The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has become powerless at the most inopportune of times.
George W. Bush appointee Matthew Peterson, a Republican, has resigned from his position on the FEC panel effective Aug. 31, according to The Washington Post.
No Quorum, No Power
By law, the FEC must have four panel members to hold a quorum. Once Peterson leaves his post, there will only be three members remaining.
Although the FEC has six slots available, two of those slots have remained vacant for years. In fact, every current member — including Peterson — has served far beyond their initial appointment. (The representatives generally serve six-year terms.)
The three remaining members of the panel will now not be able to rule on anything until they meet the quorum minimum.
Considering how much of a focus there currently is on the integrity of our elections, the timing of Peterson’s resignation could not be worse.
Repeal and Replace
The current makeup of the panel without Peterson will be one Republican, one Democrat, and one independent.
The diversity on the panel is done by design, as no party affiliation can be represented in more than three slots.
While the White House has not yet commented on this matter, it is believed that an entirely new slate of panel members may soon be nominated. As an aide to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, replacing the entire panel would go a long way in rebuilding the confidence in both the commission as well as our elections.
Trump actually has one nomination that has already been presented, but the Senate has failed to act on the nomination as of yet.
That nominee, James E. Trainor III, hails from Texas and has been awaiting his confirmation hearing since September 2017.
Now, though, with only three members on the panel, the Senate will have no choice but to act expeditiously not only on Trainor’s nomination, but on any other nominations Trump puts forward to fill out the panel.