The second-longest serving Federal Election Commission (FEC) commissioner, a Donald Trump appointee, has claimed that the commission is now "weaponized" against political opponents of the Biden administration.
Commissioner James “Trey” Trainor, appointed in 2020, told a House committee, The problem is stark. It's the growing weaponization of the government to harass and hinder the political participation of our citizenry in the democratic process. The Federal Election Commission has become a weapon."
Specifically, Trainor pointed to prosecutions of politicians (not Trump) and a previous investigation of a pro-Trump Facebook page operator as examples of the weaponization.
“Make no mistake, the current headlines about the criminal prosecution of political actors reflects a trend that is going to continue for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, the commission has become part of that problem,” Trainor, a Texas election lawyer who advised Trump's 2016 campaign, said.
When the FEC entered an agreement with the Biden Justice Department to jointly investigate complaints. As part of the agreement, the DOJ can interfere DOJ in FEC campaign spending investigations and “secretly” share information.
The agreement comes as partisan demands for investigations have exploded.
That agreement, he said, “brings the commission squarely into the fold of executive agencies that routinely share information amongst themselves. Most disturbingly, members of the public are not given notice that their interactions with the FEC are memorialized by bureaucrats and could form the basis of criminal investigations.”
"The process has become the punishment,” he added.
The DOJ even tried to come after Trainor over ethics complaints, but eventually had to clear him because they found no wrongdoing.
“I’m outraged at the enormous waste of time and taxpayer money that was wasted on this matter,” Trainor said in August after the final inspector general report came out.
Trainor put his opening statement out in writing so it could be seen in its completeness. Here it is on Scribd:
Trainor's statement differed greatly from the other five FEC commissioners' statements, which were more general and did not allege any wrongdoing by the agency as a whole.
“This is not just a hypothetical situation, requests by the Department of Justice for us to stand aside so they can pursue a target are on the rise," he said.