The Senate on Tuesday confirmed a conservative Texas lawyer nominated by President Trump to the Federal Election Commission, restoring a voting quorum on the agency for the first time since August amid a mounting backlog of complaints and requests for guidance in an election year.
James E. “Trey” Trainor III, an Austin-based election law attorney, has pushed for less regulation of money in politics and opposed efforts to require politically active nonprofit organizations to disclose their donors. He previously advised the Republican National Committee and Trump during the 2016 election.
The party-line confirmation of Trainor ends the longest period in the agency’s history without a quorum, giving the panel the four votes necessary to regulate and enforce federal campaign finance laws.
With Trainor, the commission is again equally divided ideologically, which could resume the FEC’s practice of often deadlocking on alleged elections violations. Two vacancies remain on the panel, and it is unclear when the Senate will take action to fill them.