Common Cause Urges President Trump to Avert Crisis, Restore Quorum at Federal Election Commission

Today, Common Cause urged President Donald Trump and the Senate to quickly nominate and confirm new commissioners to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to avert a crisis that would leave the agency largely powerless to enforce campaign finance laws without a quorum. The resignation of Vice Chairman Matthew S. Petersen, effective at the end of the month, will leave the FEC with only three commissioners, one short of the minimum required for the FEC to act and well short of the six required by statute. With the 2020 election cycle well underway, the letter urges the president to treat the situation as an emergency and fill the vacancies expediently.  

“Americans deserve an FEC willing and able to enforce the laws passed by Congress to protect the integrity of our elections and the President must nominate new commissioners who will serve as the cops on the beat,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause. “While the agency may have fallen short of fulfilling its duties in recent years, to leave the FEC without a quorum to act would court disaster. The threats of foreign interference and special interests running wild are all too real if the agency does not have enough commissioners to enforce the laws on the books.”  

The letter strongly encourages President Trump, after consulting with Senate leaders of both parties, to appoint new FEC commissioners who the Senate will confirm and who will uphold and enforce our campaign finance laws, instead of appointees who refuse to enforce laws they oppose for personal, ideological, or partisan reasons. Additionally, Common Cause urges the Senate to pass and the President to sign the For the People Act (S. 949) to allow the FEC to act with a majority of the sitting commissioners—a revision of the current legal requirement of the affirmative vote of at least four commissioners for FEC action. 

The letter emphasizes the need for the President and the Senate to act quickly as we enter in what is widely expected to be the most expensive election in U.S. history.  

To read the letter, click here.