The resignation of a Republican Federal Election Commissioner this week could be the impetus to remake the nation’s campaign finance watchdog. And for all intents and purposes, it might not make a difference.
Republican commissioner Matthew Peterson announced this week that he will resign from his position effective Aug. 31. That leaves the FEC with just three commissioners, one short of a quorum. By law, the FEC requires a majority of its six commissioners—so four of them—to vote for or against a measure in order to take official action. With just three remaining commissioners, it can’t do so even where there is total consensus on the matter at hand.
That means that as of next week, the commission won’t be able to do much of anything, including pursuing action against violations of campaign finance law in the midst of a heated election cycle.