A bit of Federal Election Commission drama went down on Twitter Friday when the board’s chair tweeted a draft memo on illegal foreign election activities purportedly blocked by its GOP commissioner.
Its a subject Republicans are pretty sensitive about at the moment given the damning whistleblower complaint released this week and impeachment proceedings underway. The complaint alleges President Donald Trump improperly solicited dirt on his political rival, Joe Biden, from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, evidence of which the administration then buried in a highly classified computer system.
FEC Commissioner Caroline Hunter reportedly blocked the board’s routine weekly digest from being published after Chair Ellen Weintraub submitted a draft memo to be included therein concerning “Interpretive Rule Concerning Prohibited Activities Involving Foreign Nationals”. Hunter did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.
In response to what Weintraub called an “altogether unprecedented” move, she published the entire thing on Twitter instead, referring to her colleague in no uncertain words:
“I always thought these anti-regulatory people liked the First Amendment well enough. I guess they think it’s just for corporations. I’m not fond of anyone trying to suppress my speech. And I think the public should absolutely not miss out on this week’s digest.”
The memo spans nearly 40 tweets and for the public act of defiance required to share its contents, they’re anticlimactically routine. For the most part, the digest just goes over updates on civil penalties for violating campaign law.
It still acts as a reminder of the absolute madness going on in Washington right now that something as benign as a weekly memo can get dragged into the partisan chaos.