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.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.