Advocates urge Trump, Congress to nominate tough watchdogs to FEC | TheHill – The Hill

A coalition of advocacy groups, led by the Campaign Legal Center, wrote to President TrumpDonald John TrumpCoalition forms to back Trump rollback of major environmental law Canadian CEO blasts Trump over downed plane in Iran: ‘I am livid’ Business groups worry they won’t see a Phase 2 Trump-China trade deal MORE and congressional leaders on Monday, urging the nomination of federal election commissioners who will take a tough approach to enforcing campaign laws.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC), the government’s campaign watchdog, only has three of six commissioners, one shy of a quorum. Former FEC Vice President Matthew Petersen resigned in August and, since then, the organization has been unable to do its job of enforcing campaign laws.

“Under no circumstances should the President nominate or the Senate confirm any individual who is opposed — whether for ideological, professional, or any other reason — to the enforcement of the duly enacted laws and regulations that protect the transparency and fairness of our elections,” the advocacy groups wrote in their letter Monday.

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The coalition wants Trump and Congress to approve enough commissioners to restore the quorum ahead of the 2020 election so that the FEC can enforce campaign laws. The FEC is responsible for investigations into possible campaign violations, auditing campaign committees and issuing fines for those who break campaign finance law, such as the ban on contributions from foreign nationals.

“Rushing to confirm a new slate of Commissioners that includes nominees who are opposed to campaign finance laws would only extend this disturbing status quo,” they wrote.

The letter also calls for establishing a nonpartisan panel to identify candidates for the FEC.

Common Cause, Communications Workers of America, Democracy 21 and Public Citizen, among others, are in the coalition. They sent the letter to Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi: Trump is ‘impeached for life’ Trump hits Senate for giving impeachment ‘credibility’ by holding trial Trump bemoans ‘stigma’ of impeachment MORE (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCongressional leaders have been shadow boxing on impeachment Pelosi set to send impeachment articles to the Senate next week Enes Kanter sees political stardom — after NBA and WWE MORE (D-N.Y.), and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntMcConnell tells GOP senators to expect impeachment trial next week Pressure building on Pelosi over articles of impeachment Overnight Defense: Iran crisis eases as Trump says Tehran ‘standing down’ | Dems unconvinced on evidence behind Soleimani strike | House sets Thursday vote on Iran war powers MORE (R-Mo.) and ranking member Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharButtigieg picks up Iowa congressman’s endorsement ahead of caucuses Steyer says ‘grassroots organizing’ in Nevada, South Carolina got him on debate stage The Memo: Four Democrats race for Iowa prize MORE (D-Minn.).

It follows a letter sent to Trump and congressional leaders last week by lobbyists and lawyers who specialize in U.S. elections, urging confirmation of another federal election commissioner.

The three current commissioners are all ineligible for reappointment, and with no new appointments it is unclear when the deadlock will be resolved. The FEC has not been left without a quorum since 2008. 

The Trump administration and Congress have not indicted that nominating commissioners is a priority ahead of the 2020 election.