The Federal Election Commission logo in the agency's hearing chambers in Washington, D.C. (Dave Levinthal/Center for Public Integrity)
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When Beverly Davis began disqualifying numerous applicants for the Federal Election Commission’s vacant inspector general job — including a long-time staff attorney for Commissioner Matthew Petersen — agency superiors protested.

Accusations and allegations flew. A turf war ensued.

Davis said she was “attacked, retaliated against and bullied” into reassessing the qualifications of applicants she deemed subpar. After being overruled, Davis closed the job opening for the position — the agency’s internal watchdog — and resigned from her job as a senior human resources specialist, forcing the FEC to restart its search. The position has now been open for more than two years.

The May 2018 fracas, described in interviews and a series of internal emails obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, is but one of several stumbles that have helped render the FEC’s inspector general office effectively nonfunctional since November, when the lone deputy inspector general quit.