Aug 26, 2019

Federal Election Commission effectively shuts down after key resignation

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call

Following the resignation of vice chairman Matthew Petersen on Monday, the Federal Election Commission will be forced to virtually shut down due to a rule requiring a minimum of 4 commissioners to make high-level decisions, per the Center for Public Integrity (CPI).

Why it matters: The FEC is responsible for enforcing campaign finance laws. As the 2020 elections continue to ramp up, the commission's power to keep candidates accountable could be hindered by its inability to issue fines, make rules, conduct and approve audits, and vote on the outcome of investigations.

The big picture: The commission's quorum has been at the minimum threshold for about a year and a half following the resignation of commissioners Ann Ravel in 2017 and Lee Goodman in 2018.

  • So far, President Trump has only nominated 1 person to fill the vacancies on what is meant to be a 6-person commission. The Senate has not yet granted the nominee, Texas attorney Trey Trainor, a confirmation hearing.
  • The last time the commission faced a shutdown of this type was in 2008.

Between the lines: Per CPI, there is a long-standing tradition for the president to nominate commissioners in bipartisan pairs, supporting a rule that no more than 3 commissioners may represent one political party. Trainor's delayed hearing could be a reflection of Trump's failure to offer both parties a nominee.

Go deeper: FEC chair rebukes Trump's 2016 voter fraud claims

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Japan's economy minister outlined plans on Monday to end the nationwide state of emergency as the number of new novel coronavirus cases continues to decline to fewer than 50 a day, per Bloomberg. Japan has reported 16,550 cases and 820 deaths.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.