A federal campaign finance watchdog was forced to cancel a meeting so one of its democratic commissioners — who’s known to travel through taxpayer and foreign funding — can present at an event organized by a group that was barred from some U.S. polls, The Daily Caller News Foundation learned.
Commissioner Ellen Weintraub will be in Lithuania Thursday, meaning the Federal Election Commission (FEC) won’t have enough members present to have a quorum. Canceling the meeting puts the FEC on a time crunch to rule on five pending actions.
“@FEC is canceling its scheduled public meeting Thursday because Vice Chair @EllenWeintraub is in Lithuania for meetings and can’t attend,” Center For Public Integrity senior political reporter David Levinthal tweeted Monday.
“There won’t be a quorum. Vice Chair Weintraub won’t be here. If you have questions, you can call her office,” FEC spokeswoman Judith Ingram confirmed to TheDCNF Tuesday.
Weintraub did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
An FEC meeting needs four of the six commissioners present to hold a quorum. But with two vacancies — one of which has been empty for 13 months and the other for seven weeks — all sitting members must be in attendance.
It’s unclear how Weintraub’s trip is being funded. It’s also unclear what’s on the commissioner’s agenda besides a one-hour presentation at an event the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, at least in part, is hosting Thursday.
The group was previously barred from being present at the polls in nine states. The Texas attorney general threatened to arrest the organization’s representatives if they came within 100 feet of a polling place’s entrance.
Meanwhile, there are five issues pending before the FEC that must have a ruling within 60 days of their file dates. The earliest was filed Feb. 28. The FEC will meet again April 26, which is within the required timeframe, but the commissioners often need additional time for debate and research.
Foreign governments and organizations have previously funded Weintraub’s international travel, TheDCNF previously reported. President Donald Trump’s outspoken critic subsequently proposed a plan to prevent foreign influence from U.S. elections. (RELATED: Election Watchdog Featured At Summit Sponsored By Pro-Regulation Groups)
Taxpayers also funded a $9,200 trip to Indonesia Weintraub took in 2013 while the commissioner was serving as the FEC chairwoman, TheDCNF previously reported. (RELATED: FEC Has Kept Documents About Democrats Secret For Years)
Additionally, the FEC has not given TheDCNF any documents regarding Weintraub’s travel formally requested approximately six months ago. Watchdog group Cause of Action Institute also requested the FEC’s inspector general investigate whether Weintraub violated any ethics regulations when she used government property and time to criticize Trump.
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