Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United Action Fund, issued the following statement on news that Senate Republicans are proceeding to nominate Trey Trainor to the Federal Election Commission (FEC):
“A full and functioning FEC is a vital organ in our democracy. The Commission’s work in upholding election laws and holding candidates and outside groups accountable is critical to ensuring that our elections are free from foreign interference and corruption.
“Senate Republicans’ decision to move forward with Trey Trainor’s nomination is an overt power grab and an affront to what the FEC stands for. The appointment of Trainor, who has been described as a ‘mega advocate’ for deregulating campaign finance laws and dark money, would be a disaster for our democracy. His appointment would embolden billionaires and corporate special interests to brazenly abuse and manipulate the system.
“End Citizens United unequivocally rejects Trey Trainor’s nomination to the FEC. We must restore the enforcement power of the commission by appointing leaders who will uphold the law and fight for transparency.”
Trey Trainor’s record as a “mega advocate” for deregulating the campaign finance system and dark money is extensive. Trainor represented the biggest dark money group in Texas, Empower Texans, in a legal battle over disclosing its donors to the Texas Ethics Commission. In 2015, Trainor argued against a Texas House measure for disclosing dark money donors in the state. Trainor has also supported efforts to defund Texas’ ethics commission and to weaken the state’s ethics laws. Trainor’s previous nomination to the FEC was opposed by a coalition of good government and watchdog groups because of his efforts to gut campaign finance laws.
The For the People Act (H.R. 1/S. 949) would make crucial reforms to the FEC to ensure that the agency is not mired in partisan gridlock and has real enforcement power. The provisions laid out in the For the People Act include restructuring the Federal Election Commission to break gridlock and making the FEC’s civil penalty authority permanent.