What happens now?
The impeachment process rolls on this week. In the meantime, the President’s movement to interfere with or outright dismantle things that could interfere with his steady march toward more Russian meddling in our 2020 election continues on.
One thing that has happened is that the Federal Election Commission has lost so many members that it can no longer make a quorum to do its job. https://www.npr.org/2019/08/30/755523088/as-fec-nears-shutdown-priorities-such-as-stopping-election-interference-on-hold
Just what is the FEC’s job? Well, for one thing, it monitors election interference. The official definition is: The Federal Election Commission is an independent regulatory agency whose purpose is to enforce campaign finance law in United States federal elections. They can be found at www.fec.gov.
The current chair of the committee is Ellen L. Weintraub and she has been on multiple talk shows doing her best to let the electorate know about this problem. The three remaining members, and that includes Ms. Weintraub, still have to receive reports on campaign finances from the various campaign committees, and still generate the mandatory reports. But without a quorum, there’s not much else they can do.
The committee had been working on regulations to strengthen disclosure and transparency requirements for online political ads before the required number of members dropped below the minimum, four members. This program would have helped minimize the sort of ads run by Russian operatives in the 2016 election. But now that the committee has only 3 members, that work has had to stop. Ads are already starting to pop up with false information for the 2020 elections so that work was critical.
It’s not all on the President. The members are generally nominated by the two parties. The Republicans have nominated someone, but the Senate is sitting on the nomination. The Democrats haven’t nominated anyone at all. By convention, members are nominated first by one party, then the other, so that if entirely filled, there would be three members nominated by each party.
In the meantime, the lack of a quorum puts the commission in the situation where even if they do find some issues with campaign finances, there isn’t anything they can do about it. Some have estimated that the committee won’t be able to do its work until after the 2020 elections.
That’s a shame. People are starting to lose faith in the electoral process. That’s a disaster for the democratic process. What can we do about it? Write your senators and congress people. It’s their jobs to nominate and confirm. Tell them to get on the ball. Let’s keep the electoral process fair and above board. It’s in all of our best interest.