When the Federal Election Commission puts out a call for public comment, you might not expect many Americans to actually follow through and participate. But over the past several months, the FEC has invited the public to weigh in on the role of money in politics, and found itself flooded with more than 32,000 submissions.
The open comment period came in the wake of new FEC rules responding to the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon v. FEC decision. In that case, the Court declared restrictions on the total amount an individual can donate to political campaigns unconstitutional.
The ruling, and the FEC’s new rules, will make it easier for joint fundraising committees to take large checks and parcel them out to multiple candidates. The Center for Public Integrity explains that campaign finance reform advocates worry about “a sort of systemic corruption that may arise through the formation of jumbo joint fundraising committees. The leader — possibly a ranking party member — might become a sort of power broker, and the person who wrote the check would no doubt be remembered fondly as the Congress goes about its business.”
Those who submitted comments were overwhelmingly troubled by the increasing role in federal elections of big spending and dark money. FEC Commissioner Ellen Weintraub told The Washington Post that about 24,000 of the comments — 75 percent — called for increased FEC regulation of political giving. (Of the remaining 8,000 comments, some 5,000 were about regulating Internet speech, not campaign finance.)
Read some of the comments below and feel free to share and tweet your favorite postcards.
If you’re interested in reading more people’s comments, you can visit the FEC Rulemaking Comment website, but you’ll need to follow these special instructions: Click on 2014 and then the first regulation open for comment — REG 2014-01 Earmarking, Affiliation, Joint Fundraising, Disclosure, and Other Issues (McCutcheon) — to see more.
Postcards designed by Alexis Pancrazi.