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 TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary 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's election delay red herring On The Money: Unemployment debate sparks GOP divisions | Pandemic reveals flaws of unemployment insurance programs | Survey finds nearly one-third of rehired workers laid off again OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump signs major conservation bill into law | Senate votes to confirm Energy's No. 2 official | Trump Jr. expresses opposition to Pebble Mine project MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerSchiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package Meadows: 'I'm not optimistic there will be a solution in the very near term' on coronavirus package Biden calls on Trump, Congress to enact an emergency housing program MORE (D-N.Y.), Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiNegotiators hit gas on coronavirus talks as frustration mounts Hillicon Valley: NSA warns of new security threats | Teen accused of Twitter hack pleads not guilty | Experts warn of mail-in voting misinformation Schiff, Khanna call for free masks for all Americans in coronavirus aid package MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyBass honored US Communist Party leader in unsurfaced remarks Don't let Trump distract us from the real threat of his presidency Overnight Health Care: Five takeaways from Fauci's testimony | CDC: Children might play 'important role' in spreading COVID-19 | GOP leader wants rapid testing at Capitol 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.