Lee Goodman, who has been a strong force for deregulating campaign finance law at the Federal Election Commission, has tendered his resignation. (You can listen to my interview with Commissioner Goodman on the ELB Podcast.) With the loss of Commissioner Ann Ravel earlier this year, the FEC is down to four commissioners, and that means the commission will be even more hobbled than it has been by partisan rancor: it takes 4 votes for a quorum. I’m not sure how long some of the other commissioners would like to stay there.
It is pretty clear that if Sen. McConnell wants to have an FEC that can actually vote on things (maybe he doesn’t, but I’m guessing he does because the FEC’s deadlocks have provided a kind of safe harbor for doing things that might seem illegal under campaign finance statutes), there’s going to have to be movement on FEC nominations. So far President Trump nominated Trey Trainor, an attorney from Texas. He’s got some controversial tweets from his past, and this may be stalling his nomination. In earlier times, FEC nominees went up with equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, and it would traditionally be Sen. Schumer (leader of the party opposing the president) who would come up with a name for a Democratic nominee. But with Trump who knows what’s going to happen?