FEC loses quorum once again with commissioner’s resignation

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is down to having three members after former chair Caroline Hunter (R) resigned from the commission July 3. The six-member body requires four members to form a quorum, which is the number of active commissioners needed for the FEC to formally conduct business. Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, a quorum is required for the agency to promulgate rules, issue advisory opinions, and decide enforcement actions.

In her resignation letter to President Trump (R), Hunter wrote, “The FEC would benefit greatly from new faces and fresh perspectives.” She also stated that “Congress established the FEC to prevent single-party control, with every significant decision requiring bipartisan approval.” The current members of the FEC are Republican chair Trey Trainor, independent vice chair Steven Walther, and Democratic member Ellen Weintraub. Three positions are unfilled.

The Senate confirmed Trainor on May 19. Before that, the FEC only had three members after Matthew Petersen (R) resigned on August 31, 2019. Vacancies created by the resignations of commissioners Ann Ravel (D) in February 2017 and Lee Goodman (R) in February 2018 have yet to be filled.

After Hunter announced her resignation on June 26, Trump nominated Allen Dickerson—the current legal director of the Free Speech Institute—to the commission. If the Senate confirms Dickerson, the FEC will return to having four members.

Additional reading:
Appointment and removal power (administrative state)