The Federal Election Commission, which considered legal action against former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee for joking about fundraising, won't punish Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid for admitting to violating an election law.
The reason: It's not worth the effort.
The agency voted 4-0 against pursuing action after FEC lawyers wrote a four-page memo that said Reid's fundraising committee admitted to failing to comply with an election law requirement, but that it wasn't worth the time or money to prosecute.
At issue was a fundraising memo Reid's team did for 2014 Nevada lieutenant gubernatorial candidate Lucy Flores. She lost in a landslide.
In the fundraising email, Reid did not include the required disclaimer that only federally compliant donations are allowed.
"The Reid Committee admits that the email, which was meant to facilitate low dollar contributions, did not inform recipients that Reid was soliciting only federally compliant funds," said the FEC memo.
Interestingly, the memo from the most powerful politician in the state delivered only 62 donations to Flores, now a House candidate. And that lack of effectiveness was also a reason given for no FEC action.
"It appears that the original solicitation, which did not inform recipients that Reid was only asking for contributions that complied with the Act, violated 52 U.S.C. § 30125(e)(1)(B). However, the contributions resulting from Reid's solicitation email appear to have been modest, and the Reid Committee attempted to remedy the violation by sending a follow-up email explaining that all contributions had to comply with the Act's limitations and source prohibitions. Thus, in furtherance of the Commission's priorities, relative to other matters pending on the Enforcement docket, and in light of the corrective actions taken by the Reid Committee and the modest amount in violation, the Office of General Counsel believes that the Commission should exercise its prosecutorial discretion and dismiss the violations as to Reid and his committee," said the FEC enforcement memo.
A critic of the agency noted that the case appears to show favoritism for Democrats. Some two months ago, Democrats on the FEC moved to punish Huckabee simply because of a joke in a speech urging donors to give him a million dollars. In that case the FEC lawyers said Huckabee was obviously joking, two of three Democrats on the commission voted to take legal action against the Republican.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org