FEC Ineffective Without Quorum

FEC Ineffective Without Quorum
  • FEC’s Matthew Peterson recently resigned as Vice Chairman.
  • This left the agency with too few members to vote.
  • The agency has since used a loophole from 2008 to restore minimal function.
  • Nominations for replacements have yet to be approved by the Senate, and may not be before the 2020 election arrives.

Since the resignation of Republican Vice Chairman Matthew Peterson in late August, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is down to only three members. This is an issue because the organization cannot vote on enforcement actions with fewer than four people involved – and even that is short of the agency’s ideal total of six.

Peterson served with the FEC for 11 years and was originally appointed by President George W. Bush early in his time in office. According to his resignation letter, the right-leaning leader felt that now was “the right time to move on” from his role.

Peterson’s history with the agency has been the subject of much praise. Both the remaining members and previous chairman spoke openly about their admiration for him during his time at the FEC. They cited his greatest achievements as the evolution of election technology during a time of rapid change.

Moving forward, the FEC will be able to vote on some minor issues because of changes made in 2008, a time when the agency was also understaffed. Unfortunately, this will only allow for minimal involvement in the 2020 election.

Efforts to appoint new members have stalled awaiting Senate approval on nominees.

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