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Deal to revive FEC could include its first African-American member

It's been a dozen days since the Federal Election Commission lost its quorum, and subsequently its ability to perform most of its duties in enforcing campaign finance law. With only three commissioners on the job, and four required to take any action, the fall's first regularly scheduled meeting was canceled Thursday.

President Trump and the Senate have the power to restore full functionality to the FEC with relative speed, but the partisanship that's deadlocked the agency for years is clogging the process even as the 2020 campaign heats up.

Democratic senators are proposing seating one new commissioner from each party, according to the Center for Public Integrity, which reports that the consensus choice for the Democratic spot is Shana Broussard, an FEC attorney who would be the first African-American commissioner in the FEC's 44-year history.

Republicans are proposing the FEC be restocked with six new commissioners, in part because the three now on the job are all continuing to serve (as the law allows) even though their terms have expired.

President Trump two years ago offered a single nominee, Republican attorney Trey Trainor of Austin. By law no more than three FEC commissioners may be from one party. The current commissioners are the Democratic chairwoman, Ellen Weintraub, Republican Caroline Hunter and independent Steven Walther.

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Neal is federal government affairs manager at R Street Institute, a nonpartisan and pro-free-market public policy research organization.

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