“It’s déjà vu all over again”

With the announcement last week that Commissioner Caroline Hunter (R) plans to resign her seat on the Federal Election Commission (FEC), effective July 3, 2020, the agency finds itself yet again without the minimum four Commissioners necessary to open investigations, defend new lawsuits, and issue advisory opinions. As we blogged recently, the Commission went nearly nine months without a quorum until the confirmation last month of Commissioner James E. “Trey” Trainor.

The White House apparently expected Hunter’s resignation. Within just a few hours of her announcement, the White House announced its intent to nominate Allen Dickerson, the legal director of the Institute for Free Speech, as Hunter’s replacement. No timeline on beginning the confirmation process has been announced.

Since the FEC’s quorum was restored, the Commission has held one public meeting—approving a variety of routine matters, including several advisory opinions and a request to seek comment on whether the Commission should initiate a rulemaking. The Commission also met in executive session, where Commissioners discuss pending enforcement actions, litigation, and other confidential matters. The Commission is currently scheduled to meet again in executive session Tuesday and Thursday this week, which will be the last meetings before a quorum is lost again.

Venable’s Political Law Group represents clients before the Federal Election Commission and helps clients comply with FEC rules and regulations.