The Federal Election Commission no longer has a quorum, and after Friday, there may be no enforcement of federal campaign finance laws ahead of the 2020 election, but that doesn't mean there will be a "legal free zone," according to former FEC Chairman Michael Toner.
"Public disclosure reports will continue to be due and will need to be filed by campaigns and PACs and committees, and those reports will be reviewed by the FEC staff just as they always are, so that's important," Toner told NPR.
Further, there is a five-year statute of limitations on campaign finance violations, and complaints can still be filed even if the agency doesn't have a quorum.
The FEC's website will remain online so the public can get information on campaign spending and fundraising.
FEC vice-chairman Matthew Peterson resigned earlier this week, effective as of Saturday, meaning the commission will have just three members. The commission must have at least four members in order to conduct official duties, like investigating campaign finance violations, issuing fines, and more.
President Donald Trump has nominated Republican Trey Trainor to join the commission, but the Senate hasn't acted yet on his nomination. Nominees usually join the FEC in pairs, with one member from each party, but congressional Democrats haven't announced any nominees.
But still, the lack of a quorum is "deeply concerning," Daniel Weiner, a former senior counsel for the FEC, told NPR.
"After 2016, it's become very clear that it is almost certain that the Russian government and potentially other U.S. rivals will seek to interfere in the U.S. election, including through online propaganda, cybersecurity incursions, and other tactics," he said.
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.