Trey Trainor’s Nomination to the FEC Perpetuates Flawed System

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

Senate Republicans announced they will hold a confirmation hearing next week for Federal Election Commission (FEC) nominee Trey Trainor.

Trey Trainor’s nomination as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is yet another example of how the current nomination process continues to produce commissioners who are opposed to the mission of the agency – resulting 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.

The FEC is the only government agency solely responsible for enforcing the laws that govern the federal campaign finance system. In recent years, opponents of campaign finance laws have pushed for the nomination of 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 and their donors accountable.

Trainor’s nomination promises to perpetuate this dysfunction. For example, upholding transparency laws is a key part of the FEC’s mission, but Trainor has questioned the value of disclosing political donors, and falsely claimed the Supreme Court endorsed secret political spending when it has done precisely the opposite.

To reduce political corruption, we need a stronger FEC to enforce campaign finance laws and hold political candidates and their donors accountable. Congress has the power to restructure the FEC and the nomination process to safeguard the agency against divides that have produced an agency that fails to do its job to enforce campaign finance laws and protect the voices of voters.