Only "essential" employees of the federal government are still working during the shutdown. And at the Federal Election Commission that means practically no one is coming one.
According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, only 4 of the employees on the FEC's staff of 339 are working through the shutdown. That's because only those 4 are considered "essential."
"Federal Election Commission Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub isn't required to stay home today in the midst of a government shutdown. But there's hardly a point to her visiting the agency's office at 999 E. St. NW in downtown Washington, D.C.," reads the report.
"I'd literally be the one turning the lights on," said Weintraub, one of just four FEC employees among 339 the government has deemed "essential" during the shutdown. "My entire staff has been furloughed, so working — it's what I can do on my own, along with my three colleagues on the commission."
And that's not much.
Phone calls to agency workers ring to voicemails, emails go unreturned and audits and enforcement cases and investigations are on ice until further notice.
Says one Senate staffer upon learning about the federal agency: "FEC has 4 essential employees out of 339 staff. If that's not an argument for cutting some fat, nothing is."
Nevertheless, as the Washington Post reported, the FEC still wants campaign fundraising reports to be filed:
The Federal Election Commission is one of those agencies that is going to be virtually closed because of the shutdown. Fully 335 of its 339 employees are being furloughed. The only ones still around are four commissioners who, by law, can’t be furloughed. (Although without any staff around it’s unclear what they can do.)
But that doesn’t mean it’s a free-pass for campaign fundraising. The computers will be working there to receive your reports, we’re told. “Despite the shutdown, FEC reports will continue to be due,” former FEC chairman Dave Mason, now with political software and services firm Aristotle, advised in an e-mail to clients.