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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

8 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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