her confidential counsel have expressed about President Trump (and other Republicans) taint everything the FEC does.
President Trump is entitled to not only actual neutrality but the absolute appearance of neutrality in the enforcement of campaign finance laws by the FEC. That neutrality does not exist so long as Commissioner Weintraub and her office participate on Trump cases. Like the FBI fired Peter Strozk, Commissioner Weintraub should do the right thing and remove herself from all cases related to Donald Trump.