Dickerson, Cooksey and Broussard will join Trainor, who is currently president of the agency, alongside Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub and Independent Steven Walther, who has historically voted with Democrat nominees.
This is the first time since 2017 that the agency has a full number and the end of the term of office of the majority of Commissioners expires, during which Commissioners can serve after the end of their term of office until the deputies are confirmed. (Weintraub and Walther are currently serving expired terms.)
Until late, some good government groups sued the agency for lack of enforcement – which, as it had no quorum, was unable to vote for a defense in court, which was a particular frustration for some commissioners.
Of the three new commissioners, Dickerson has the longest publicity. He previously worked as the legal director of the Institute for Freedom of Speech, which generally takes an anti-regulatory approach to campaign finance, arguing that many restrict the rights of the First Amendment. Cooksey was Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) And Broussard was most recently Walther’s adviser.
The strengthening of Broussard is also a historic milestone for the agency, making him the first colorful person to serve as commissioner since the agency was founded in the wake of the Watergate scandal.
Contrary to popular misconception, the FEC does not deal with election administration, its mandate is focused on law enforcement of federal campaign finance. Republicans have long insisted on Weintraub for his remarks on election administration, which go far beyond the agency’s boundaries, where he has been particularly active in cracking down on attacks on letter votes and the integrity of elections.
But by no means alone: Trainor, whose presidency is largely ceremonial and changes every year, has since been “floating theories of unfounded electoral fraud conspiracy”. The Daily Beast recently reported on it, including appearing in extreme media outlets to encourage theories. He quoted the conspiracy theorist Sidney Powell a “rampant voter fraud. “
At the nomination hearing in mid-November, some new commissioners indicated that commissioners had an expanded role in talking about the election.
Dickerson noted that other agencies were better equipped for this task, but Broussard said it was “part of the responsibility” of a commissioner to “promote the integrity of elections”. Cooksey largely agreed that “FEC commissioners are public figures and have broader responsibilities,” going beyond the agency’s campaign finance mandate.