Legislation & policy analysis

Fourteen Republicans and Democrats call on Trump to fill vacant Federal Election Commission seats

  • William Gray

On Wednesday, Representatives Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Ken Buck (R-CO) and 12 other lawmakers of both parties are calling on President Donald Trump to immediately recommend nominees to fill vacancies on the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

“President Trump has an opportunity to practice what he preached during his campaign — to be the outsider who doesn’t continue this inside-the-beltway game-playing at the nation’s election watchdog. Law enforcement is not, and should not be, a partisan issue,” said Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee. “For far too long, the FEC has been dominated by Commissioners who have put their ideological loyalties above their constitutional duties. They have chosen to “nullify” the law by refusing to take common-sense enforcement actions. He should appoint new FEC Commissioners who commit to actually enforcing the law as it is, not what they might like it to be, in order to ensure everyone plays by the same rules in our elections.”

The Republicans and Democrats signing onto the letter include:

Republicans Democrats
Rep. Ken Buck (CO) Rep. Derek Kilmer (WA)
Rep. Mark Amodei (NV) Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL)
Rep. Lou Barletta (PA) Rep. Seth Moulton (MA)
Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI) Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ)
Rep. Ralph Norman (SC) Rep. Jimmy Panetta (CA)
Rep. Jim Renacci (OH) Rep. Scott Peters (CA)
  Rep. Kathleen Rice (NY)
  Rep. John Sarbanes (MD)


Many of these lawmakers have a history of working together to fix our broken political system, including several who are members of the newly formed Congressional Reformers Caucus (CRC) and others who have co-sponsored legislation to overhaul the FEC (H.R. 2034: The Restoring Integrity to America’s Elections Act). Learn more about the bill here.


Lawmaker Member of CRC Co-sponsor of H.R. 2034
Buck (R-CO) X X
Kilmer (D-WA) X X
Amodei (R-NV)   X
Barletta (R-PA)   X
Bustos (D-IL) X  
Gallagher (R-WI) X  
Moulton (D-MA)   X
Norman (R-SC) X  
O’Halleran (D-AZ) X  
Peters (D-CA) X X
Renacci (R-OH)   X
Rice (D-NY) X X
Sarbanes (D-MD) X X


The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is the independent agency charged with enforcing federal campaign finance laws. Created in 1971, the FEC is comprised of six commissioners. No more than three commissioners may be from the same party (there are currently three Republicans, two Democrats and one independent who caucuses with the Democrats). Currently, two seats on the Commission are empty and Republican Commissioner Matthew Petersen’s further service at the FEC remains in question following his withdrawal as a judicial nominee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Additionally, all current commissioners are also serving on expired terms.