Senate panel advances Trump FEC nominee in party-line vote

Senate panel advances Trump FEC nominee in party-line vote
© Greg Nash

The Senate Rules Committee on Thursday advanced President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE’s nominee to serve as a member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), an agency that has been sidelined since August due to a lack of commissioners.

The Senate panel voted along party lines to advance Texas attorney Trey Trainor’s nomination to the full Senate for a confirmation vote. Democrats cited his past views on campaign finance in voicing their opposition.

If the Senate confirms Trainor, who was an adviser to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, the FEC will have a quorum, allowing it to resume business. The agency has lacked the required four commissioners needed to vote on proposals ever since former Commissioner Matthew Petersen resigned last year, leaving the agency largely powerless during the run-up to a presidential election.

ADVERTISEMENT

Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntWashington prepares for a summer without interns GOP faces internal conflicts on fifth coronavirus bill Senators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day MORE (R-Mo.) called Trainor "undoubtedly qualified" and said his confirmation is needed so that the FEC can carry out its duties.

“Without a quorum, the FEC cannot fulfill its most important functions, including providing formal guidance to federal candidates as they work to address the unique challenges they face during the coronavirus pandemic,” Blunt said. “Trey Trainor’s confirmation would fill a vacancy, balance party representation, and, most importantly, allow the FEC to do its job.”

Democrats have adamantly opposed Trainor, arguing that his nomination should have been moved forward alongside a Democratic FEC nominee, as has traditionally occurred.

The FEC currently has one Republican, one Democrat and one independent, with three commissioner vacancies.

Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharLiberal group asks Klobuchar to remove herself from VP consideration because of prosecutorial record Klobuchar on defense as Floyd death puts spotlight on record Officer involved in George Floyd death charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter MORE (Minn.), the top Democrat on the committee, argued Thursday that Trainor’s past work went against what the FEC stands for when it comes to campaign finance disclosures.

ADVERTISEMENT

Today we are asked to move forward with a nominee who, based on his record, doesn’t believe in campaign finance law. Yet the entire point of the FEC is to enforce campaign finance law,” Klobuchar said during the hearing. “It is critical that the FEC has commissioners that believe in its mission.”

During his confirmation hearing in March, Trainor was pressed by Democrats on whether he would recuse himself from FEC cases involving President Trump. Trainor said he would not accept a “blanket recusal” if confirmed.

It is unclear when the Senate will vote on Trainor’s nomination. A spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFor city parks: Pass the Great American Outdoors Act now US ill-prepared for coronavirus-fueled mental health crisis Schumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe MORE (R-Ky.) had no details on timing as of Thursday.