Dems on FEC tried to charge Fox News criminally over primary debate

This is one of those stories of something that almost happened, but not quite. The Democrats on the Federal Election Commission reportedly tried to bring up Fox News on charges over their handling of one of the GOP debates during the primary. While the effort failed, this action provides a peek into the inner workings and biases of what is supposed to be a federal entity not only above, but completely outside of politics. (Washington Examiner)

Finally making good on long-harbored anger at conservative media, Democrats on the Federal Election Commission voted in secret to punish Fox News’ sponsorship of a Republican presidential debate, using an obscure law to charge the network with helping those on stage.

It is the first time in history that members of the FEC voted to punish a media outlet’s debate sponsorship, and it follows several years of Democratic threats against conservative media and websites like the Drudge Report.

The punishment, however, was blocked by all three Republicans on the commission, resulting in a 3-3 tie vote and no action.

A Republican FEC commissioner leading that fight, Lee E. Goodman, revealed the vote to Secrets Wednesday and said the official report of the May 26 executive vote will be released Thursday.

This is a fairly stunning revelation. Fox had made arrangements to host a debate well in advance of the scheduled date, but probably didn’t anticipate the large number of candidates who were going to throw their hats into the ring. They had to draw the line somewhere in terms of who would be invited but even by the standards that were decided upon, the number of hopefuls was far too large for a single stage, resulting in the “undercard” debates that we all sat through.

So what’s the problem? Someone who didn’t make the cutoff filed a complaint, claiming that the inclusion of seven candidates in the undercard constituted an illegal corporate contribution by Fox News to the candidates who participated in the debate. That sound you hear is the collective jaws of everyone in the media dropping.

The Democrats on the commission who voted in secret to prosecute Fox News are Ann Ravel, Steven Walther and Ellen Weintraub. The idea that a media outlet providing a forum for presidential candidates (particularly the ones who were polling at near zero at the time) to make their case to the public amounts to an illegal campaign contribution is beyond staggering. It’s flat out bias against the conservative media and an attempt to cause trouble for them during a presidential election cycle. If we lived in a more sane era these three would be ejected from the commission and replaced. Perhaps we could get a few of those new artificial intelligence robots to take their place.

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