Nominee to Election Watchdog Would Perpetuate Dysfunction at Agency

The Federal Election Commission
The hearing room at the Federal Election Commission. Photo by Casey Atkins/Campaign Legal Center.

In his home state of Texas, James “Trey” Trainor worked to undermine and defund the Ethics Commission tasked with regulating campaign finance laws.

Yet, on March 10, 2020 he will go before the Senate as a nominee for the Federal Election Commission (FEC) – the only government agency solely responsible for enforcing the campaign finance laws for the U.S. House, Senate and presidency.

Why would someone who has gone on the record as being adamantly opposed to the responsibilities of an agency get nominated to serve as a commissioner of that agency?

The cynical, but obvious answer is: to render the agency toothless.

In a recent op-ed, Trevor Potter, president, CLC, former Republican Commissioner and Chair of the Federal Election Commission (FEC), shares how the agency’s dysfunction has failed to protect the voices of voters.

Opponents of campaign finance laws have supported the nomination of FEC commissioners who, like Trainor, have a record of being opposed to the laws the agency enforces. As a result, the FEC has routinely failed to enforce the laws designed to hold candidates accountable.

The failure of the agency to enforce campaign finance laws has resulted in an explosion in secret spending, and our politics increasingly rigged in favor of special interests. For the FEC to do its job to protect the voices of all voters, not just special interests, the agency and the nomination process must be reformed.

Read the full op-ed