There are numerous instances where the FECís general counsel found reason to believe the law had been violated, and the Republican commissioners ignored the law and refused to act. If this sounds like a joke, itís because it is, and Stephen Colbert has been riding it to ratings gold on a regular basis.
This might paint a bleak picture about modern Washington. Yet, with any luck, the tide can be turned: The DOJ could take a tougher line against corruption, President Barack Obama could fix the FEC by replacing the squatting commissioners, and the OCE could be properly funded, be given subpoena power and have its jurisdiction extended to the Senate.
Politicians who understand they will be held accountable for their conduct are more likely to meet the high ethical standards we have a right to expect from our elected officials.
Melanie Sloan is executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.