Election experts urge Trump, congressional leaders to end stalemate at FEC

Election experts urge Trump, congressional leaders to end stalemate at FEC
© Stefani Reynolds, Greg Nash

Lobbyists and lawyers who specialize in U.S. elections wrote to President TrumpDonald TrumpHillicon Valley — State Dept. employees targets of spyware Ohio Republican Party meeting ends abruptly over anti-DeWine protesters Jan. 6 panel faces new test as first witness pleads the Fifth MORE and congressional leaders on Monday, urging the confirmation of another federal election commissioner to end "an untenable situation."

The Federal Election Commission (FEC), the government's campaign watchdog organization, only has three out of six commissioners, one shy of a quorum. Former FEC Vice President Matthew Peterson resigned in August and, since then, the organization has been unable to do its job, which is to enforce campaign laws.

Lobbyists and lawyers from Berke Farah, Foley & Lardner, Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, Miller and Chevalier, and Steptoe & Johnson, among others, sent a letter to Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellUS could default within weeks absent action on debt limit: analysis The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown Senate dodges initial December crisis with last-minute deal MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level Progressive groups urge Schumer to prevent further cuts to T plan MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPhotos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyGOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level McCarthy laments distractions from far-right members Ruth Bader Ginsburg Women of Leadership Award given to Queen Elizabeth MORE (R-Calif.).

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“Now that we are in the 2020 election year, with voting in presidential and congressional elections commencing in only a few weeks, it is critical to maintain public confidence in our national election systems,” they wrote. 

The group identified themselves as lawyers who represent organizations and candidates regulated by federal campaign finance law on both sides of the aisle. 

“In representing those clients, we often find ourselves in adversarial positions in the legal arena,” they wrote. “Yet we are united in our commitment to the rule of law and the need for the agency tasked with regulating federal campaign finance laws to fully function and carry out the mission assigned to it by Congress.”

The three current commissioners are all ineligible for reappointment, and no one new has been nominated, so there are no signs of the shutdown ending soon. The FEC has not been left without a quorum since 2008.

“This is an untenable situation. We urge you to work together and immediately identify, nominate, and confirm a full slate of qualified individuals to serve as Commissioners of the FEC,” the group of lawyers wrote.