Sept 16 -19 JNN
….Last week, Matthew Petersen, its Republican vice chairman, resigned, leaving the six-member panel with only three members — one person short of the requisite quorum.
“Without a quorum, certain Commission activities will not take place,” said FEC commissioner Caroline C. Hunter in a statement. “For example, the Commission will not be able to hold meetings, initiate audits, vote on enforcement matters, issue advisory opinions, or engage in rulemakings.”
In one of his last actions, Petersen, along with Hunter, also a Republican, stopped the FEC from using its powers as intended. They blocked an investigation into a report that Alexander Torshin (a Russian central banker close to Russian President Vladimir Putin) and Maria Butina used the NRA as “a conduit” to illegally funnel money between Russia and the Trump campaign.
Butina later pleaded guilty to conspiring to act as an unregistered foreign agent of the Russian state. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison….. As for McConnell, he’s doing nothing to avert potential disaster. No FEC commissioner has been confirmed since McConnell became Senate majority leader. He has thwarted every effort to safeguard our elections from foreign interference. Days after Mueller issued his dire warnings, McConnell blocked two bills designed to heighten election security. “It’s just a highly partisan bill from the same folks who spent two years hyping up a conspiracy theory about President Trump and Russia,” he said.
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Federal Election Commission Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen announced his resignation today.
This means the agency that enforces and regulates the nation’s campaign finance laws will effectively shut down — something that hasn’t happened since 2008 — because it won’t have the legal minimum of four commissioners to make high-level decisions.
Petersen’s resignation, first reported by the Washington Examiner, will throw the FEC into turmoil for weeks — and perhaps months — as the nation enters the teeth of 2020 presidential and congressional elections.
For now, the FEC can’t conduct meetings.
It can’t slap political scofflaws with fines.
It can’t make rules.
It can’t conduct audits and approve them.
It can’t vote on the outcome of investigations.
And while staff will continue to post campaign finance reports and attend to day-to-day functions, the commission itself can’t offer official advice to politicians and political committees who seek it….
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Excerpt Mother Jones>>>
For years, the Federal Election Commission has been barely functional. But at the end of this month—as the 2020 campaign heats up and unprecedented amounts of money flow to candidates for national office—much of the agency’s work will shut down entirely. There will be no new fundraising rules, no punishments for rule-breakers, no decisions about the outcomes of investigations, no advisory opinions issued to candidates who want to know if a specific campaign finance practice is illegal.
That’s because in order to do any of that, the FEC needs a quorum of four of the six members that, by law, make up the commission. As of September, three of those positions will be vacant. Two seats have been unoccupied for months (since 2017 and 2018, respectively). On Monday morning, one of the remaining Republican commissioners announced his resignation as of the end of the month. There’s little indication that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will move the fill the empty seats anytime soon.
The lights at FEC headquarters won’t literally go out—campaigns and political committees will still have to file fundraising reports, and the commission’s staff will still post that information information online. But the commission’s leadership will be unable to take any formal actions. New rules will be frozen. Campaigns and political committees will be unable to get advice from commissioners on how to apply rules. And much of the FEC’s oversight activity will grind to a halt. When commission staff conduct investigations of possible violations, it requires votes from the commissioners for any action to be taken on the outcome of those investigations. Similarly, for fines to be imposed on rule breakers, it requires a vote.