Longtime Republican Federal Election Commission appointee Caroline Hunter announced she will resign from the watchdog July 3, leaving the commission once again incapable of enforcing federal campaign finance laws.
The FEC needs at least four members to meet a quorum, let alone make any major enforcement actions on federal election matters. The watchdog had been crippled with only three commissioners for nearly a year until mid-May when the Senate confirmed Texas attorney Trey Trainor to become the watchdog’s fourth active commissioner.
The FEC, which is designed to have six commissioners, issued advisory opinions on three minor campaign finance matters last week during its first and only meeting following Trainor’s nomination.
Hunter’s resignation next Friday will leave the FEC with only three active commissioners once more, rendering it incapable of taking actions on the more than 300 pending complaints alleging violations of campaign finance law, according to Politico, which first reported Hunter’s pending resignation on Friday.
Hunter joined the FEC in June 2008 after being nominated by former President George W. Bush. She served over seven years past her appointed term, which expired in April 2013.
Hunter said in her resignation letter she was proud to have fought against “unnecessary government regulations and unfair enforcement actions” during her tenure with the FEC.
She also called for a new slate of FEC commissioners in her resignation letter.
“The FEC would benefit greatly from new faces and fresh perspectives,” Hunter wrote. “It needs Commissioners who will respect the First Amendment, understand the limits of the FEC’s jurisdiction, and remember that Congress established the FEC to prevent single-party control, with every significant decision requiring bipartisan approval.”
The FEC’s lone Democrat, Ellen Weintraub, lamented that the FEC will lose its quorum just weeks after regaining it with Trainor’s confirmation.
“It’s keenly disappointing for the FEC to lose its quorum just a blink of an eye after we regained it,” Weintraub said. “But of course I wish Caroline well in this and all her future endeavors.”
It’s keenly disappointing for @FEC to lose its quorum just a blink of an eye after regaining it. But I wish Caroline well now & in the future.
— Ellen L Weintraub (@EllenLWeintraub) June 26, 2020
Hunter will join the legal team of the nonprofit group Stand Together following her resignation. The group, which was founded by the Koch brothers, focuses on a variety of issues ranging from criminal justice reform to immigration and trade policies.
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