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 John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet 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 McConnellTrump allies throw jabs at Bolton over book's claims GOP confident of win on witnesses Collins Senate bid threatens to spark GOP rift in Georgia MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerLawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet Senate Democrats' super PAC raised million in 2019 As the mental health crisis grows, Puerto Ricans need long-term care MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats offer mixed reactions to Trump's Mideast peace plan James Taylor to perform at awards ceremony for Ruth Bader Ginsburg this week Trump offers two-state peace plan for Israeli-Palestinian conflict amid skepticism MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyFox's Wallace: Nadler would pay to have his Clinton impeachment remarks 'expunged from the Earth' McCarthy raises over million in Q4 for House GOP GOP leader warns lawmakers on fundraising: 'Getting our ass kicked' 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.