Donate
News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.
MOST READ
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Caroline Hunter's departure leaves the campaign finance regulator without a quorum until her would-be successor, Allen Dickerson, is confirmed.

FEC will be in limbo again after just 29 days of minimal life

UPDATES with President Trump's nominee for the new vacancy.

The Federal Election Commission will be totally toothless once again.

Commissioner Caroline Hunter announced Friday that she's resigning at the end of next week, leaving the panel with just three members and therefore no quorum.

Her departure will come just 29 days after the arrival of fellow Republican Trey Trainor, a Texas campaign finance attorney. His party-line confirmation by the Senate in May restored a quorum to the commission for the first time in more than nine months — the longest period in the 45-year history of the agency charged with regulating donations to and spending by campaigns.

Keep reading... Show less
Caroline Brehman/Getty Images

Three years after being nominated to the FEC, Republican Trey Trainor was finally confirmed by the Senate last month.

FEC begins new chapter with Trainor at the helm

The Federal Election Commission is back in business with a restored quorum and Republican Trey Trainor at the helm. Now all it needs is unanimity among its partisan commissioners.

Trainor was named chairman during the agency's public meeting on Thursday — its first since August 2019. Each commissioner is only intended to serve as chairman once during their six-year term, and since the other three members have already done so multiple times, the role went to Trainor.

His addition to the agency has not been without criticism. Since Trainor was first nominated to the FEC by President Trump in 2017, Democrats and good-government groups have been opposed to his confirmation due to his deregulatory approach to campaign finance laws.

Keep reading... Show less
Caroline Brehman/Getty Images

A party-line vote in the Republican Senate put conservative Texas attorney Trey Trainor on the Federal Election Commission.

Campaign watchdog agency can reopen — but has no new ability to function

After 262 days in limbo, the Federal Election Commission can operate again. But a toxic mix of partisanship and the agency's own rules provides little hope the campaign finance regulator will soon function.

The doors can symbolically reopen because the Senate voted Tuesday, 49-43 along party lines, to confirm conservative Texas attorney Trey Trainor as a commissioner — ending the longest period ever when the panel lacked the four-person quorum required to conduct business.

But it also takes four votes to do anything consequential. And the even partisan split Trainor creates means the FEC is returning to its life for the past decade — at an impasse on almost every question about enforcing the limited laws of money in politics. The persistent deadlock is one of the main reasons the campaign finance system is derided by critics as out of control.

Keep reading... Show less
Big Picture
Douglas Graham/Getty Images

Former Common Cause President Ann McBride Norton

First woman to run Common Cause, back when political reform was bipartisan, has died

Ann McBride Norton, who was among the earliest Republican volunteers and later the first female president of Common Cause, one of the nation's original and most influential democracy reform groups, has died.

Her death, at her home in Washington on Wednesday at age 75, was caused by complications from Alzheimer's disease, according to a daughter, the pop rock musician Mary McBride.

She was known as Ann McBride during her 27-run at Common Cause, which ended in 1999 after four years in the top job as successor to the organization's longtime third president, the legendary good governance impresario Fred Wertheimer.

Keep reading... Show less
© Issue One. All rights reserved.