FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel is getting some nasty hate mail from people angry at her for doing what the FEC customarily does.
FEC regulations provide that officeholders may use campaign funds which remain in their account to pay for post-office expenses. In Reid's case, he is asking the FEC for permission to hire a full-time assistant and to use his campaign money to pay for expenses connected with his transition to retirement.
This has always been the standard. Until now. Now, the Republican side of the commission is balking and wants to limit him to use of the funds for six months only, despite the fact that Reid will have substantial ongoing costs just with regard to records maintenance.
This is the first time they've done this. Generally, the FEC grants permission without a problem, just as they did when my Representative, Elton Gallegly, left office.
There is now Advisory Opinion A and Advisory Opinion B for public comment. Draft A approves Reid's request and is supported by Ann Ravel and the other Democrats. Draft B limits it, and is supported by the Republicans on the commission.
Because public comment is invited, some members of the public are sending their unvarnished opinions to Ms. Ravel.
There's this one from Keith Kalbach, which manages to even misspell the President's name.
In case it's hard to read, here's the text with grammar, spelling and punctuation left intact.
"Listen middle class people like me have had enough or Harry Reeds bullshit and yours to. People like you and Reed steal our money and piss it away. Why don't you go get a real job like cleaning the floors at the Oboma Mansion in Hawaii."
Well, alrighty then. That's constructive.
Ryan K has some kind of real anger toward Reid, too. And Ravel.
"What is wrong with you? This man is one of the many politicians who have given the American citizens $19,000,000,000,000.00 in debt and you think the rules should be changed so he can personally keep pac money?!?!," Ryan K wrote.
If Ryan K had bothered to read any previous FEC communications, he'd know there was no request for a rule change. But I digress.
Ryan goes on to suggest that the remaining $600,000 in Reid's PAC be used to reduce the national debt. Ryan is at least fairly rational.
Stephen Brewer of Kansas City, Missouri, on the other hand, is incensed, writing, "Harry Reid is one of the most corrupt and self-serving politicians in the history of American politics. In view of his lifetime federal retirement benefits for his (dis)service to this country, he does not deserve one more penny of public funds."
Of course, PAC funds are not public funds at all. They are donations from supporters earmarked for campaign purposes, and at retirement, may be used for other purposes if the FEC approves it.
Brewer goes on to write, "The greatest service Harry Reid could do for America is simply to disappear from politics and live quietly off of the millions of dollars of ill-gotten gains he has pocketed during his political career."
He closes by shaking his virtual finger at Ravel, saying she "loses all credibility and respect for even entertaining Reid's absurd request, let alone supporting it publicly."
This is what happens when people unfamiliar with FEC rules and hyped up on super-partisanship do when confronted with something that might feel perfectly fine for a Republican representative while not so fine for a Democrat.
Who really cares if PAC funds are used to pay for an assistant and paperwork storage anyway? There are plenty of other uses of campaign funds that are far more nefarious than that.