Campaign watchdogs cite ‘significant concerns’ if Texas lawyer Trey Trainor gets FEC post

By: Caroline Kelly, Dallas Morning News, September 27, 2017

WASHINGTON — Campaign watchdog groups blasted Austin lawyer Trey Trainor on Wednesday, warning senators that his ties to the White House and views on campaign finance should raise “significant concerns” should he win a spot on the Federal Election Commission.

Ten groups wrote a letter to senators expressing their concerns, though they stopped short of urging the Senate to reject the nomination.

“Americans expect and deserve an FEC that does not allow special interest to run roughshod over our campaign finance laws, and the Senate must take great care to make sure Trey Trainor is not just another fox to guard the henhouse,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, President of Common Cause. “Trainor has exhibited an open contempt for many of the campaign finance laws he would be charged with enforcing at the FEC which is deeply troubling at a time when the agency is mired in dysfunction, unable or unwilling to enforce the laws passed by Congress.”

President Donald Trump nominated Trainor earlier this month. The FEC enforces federal campaign finance laws. The pick is subject to Senate approval.

Although he initially backed Sen. Ted Cruz in the 2016 GOP primary, Trainor later provided legal advice to Trump during a delegate fight at the party’s convention. During the transition, he worked for James Mattis, now the secretary of defense. He has served as Texas GOP general counsel since June and has a long history in conservative politics in Austin.

The groups critical of his nomination argue that due to his ties to Trump, Trainor would need to recuse himself from any “pending FEC enforcement matters” on Russian meddling in the election, as well as with Trump’s campaign.

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