Late Friday afternoon, as Americans began their Fourth of July vacations, the FEC released a settlement with the National Rifle Association regarding the NRA’s failure to disclose nearly $100,000 in contributions. The settlement was dated November 3, 2015.
For the four settlements reached most closely before and after the NRA case, the FEC’s delay in publishing the agreement ranged from two to six weeks, all well short of the eight month delay in this case.
“There is no rational reason to hold onto this agreement for the better part of a year, then release it at the start of Fourth of July weekend, unless someone at the FEC wanted as few people as possible to see it,” said Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Communications Director Jordan Libowitz.
This comes just two days after Republican FEC commissioner Lee Goodman broke protocol and leaked details of a recent investigation into Fox News’ handling of a Republican debate, saying “these free press issues are important to him.”
“If getting press attention is so important that it necessitated leaking a decision earlier in the week, then why wait so long and release the NRA settlement when the press was least likely to notice it?” asked Libowitz. “These two actions taken in close proximity look an awful lot like the FEC is choosing to draw attention to some cases while deliberately interfering with public disclosure in the NRA case.”
The NRA was represented in this matter by Don McGahn, a former Republican FEC commissioner who currently serves as counsel to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. CREW has separately brought an FEC complaint and multiple IRS complaints against the NRA for failing to disclose nearly $60 million in political activity and misdirected funds intended for its non-profit to its political arm.