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Senate committee approves nominations of three FEC commissioners

Senate committee approves nominations of three FEC commissioners
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The Senate Rules Committee on Thursday voted to approve the nominations of three individuals to serve on the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

The panel approved the nominations of Republicans Sean Cooksey and Allen Dickerson to serve as FEC commissioners by voice vote. Senate Rules Committee ranking member Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocrats scramble to unify before election bill brawl Hillicon Valley: Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC | Lawmakers urge Biden to be tough on cyber during summit with Putin | TSA working on additional security regulations following Colonial Pipeline hack Big Tech critic Lina Khan named chair of the FTC MORE (D-Minn.) and Sens. Tom UdallTom UdallSenate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin Study: Chemical used in paint thinners caused more deaths than EPA identified Oregon senator takes center stage in Democratic filibuster debate MORE (D-N.M.) and Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoDemocrats facing tough reelections back bipartisan infrastructure deal Past criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries Infighting grips Nevada Democrats ahead of midterms MORE (D-Nev.) asked to be recorded as voting "no."

The committee also approved by unanimous voice vote the nomination of Democrat Shana Broussard to serve as an FEC commissioner. If confirmed by the full Senate, Broussard would be the first person of color to serve on the FEC in the agency’s history.

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The three nominations are now pending a vote in the full Senate and, if approved, would restore a full slate of six commissioners to the FEC, which has been unable to conduct business for most of the past year due to lacking a quorum of at least four commissioners.

“A full slate of commissioners means that the FEC is able to continue its work when a single commissioner departs the agency,” Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntCongress barrels toward debt cliff Excellence Act will expand mental health and substance use treatment access to millions Overnight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 MORE (R-Mo.) said Thursday at a hearing to approve the nominations.

“This stability at the agency is very important to the community that they regulate,” he added. “These nominees have expressed a willingness to work together and find consensus to move the agency’s backlog forward.”

Klobuchar noted that while she opposed the two Republican nominees, citing concerns around Dickerson’s stance on transparency around political spending, it was important to confirm them to allow the FEC to function again.

“For more than 15 months, with exception of a brief period this summer, the FEC has not had enough commissioners to do its job, and today we do take an important step towards restoring a quorum and getting the FEC back on track in terms of filling out the commissioner jobs,” Klobuchar said.

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The agency has been without a quorum since June, when former FEC Commissioner Caroline Hunter resigned. This resignation came weeks after the FEC had regained a quorum for the first time in almost a year after the Senate confirmed Republican Trey Trainor to serve on the FEC in May.

Cooksey currently serves as general counsel to Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyGOP divided over bills targeting tech giants Pence heckled with calls of 'traitor' at conservative conference Five takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision MORE (R-Mo.), and he previously served as deputy chief counsel for Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhite House denies pausing military aid package to Ukraine Ted Cruz says critical race theory is as racist as 'Klansmen in white sheets' Pentagon pulling 'certain forces and capabilities,' including air defenses, from Middle East MORE (R-Texas). He has also worked as a litigation associate at Washington, D.C., law firm Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, and served as a law clerk for Judge Jerry Smith of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

Broussard now serves as counsel to FEC Vice Chair Steven Walter, an independent. Broussard previously served as an attorney-adviser at the IRS and as deputy disciplinary counsel at the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board, along with previously serving as a New Orleans assistant district attorney.

Dickerson currently serves as the legal director at the Institute for Free Speech in Alexandria, Va., and prior to that was an associate with law firm Kirkland & Ellis.

The timing on when the Senate will vote on their nominations is unclear. Trainor, who currently serves as chairman of the FEC, told The Hill in October that he hoped the Senate would quickly confirm the nominees and allow the FEC to address cases brought during the 2020 elections.

“There is plenty of work for us to do. There have been plenty of complaints that have been generated by the 2020 cycle, looking forward to getting to address those,” Trainor said.