The deputy head of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) resigned his letter of resignation to President Donald Trump on Monday, disabling the agency to vote on proposed actions as it needs four members for making these decisions, Fox News informed.
Matthew Petersen, a Republican who has served as a commissioner since 2008, said in his resignation that he would leave his post on Saturday.
“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served on the commission,” said his letter, which was posted on the FEC website. “The work of a commissioner is challenging because it involves taking actions that impact the free speech rights of the American people.”
“For this reason, I take satisfaction in having fulfilled my obligation to safeguard First Amendment interests while faithfully administering and enforcing the federal campaign finance laws,” he added.
Petersen was appointed as FEC head twice – in 2010 and 2016 – before he assumed the position of the vice-chairman.
“My friendships with fellow commissioners, my executive assistants, and the FEC staff have been a highlight of my experience at the agency,” Petersen wrote. “I cannot adequately thank everyone for their professionalism, support and decency during my time here.”
Peterson’s resignation blocks FEC votes on any new actions, due to the fact that four members are required so the commission can make decisions. FEC also states that no more than three commissioners can be of the same political party so that these guidelines would facilitate non-partisan decisions.
The remaining commissioners are Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat; Caroline Hunter, a Republican; and Steven Walther, an independent. President Donald Trump nominated Republican attorney Trey Trainor in 2017 to fill a commissioner slot, but the Senate has not yet voted on his nomination.
Petersen complicated the situation even more as the FEC has argued over its overall mission and Trump’s persistent claims of voter fraud.
“It’s not a problem of gridlock, it’s not a problem of disagreement, it’s a problem of half the commissioners don’t agree with the mission of the agency,” Weintraub told The Hill earlier this year.