Center for Public Integrity: Will Donald Trump let the Federal Election Commission rot?

Dave Levinthal
Sep 8, 2017
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The Federal Election Commission is running low on commissioners.

President Donald Trump on Thursday nominated Republican Matthew Petersen to a federal judgeship, meaning the FEC is poised to putter on with the minimum number of commissioners — four — required to take official action on most anything of consequence.

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“In a very practical sense, the FEC has no margin of error,” said Adav Noti, senior director for trial and litigation at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center who until April served as the FEC’s associate general counsel for policy.

And losing that quorum of four commissioners is hardly hypothetical: Republican Commissioner Lee Goodman wants to quit the FEC before Christmas.

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Noti of the Campaign Legal Center added that a commission shutdown could, in the long run, even help the agency by “getting the press to write a bunch of stories about how the commission is powerless, which is the sort of pressure that, finally, could lead to significant changes and stop it from living in this zombie state.” But in the interim, “it is going to lead to confusion and uncertainty.”

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