INSTITUTE INDEX: A chance to fix the dysfunctional Federal Election Commission?

Ann M. Ravel announced this week that she is resigning from the Federal Election Commission over concerns that it's dysfunctional. She's calling on President Trump to appoint new commissioners who will uphold campaign finance law. (Photo of Ravel from the FEC website.)

Date on which Ann M. Ravel announced she was resigning from the Federal Election Commission in a letter urging President Trump to prioritize campaign finance reform: 2/19/2017

Date on which Ravel, a Democrat, had an op-ed published in the New York Times charging that the dysfunctional FEC is "betraying the American public and jeopardizing our democracy": 2/20/2017

Number of members on the commission: 6

Number who can be from one political party: 3

Number of commissioners who must agree to launch an investigation: 4

Number of Republican commissioners ideologically opposed to the FEC's purpose who've formed a controlling voting bloc that regularly ignores campaign finance violations and reduces penalties: 3

Percent of the time that this bloc votes in lockstep on substantial matters: 98

Percent of votes on FEC enforcement cases that were deadlocked in 2006: 2.9

In 2016: 30

Amount the FEC assessed in civil monetary penalties in 2006: more than $5.5 million

In 2016: $595,425

Number of cases identified in a report by Ravel's office in which the FEC "failed to require meaningful accountability from individuals, corporations, labor unions and dark money groups": 18

Portion of their budgets that 501(c)(4) "social welfare" nonprofits are allowed to spend on supporting political candidates: "insubstantial"

Portion of its total spending that Carolina Rising, a 501(c)(4), admitted went to help elect Thom Tillis of North Carolina to the U.S. Senate in 2014 without any consequences from the FEC: 97

Since the U.S. Supreme Court lifted restrictions on money in politics with its 2010 Citizens United ruling, number of rules the FEC's controlling bloc has allowed to be enacted to ensure all spending is disclosed: 0

As a result, amount of money from undisclosed sources that has poured into elections since then: more than $800 million

Of Ravel's five fellow commissioners, number whose terms have expired and who are serving in what's known as "holdover status," giving President Trump the chance to appoint members who'll enforce the law: 5

According to a 2015 Bloomberg poll, percent of Americans who favor changes to campaign finance laws so that wealth does not dictate political influence: 87

(Click on figure to go to source.)