(This is the third in a series of five posts on the demonstrated bias of Democratic FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub. The first installment is here, the second installment is here, and the last installments will be posted in the next few days.)
Commissioner Weintraub's Enforcement Votes Exhibit Bias Against President Trump
Commissioner Weintraub's votes in recent enforcement matters also have raised eyebrows because she has rejected FEC General Counsel recommendations to dismiss matters and treated President Trump differently than she treated President Obama.
In a case, Matter Under Review 7244, where a complaint alleged that President Trump's Inaugural Committee incorrectly reported the addresses of a handful of donors out of many thousands of donors, errors had been corrected in amended reports. In 2009 and 2013, the Obama Inaugural Committee filed amended reports to clear up errors, and the Commission took no enforcement action. The Obama campaign also had taken in upwards of millions of dollars from foreign addresses, but claimed that it refunded those contributions. In Obama cases, Weintraub voted to dismiss complaints and not even investigate. Accordingly, the FEC General Counsel recommended dismissal of the Trump Inaugural Committee. But Weintraub voted against dismissal. She rejected her own General Counsel's recommendation, apparently because President Trump will face more severe enforcement than President Obama received.
In another case, Matter Under Review 7100, a complaint alleged that Donald Trump made personal use of his campaign's funds by promoting Trump Organization products and properties by using them for campaign events. The law allows candidates to use corporate resources so long as they pay a fair market price for use of the resources. Accordingly, Trump paid for all uses of corporate resources. And most of the money in Trump's campaign fund was contributed by Donald Trump himself -- so improper personal use was hardly a risk. Accordingly, the FEC General Counsel recommended dismissal of the complaint. Weintraub voted against the FEC General Counsel's recommendation to dismiss. Weintraub then issued a gratuitous statement chastising President Trump: "Trump hotels, Trump steaks, Trump water, Trump golf courses, Trump wine," she complained, calling the campaign's use of Trump properties one big "infomercial" for Trump's corporate properties and products, which amounted to personal use of campaign funds. Never mind that Trump funded his own campaign and never mind that the FEC General Counsel recommended dismissal. The FEC needed to investigate and punish.
And in yet another case, Matter Under Review 6961, a complaint alleged that the Trump campaign failed to pay an event-service company for services in setting up Trump's presidential candidacy announcement event, but it turned out that the Trump campaign indeed had paid a contractor event-service company who in turn paid the subcontractor event-service company in question, and the payment showed up on a subsequent public report filed with the FEC. The FEC General Counsel recommended dismissal of the complaint. Here, even though she voted to dismiss the complaint, Weintraub voted to send a "caution letter" to the Trump campaign, apparently to stigmatize Trump in a case that even Weintraub conceded had little merit.
These are three different cases with a common denominator: Commissioner Weintraub went against the FEC General Counsel's recommendation of dismissal because the complaints were all against Trump. As we are detailing in this series, this is part of a pattern of a troubling appearance of bias by Commissioner Weintraub against Republicans in general and President Trump in particular.