You saw it coming, really. Earlier this month the Chair of the Federal Election Commission sounded the alarm when the Republicans on the committee would not allow her to send a letter formally requesting information on the criminal investigation into the NRA and Russian money. It was clear that the FEC no longer functioned. Now, as of last night, there’s essentially no FEC.
Last night Matthew Petersen resigned from the FEC. That sounds like good news in theory, as he was one of the Republican obstructors. The trouble is, only four of the six FEC seats were filled to begin with, and Petersen’s resignation leaves only three seats filled. By rule, the FEC can only take any action with four votes, which means it literally can’t do anything at all now.
This means the FEC, which had already been made fairly toothless in recent years by a Republican Party that wants elections to be as easily manipulated as possible, no longer has any teeth of any kind. That said, FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub is still trying to fight the good fight.
Ellen Weintraub posted this tweet after Petersen’s resignation: “Make no mistake: Despite FEC Vice Chairman Matt Petersen’s resignation, the FEC will still be able to shine a strong spotlight on the finances of the 2020 campaign. I urge the President to nominate new Commissioners immediately and for the Senate to confirm them quickly.” We hope she’s right.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report