Top FEC Official's Undisclosed Ties to Trump Raise Concerns Over Agency Neutrality - 2020-10-28

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F0.png Top FEC Official's Undisclosed Ties to Trump Raise Concerns Over Agency Neutrality October 28, 2020, Mike Spies, ProPublica

Debbie Chacona oversees the division of the Federal Election Commission that serves as the first line of defense against illegal flows of cash in political campaigns. Its dozens of analysts sift through billions of dollars of reported contributions and expenditures, searching for any that violate the law. The work of Chacona, a civil servant, is guided by a strict ethics code and long-standing norms that employees avoid any public actions that might suggest partisan leanings.

But Chacona's open support of President Donald Trump and her close ties to a former Republican FEC commissioner, Donald McGahn, who went on to become the 2016 Trump campaign's top lawyer, have raised questions among agency employees and prompted at least one formal complaint. Chacona, a veteran agency staffer who has run the FEC's Reports Analysis Division, or RAD, since 2010, has made her partisan allegiance clear in a series of public Facebook posts that include a photo of her family gathered around a "Make America Great Again" sign while attending Trump's January 2017 inauguration.

The public display of partisanship bewildered some FEC staffers, according to a former agency employee. For decades, the agency expressly banned employees from engaging in such partisanship, a cultural ethos that has stuck even after those rules were relaxed in 2011. Chacona's duties included discerning whether the inaugural committee's disclosures of donor information appeared to contain any "serious violations" of the law, an FEC procedures manual states.

Wikipedia cite:
{{cite news | first = Mike | last = Spies | author2 = Jake Pearson | title = Top FEC Official's Undisclosed Ties to Trump Raise Concerns Over Agency Neutrality | url = https://www.propublica.org/article/top-fec-officials-undisclosed-ties-to-trump-raise-concerns-over-agency-neutrality | work = ProPublica | date = October 28, 2020 | accessdate = October 30, 2020 }}