Federal Politics

Published — September 29, 2015 Updated — October 21, 2015 at 3:08 pm ET

FEC to hackers: We’re ready this time if government shuts down

Chinese cyber vandals waylaid election regulator’s computer systems in 2013

Introduction

Two years ago, when the federal agencies last shut down because Congress failed to fund them, Chinese hackers successfully attacked the Federal Election Commission’s computer and information technology systems.

The nation’s political campaign and election regulator found itself powerless to the worst act of sabotage in its history: It had furloughed almost every employee at the federal government’s behest.

Since then, the agency has apparently learned its lesson.

If, on Thursday, the government again shuts down, the FEC will have nearly three dozen staffers available to, in large part, defend against cyber threats. Congress, in the meantime, is attempting to advance a last-minute, temporary spending measure ahead of Wednesday’s 11:59 p.m. deadline.

“There will absolutely be a skeleton crew this time to avoid a repeat of the situation in 2013,” FEC Chairwoman Ann Ravel told the Center for Public Integrity. “We understand it’s extremely important for crucial IT staff to be available to ensure the information we maintain is kept safe and not hacked.”

Of the FEC’s 327 employees, 294 would be furloughed during a shutdown, according to the FEC’s “plan for agency operations in the absence of the fiscal year 2016 appropriation.”

Alec Palmer, who doubles as the FEC’s staff director and chief information officer, will be among those agency employees who remain on the job.

Palmer would be “authorized to recall to duty any employees necessary to meet unanticipated contingencies related to imminent threats to life or property, including electronic records or data,” the FEC’s shutdown protocol states.

He’d be aided in part by Acting General Counsel Daniel Petalas, who would also avoid furlough, according to the plan.

As political committees, the FEC’s six commissioners — three Republican appointees, three Democratic appointees — would likewise continue working through a shutdown, as they did in 2013.

Among the FEC’s primary duties is making publicly accessible millions of records about how politicians and political committees raise and spend money.

Presidential and congressional elections in 2016 are expected to easily break spending records.

The FEC is scheduled to conduct a public meeting on Thursday, where its agenda is topped by a request from Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

In it, the Clinton campaign asks for clarity on whether valet parking services and food provided at fundraisers count as in-kind contributions.

The meeting, however, would likely be postponed if the government shuts down.

This story was co-published with Al Jazeera America.

Read more in Federal Politics

Share this article

Join the conversation

Show Comments

11
Leave a Reply

avatar
9 Comment threads
2 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
8 Comment authors
SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Mark Sullivan
Guest
Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
Guest
CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
Guest
George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
Guest
j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
Guest
jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
Guest
Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
Guest

hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
Guest
SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
Guest
Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
Guest
Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
Guest
South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
Guest
SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
Guest
David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.