Groups Urge Senators to Carefully Scrutinize FEC Nominee’s Controversial Record

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  • David Vance

Today, ten organizations urged Senators to carefully weigh the highly controversial record of James E. “Trey” Trainor III, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In a letter to the full Senate, the groups emphasized that Trainor, a Texas campaign finance attorney who served as counsel to the president’s campaign committee, has taken a number of hostile stances against existing campaign finance laws.

The groups authoring the letter include, Campaign for Accountability, Common Cause, Democracy 21, Demos, End Citizens United, Every Voice, Free Speech For People, People For the American Way, Public Citizen, and Voices for Progress.

“Americans expect and deserve an FEC that does not allow special interest to run roughshod over our campaign finance laws, and the Senate must take great care to make sure Trey Trainor is not just another fox to guard the henhouse,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause. “Trainor has exhibited an open contempt for many of the campaign finance laws he would be charged with enforcing at the FEC which is deeply troubling at a time when the agency is mired in dysfunction, unable or unwilling to enforce the laws passed by Congress.”

The letter to Senators emphasizes a number of Trainor’s contentious stances against existing campaign finance laws and agencies. He fought efforts in Texas to increase transparency of campaign related funding and amplified calls to defund the Texas Ethics Commission which enforces the state’s campaign finance laws. Trainor has also been champion of secret money in elections and has completely mischaracterized the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, claiming that it defended anonymous campaign spending when in fact the Court ruled 8-1 in favor of disclosure.

The letter stresses that the dysfunctional FEC requires commissioners who will to enforce the law and goes on to note that due to his work on the Trump presidential campaign he would need to recuse himself from some key issues the agency will be tackling in terms of enforcement actions and rulemakings related to Russian election interference and campaign expenditures made through social media.

To read the full letter, click here.