When the FEC was established following amendments to FECA in 1974, there were no proposed limits on commissioner terms. In 1997, the Treasury and Government Appropriations Act mandated that commissioners may serve a single six-year term, with no opportunity for reappointment. These term limits still apply today. When a commissioner’s term expires, they may choose to continue serving in holdover status until they are replaced. If a commissioner is confirmed in the middle of a term, they may be replaced at the beginning of a new term, so it is also possible for a commissioner to serve fewer than six years. Currently, three out of the six commissioners are in holdover status, and the other three are serving in terms that have not yet expired.
Under the current appointment structure, the Senate minority and majority leaders recommend commissioner candidates to the president who then nominates individuals to the commission. Nominees are then confirmed by the Senate.
Since December 2020, the FEC has been at full capacity with six commissioners. Three are currently serving in “holdover” status after their terms expired.
- FEC Chair Shana M. Broussard (D) was nominated by President Donald J. Trump and confirmed in December 2020. Her term is set to expire in 2023.
- FEC Vice Chair Allen J. Dickerson (R) was nominated by President Trump and confirmed in December 2020. His term is set to expire in 2025.
- Sean J. Cooksey (R) was nominated by President Trump and confirmed in December 2020. His term expired in April of 2021.
- James E. “Trey” Trainor III (R) was nominated by President Trump and confirmed in May 2020. His term is set to expire in 2023.
- Steven T. Walther (I) was first sworn in as a recess appointee in 2006 under President George W. Bush. He has served in holdover status since his term expired in April 2009.
- Ellen L. Weintraub (D) joined the FEC as a recess appointee in December 2002 under President George W. Bush. She has served as a holdover commissioner since her term expired in April 2007.
The inside story of the FEC:
- Was campaign finance an issue when George Washington was president?
- What is the FEC?
- The FEC seems stuck on the sidelines
- The FEC commissioners debate what “deadlocks” even mean