The Federal Election Commission (FEC) will lack the necessary quorum to enforce campaign finance violations effective August 31 following the resignation of Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen (R).
The FEC is an independent federal agency responsible for disclosing campaign finance information, enforcing limits and prohibitions on contributions, and overseeing public funding of presidential elections.
Petersen’s resignation leaves the six-member commission with only three members: Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub (D), Steven Walther (I), and Caroline Hunter (R). No more than three commissioners can represent the same political party. Without a quorum, the FEC will be unable to perform audits, litigate cases, promulgate new rules, issue advisory opinions, or enforce campaign finance violations.
Weintraub issued a statement on Monday announcing that the agency “is still on the 2020 campaign beat, despite the Vice Chairman’s resignation.” Weintraub stated that FEC staff will continue to make campaign finance documents available to the public and issue recommendations regarding campaign finance complaints. The commission will be unable to vote on the recommendations until a quorum is established. Weintraub urged President Donald Trump (R) to nominate new commissioners and encouraged the U.S. Senate to confirm the nominees.
Trump nominated Republican attorney James E. Trainor III to serve on the commission in 2017. The U.S. Senate had yet to confirm Trainor’s nomination as of August 2019.