WTF Community

2020 General Election


#263

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said on Wednesday night that she believed President Trump was a white supremacist, broadly accusing him of dividing Americans along racial lines and providing direct and tacit support to those who believe white people are superior to other races.

Asked in a brief interview with The New York Times if she thought Mr. Trump was a white supremacist, Ms. Warren responded without hesitation: “Yes.”

“He has given aid and comfort to white supremacists,” Ms. Warren said during a campaign swing in western Iowa. “He’s done the wink and a nod. He has talked about white supremacists as fine people. He’s done everything he can to stir up racial conflict and hatred in this country.”

Ms. Warren’s comments amounted to one of the starkest condemnations to date from a leading Democratic presidential candidate about Mr. Trump’s language toward minorities and immigrants. She spoke hours after former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas gave the same assessment of Mr. Trump. Asked by MSNBC if Mr. Trump was a white supremacist, Mr. O’Rourke replied, “He is.”

“He’s dehumanized or sought to dehumanize those who do not look like or pray like the majority here in this country,” Mr. O’Rourke said.

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another leading candidate for the Democratic nomination, also believes Mr. Trump is a white supremacist. Mr. Sanders was asked on CNN on Sunday if he believed the president was “a white supremacist or a white nationalist,” and Mr. Sanders replied, “I do.” A senior campaign official confirmed on Thursday that Mr. Sanders believed Mr. Trump was both.


#264

Exclusive: Critical U.S. Election Systems Have Been Left Exposed Online Despite Official Denials

The top voting machine company in the country insists that its election systems are never connected to the internet. But researchers found 35 of the systems have been connected to the internet for months and possibly years, including in some swing states.

By Kim Zetter

Aug 8 2019, 10:55am

For years, U.S. election officials and voting machine vendors have insisted that critical election systems are never connected to the internet and therefore can’t be hacked.

But a group of election security experts have found what they believe to be nearly three dozen backend election systems in 10 states connected to the internet over the last year, including some in critical swing states. These include systems in **nine Wisconsin counties, in four Michigan counties, and in seven Florida counties—**all states that are perennial battlegrounds in presidential elections.

Some of the systems have been online for a year and possibly longer. Some of them disappeared from the internet after the researchers notified an information-sharing group for election officials last year. But at least 19 of the systems, including one in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, were still connected to the internet this week, the researchers told Motherboard.

The researchers and Motherboard have been able to verify that at least some of the systems in Wisconsin, Rhode Island, and Florida are in fact election systems. The rest are still unconfirmed, but the fact that some of them appeared to quickly drop offline after the researchers reported them suggests their findings are on the mark.

“We … discovered that at least some jurisdictions were not aware that their systems were online,” said Kevin Skoglund, an independent security consultant who conducted the research with nine others, all of them long-time security professionals and academics with expertise in election security. Skoglund is also part of an advisory group, not associated with the research, that is working with the National Institute of Standards and Technologyto develop new cybersecurity standards for voting machines. “In some cases, [the vendor was] in charge [of installing the systems] and there was no oversight. Election officials were publicly saying that their systems were never connected to the internet because they didn’t know differently."

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The systems the researchers found are made by Election Systems & Software, the top voting machine company in the country. They are used to receive encrypted vote totals transmitted via modem from ES&S voting machines on election night, in order to get rapid results that media use to call races, even though the results aren’t final.

Generally, votes are stored on memory cards inside the voting machines at polling places. After an election, poll workers remove these and drive them to county election offices. But some counties want to get their results faster, so they use wireless modems, either embedded in the voting machines or externally connected to them, to transmit the votes electronically. The system that receives these votes, called an SFTP server, is connected to the internet behind a Cisco firewall.

For security reasons, the SFTP server and firewall are only supposed to be connected to the internet for a couple of minutes before an election to test the transmission, and then for long enough after an election to transmit the votes. But the researchers found some of the systems connected to the internet for months at a time, and year-round for others, making them vulnerable to hackers.

Hacking the firewall and SFTP server would allow an attacker to potentially intercept the results as they’re transmitted and send fake results to the FTP server, depending on how securely the ES&S system authenticates the data. Although the election results that are transmitted via modem are unofficial—official votes are taken directly from the voting machine memory cards when they arrive at county offices—a significant discrepancy between the unofficial tallies and the official ones would create mistrust in the election results and confusion about which ones were accurate.

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“These are all secure technologies that if [configured] correctly work just fine. It’s just that we have no faith that they are done correctly.”

But Motherboard has learned that connected to the firewalls are even more critical backend systems—the election-reporting module that tabulates the unofficial votes as well as the official ones, and the election-management system that is used in some counties to program voting machines before elections. The researchers said that gaining access through the firewall to these systems could potentially allow a hacker to alter official election results or subvert the election-management system to distribute malware to voting machines through the USB flash drives that pass between this system and the voting machines.


Online, the researchers can only see the firewalls configured in front of these systems and cannot see anything behind them—a federal law makes it illegal for them to probe beyond the firewall. But ES&S documents posted online in various counties show that these critical backend systems are connected to the firewall, and ES&S also confirmed to Motherboard that this is the correct architecture in counties that want to transmit results electronically.

ES&S has long insisted that election-management systems are air-gapped—that is, not connected to the internet or connected to any other system that is connected to the internet—and the company insists to Motherboard that the diagram it provided isn’t showing them connected to the internet.

“There’s nothing connected to the firewall that is exposed to the internet,” Gary Weber, vice president of software development and engineering for ES&S, told Motherboard. “Our [election-management system] is not pingable or addressable from the public internet.” This makes them invisible to bad actors or unauthorized users, he said.

1565282528251-image3

ES&S DIAGRAM SHOWING THE CONFIGURATION FOR THE CISCO ASA FIREWALL THAT SITS ON THE INTERNET IN FRONT OF AN FTP SERVER THAT RECEIVES VOTES TRANSMITTED FROM VOTING MACHINES. (THE FTP SERVER IS LABELED HERE AS DATA COMM RMS, FOR RESULTS MANAGEMENT SYSTEM). THE DIAGRAM ALSO SHOWS THE BACKEND ELECTION-MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (EMS), WHICH IS USED IN SOME JURISDICTIONS TO PROGRAM VOTING MACHINES BEFORE EACH ELECTION, AND THE REPORTING SYSTEM (EMS CLIENT) THAT COLLECTS VOTES FROM THE FTP SERVER AND TABULATES THE RESULTS. ELEVEN STATES USE ES&S’S DS200 OPTICAL SCAN MACHINES WITH MODEMS TO TRANSMIT RESULTS ON ELECTION NIGHT (THE NUMBER OF COUNTIES IN A STATE THAT DO THIS VARIES). IMAGE: ES&S

But Skoglund said this “misrepresents the facts.” Anyone who finds the firewall online also finds the election-management system connected to it.

“It is not air-gapped. The EMS is connected to the internet but is behind a firewall,” Skoglund said. “The firewall configuration [that determines what can go in and out of the firewall]… is the only thing that segments the EMS from the internet.”

And misconfigured firewalls are one of the most common ways hackers penetrate supposedly protected systems. The recent massive hack of sensitive Capital One customer data is a prime example of a breach enabled by a poorly configured firewall.

“If they did everything correctly [with the ES&S systems] as they say they do, there is no danger,” Robert Graham, CEO of Errata Security, told Motherboard. “These are all secure technologies that if [configured] correctly work just fine. It’s just that we have no faith that they are done correctly. And the fact that [election officials are] saying they aren’t on the internet and yet they are on the internet shows us that we have every reason to distrust them.”

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Even proper configurations won’t secure a firewall if the firewall software itself has security vulnerabilities that allow intruders to bypass all the authentication checks, whitelisting rules, and other security parameters set in the firewall’s configuration file.

“If this system hasn’t been patched and has a critical vulnerability… you may be able to subvert any kind of security scheme that you’ve put in place,” Skoglund told Motherboard.

“Not only should ballot tallying systems not be connected to the internet, they shouldn’t be anywhere near the internet.”

While no one is suggesting that any of these systems have been manipulated or hacked, the findings highlight how little local and federal election officials understand how these critical election systems are really configured and connected, and the extent to which they are beholden to what the vendors tell them.

Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said the findings are “yet another damning indictment of the profiteering election vendors, who care more about the bottom line than protecting our democracy.” It’s also an indictment, he said, “of the notion that important cybersecurity decisions should be left entirely to county election offices, many of whom do not employ a single cybersecurity specialist.”


#265

When will Hickenlooper take the hint and move into the CO Senate race…this would be the time. The Dems need the Senate for any real momentum and change. He is stubbornly holding on…keeping himself in the national spotlight.

Democratic group urges John Hickenlooper to run for Senate in Colorado - Axios

Why it matters: Hickenlooper would almost certainly win the nomination for Senate — he’s favored by 61% of Democratic primary voters in Colorado, according to a new poll by the Garin-Hart-Yang Research Group.

  • The same is harder to see at this point in the cycle for his presidential fortunes.
  • He has been polling between 0% and 1% since the beginning of 2019.
  • Several of his top staffers ditched him after the first debate, leaving his presidential campaign in shambles.

"It’s a big sacrifice for Hickenlooper, but a sacrifice that America needs," said Josh Morrow, 314 Action’s executive director.

  • The Hickenlooper campaign declined to comment.

The backstory: Morrow told Axios he’s heard from Democrats in Colorado close to Hickenlooper, as well as many among their organization’s nearly 1 million members, who are yearning for him to drop out.

  • “We’re hoping John understands there’s a real need for him in the Senate to put this country back to normal,” Morrow said.
  • They’ve monitored Hickenlooper’s stagnant polling and low fundraising numbers throughout the cycle, and they think their grassroots network of Democratic supporters can help raise at least $500,000 for him through small-dollar donors.
  • The group bought the homepage ad on the Denver Post’s website for the entire day tomorrow, and they’re placing digital ads around the country to raise money for this effort.
  • If he doesn’t decide to run, Morrow said all the donations will be refunded.

UPDATE: 8/13/19 NYT points to his changing status

Ok …pending departure for Hickenlooper from Presidential campaign and entry to Senate Race.


#266

Maddow flashed a USA map on her show last night and here’s where T performance as President is ‘underwater.’ or unfavorable/disapprove. These polls are good guesses, but never leave any doubt that the T campaign is well underway to thwart those numbers. :frowning:

https://civiqs.com/results/approve_president_trump?annotations=true&uncertainty=true&zoomIn=true&utm_campaign=ticker


#267

:eyes::raised_hands::heart_eyes:


#268

Another Republican running scared as the blue tsunami catches up with him. :ocean:

BTW, love that “Texodus” is trending – let’s keep it in the headlines!

Rep. Michael McCaul does not have to be here, at Carl’s BBQ on the side of a highway, in a wood-paneled backroom, seated at a bare table in front of a stuffed, life-size buck whose antlers hold a sign saying, “NEVER moon a werewolf.”

He doesn’t have to drive east two and a half hours from his home in Austin to find brisket this good, but here is where his voters are. And after the last election, his worst in his 15-year political career, the Republican congressman decided he needs to campaign for them like never before.

McCaul could be forgiven for retiring. In the past four weeks, four of his fellow Texas Republican colleagues have done so – a political phenomenon nicknamed “Texodus” – including two members who represent suburban districts similar to McCaul’s. The Democrats flipped the House in 2018, suddenly making life miserable for GOP members now in the minority, and targeted half a dozen of the members of Congress in Texas, including him. To win, McCaul has to, for the first time, actually try; His once-safe district stretching from Austin to Houston is changing faster than he expected, threatening to throw him out.

On [the 2018] Election Night, McCaul was shocked, confident in the polling that showed him winning with about 57% of the vote against Mike Siegel, an attorney for Austin and first-time congressional candidate, rather than the four-point nail biter it was. “Ignorance is bliss,” joked McCaul.

McCaul barely escaped, but others weren’t so lucky. The midterm elections under President Donald Trump sunk Republicans in suburban districts across the country, including two in Texas, one of which had not been served by a Democrat since George H.W. Bush won it in 1966.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the House Democrats’ campaign arm, saw its success in southern California in 2018 flipping suburban seats and are trying to replicate it in the so-called Texas Triangle. This election cycle, it established headquarters in Austin and plans to open local offices later this year and next.

[Shameless aside: Proud to say I’m one of the Democratic troopers who helped flip CA-49 from Red to Blue in 2018! And we’re now hard at work to ensure our awesome Rep., Mike Levin, wins again in 2020. You can support his campaign at ActBlue.com. Hint. Hint.]

Rep. Marc Veasey, a Texas Democrat, said the population explosion could yield the state two or three more congressional seats after the next census. But he said that rapid demographic change was just one reason why these suburban seats have become competitive after so long, saying the voters "have really had enough of this President – and Republicans not pushing back against a lot of what they see as wrong for the country."

Democrats pledge to out-work McCaul since they can never out raise him; He’s one of the wealthiest members of Congress. In the stifling August heat one recent evening in Austin, [candidate Shannon] Hutcheson took her two daughters and brother-in-law to knock on dozens of doors. Hutcheson described her pitch as a mother motivated to run by the election of Trump and the desire to finally give women a seat at the table.

“This is a tough thing to do,” said Hutcheson. "It is not for the faint of heart, but I’m doing it because I absolutely believe that we have to stand up. We have to stand up against hate. We have to stand up for the working families who aren’t being listened to and aren’t being represented – families like the one I grew up in."

It was her first door-knocking experience and she worked hard – and succeeded – in winning over some votes for the primary. In the leafy neighborhood, she even came across some deer, opened her arms and told them, “I’m running for Congress!”


#269

Meanwhile, in Iowa, Republican Rep. Steve King’s re-election campaign is off to a flying start…

UPDATE: The estimated crowd size has been cut by 50% (from two attendees to one). Turns out that the woman on the left is a staffer. Oh, and BTW, the woman on the right, who is the only person attending, is a Democrat – there to check out the opposition!


This is the Steve King who holds the dubious distinction of making even more outrageous claims than Trump:


#270

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, speaking at a presidential forum on Native American issues on Monday, offered a direct, public apology for the “harm” that she caused and pledged to uplift Native people as president.

Ms. Warren was met with a standing ovation when she took the stage, and she began by addressing the controversy over her past claims of Native American ancestry.

“Like anyone who’s being honest with themselves, I know that I have made mistakes,” Ms. Warren said. “I am sorry for harm I have caused. I have listened and I have learned a lot, and I am grateful for the many conversations that we’ve had together.”

She continued, “It is a great honor to be able to partner with Indian Country, and that’s what I’ve tried to do as a senator, and that’s what I promise I will do as president of the United States of America.”

Ms. Warren, in keeping with her reputation as the presidential candidate with an enormous collection of detailed plans, has made a concerted effort to develop a policy agenda that would help Native Americans.

But her appearance at the forum, held at a theater in Sioux City, was closely watched because of the long-running controversy over the ancestry claims, an issue that is certain to be used against her if she is the Democratic nominee. Ms. Warren faced criticism from some Native Americans last year after she released the results of a DNA test that provided evidence she had a Native American ancestor. After entering the presidential race, she apologized for the DNA test and for identifying herself as Native American during her career as a law professor.

On Friday, Ms. Warren rolled out a set of proposals intended to help Native Americans, covering topics like tribal sovereignty and missing indigenous women. She also released a wide-ranging legislative proposal with Representative Deb Haaland, Democrat of New Mexico and one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. The proposal covers areas like criminal justice, health care and education.

Thread from “Native” twitter, click tweet to read full thread. :point_down:

And this thread covers the views of the most vocal critics from Cherokee Nation :point_down:

This is such a nuanced story, please read what the critics have to say and understand how racism is still very much alive for many many indigenous Peoples in America.

Friendly reminder: You can have indigenous ancestors but unless you’re active in a tribal community or enrolled in a tribe, you should not claim to be native. Native Tribal citizens are the only ethnic identity in America that actually have a legal definition, any claim otherwise under cuts the sovereignty of Indigenous Nations and their right to self-determination.


#271

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who has centered his 2020 campaign around climate change policy, was not one of the nine Democratic presidential candidates who qualified for an invite to CNN’s climate change town hall in September.

Why it matters: Several polls point to climate change as a top issue for Democratic voters, but Inslee, whose proposals and debate appearanceshave been focused on severing the U.S. from fossil fuel dependency, is still polling around 1%.

  • CNN said it would extend invitations to candidates who reach 2% in at least four DNC-approved polls conducted between June 28 and Aug. 21. Candidates have until Wednesday to qualify for the Sept. 4 town hall, so it means Inslee will likely end up being locked out.

The lineup:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.)
  • South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.)
  • Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (Texas)
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.)
  • Andrew Yang
  • Worth noting: Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.) was invited, but declined due to a scheduling conflict.

#272

I don’t normally post about the more back and forth stuff that’s happening on the Dems side but this is a total power play move. By taking this strong position Warren sets the argument for her policy as well putting herself in clear contrast to both Biden and Harris past and present. It’ll be interesting to see the responses of the other candidates as well.

Elizabeth Warren subtly distinguished herself from rivals Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Tuesday as she laid out her plan for criminal justice reform.

In a lengthy, detailed plan posted on Medium, Warren called for the repeal of the 1994 crime bill — which Biden helped write as a senator — and for the federal government to push states and localities to decriminalize school truancy, in contrast to the stiffer penalties Harris championed during her career in California.

She saw an opening to pivot the whole debate back to policy, her policy and she just took it.


#273

Upcoming debate status:

The debate will be held at Texas Southern University, a public, historically black university, and will air across ABC, Univision with a Spanish translation, locally on KTRK-TV and on ABC News Live. The streaming channel is available on the ABCNews.comwebsite and apps, as well as Hulu Live, The Roku Channel, Facebook Watch, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, YouTube, Apple News and Twitter.

If 10 or fewer candidates are certified by the Democratic National Committee to participate, the debate will take place on one night.

If more than 10 candidates qualify under the rules, the debate will take place over two nights. For the two-night scenario, ABC News in accordance with the DNC will hold a selection event on Aug. 29 to randomly assign the candidates to a night. The format of the debate will be one minute and 15 seconds for direct responses to questions and 45 seconds for rebuttals.

So far, 10 candidates have qualified for the third round of debates, according to an ABC News analysis of publicly released information and pending verification by the DNC after the qualifying deadline, including:

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden
  • New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker
  • South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro
  • California Sen. Kamala Harris
  • Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar
  • Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  • Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders
  • Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang

Earlier this year, prior to the first Democratic debates, the DNC announced more stringent qualifying rules for the fall debates in September and October. Details for the October debate have not yet been announced.


#274

Jay Inslee quits the race on #maddow show

He’s got a powerful voice for climate change…he’s going to keep fighting.


#275

:clap:

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper will run for Senate, sources familiar with the governor’s decision told The Denver Post.

Hickenlooper told a congressional Democrat of his decision to run this week, according to a source familiar with the conversation. Two other sources close to the governor confirmed the decision. All declined to be identified to preserve their relationships with the candidate.

Partisan control of the U.S. Senate hangs on a handful of key races, including Colorado’s. Cory Gardner, Colorado’s junior senator, is considered one of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans up for re-election in 2020, and national Democrats, who want to leave nothing to chance, see Hickenlooper as the best chance to beat him.

Yes, we can take the Senate! Let’s do it! :muscle: :ocean:


#276

Representative Seth Moulton of Massachusetts is dropping out of the presidential race, ending a candidacy that emphasized Mr. Moulton’s centrist politics and military service but gained no traction with Democratic primary voters.

Mr. Moulton, 40, said in an interview that he had no immediate plans to endorse another candidate, but he warmly praised former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. Mr. Moulton planned to announce the end of his campaign in a formal speech before the Democratic National Committee on Friday.


#277

Although this is about the current trends in Trump’s approval ratings, I placed it in the election thread because it also looks ahead to 2020. Yes, it’s very, very early, but this one fact especially stood out – and it must terrify Trump (if any of the sycophants surrounding him has dared to whisper it in his ear):

No president has won an additional term with an approval rating as low as Trump’s is currently.

Onward to 2020! :muscle:

Poll of the week: A new national CNN/SSRS poll finds that President Donald Trump’s approval rating stands at 40%. His disapproval rating is 54%.

His approval rating is down from late June when it was 43%. His disapproval rating is slightly up from 52% in late June.

What’s the point: Over the last month and a half, a lot has happened in our national dialogue. Trump went after four congresswomen of color. Then he turned his sights on Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is black. More recently, there were the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio. And fears are growing over a potential economic slowdown.

All together, it seems like recent news cycles are causing a downturn in the President’s fortunes. His approval rating does seem to be sliding, which is troublesome news heading into 2020.

Presidents’ approval ratings have been highly correlated with their re-election margin. In the midterm elections, Trump’s approval rating lined up nearly perfectly with his party’s vote share in the House elections.

And while the shift in our CNN poll is not statistically significant given the margin of error of +/- 4 points, it’s not the only poll to show that Trump’s approval rating is down.

Take a look at these other probability-based polls that meet CNN’s standards and were completed over the last two weeks.

  • AP-NORC puts the President’s approval rating at 36%, down from 38%.
  • Fox News gave Trump a 43% approval rating, a decrease from 46%.
  • Gallup shows Trump’s approval rating at 41%, down from 42% in late July and 44% in early July.
  • Monmouth University pegs Trump’s approval rating at 40%, down from 41%.
  • NBC News/Wall Street Journal found Trump had an approval rating of 43% among all adults, a decrease of 2 points from 45% in July among registered voters and 1 point from 44% in their last poll that surveyed all adults in June.

None of these poll results individually are all that convincing that Trump’s approval rating has declined. Together, however, they make a fairly strong case.

Adding in the CNN poll, Trump has an average decline of 2 points in his approval rating. That may not seem like a lot, but keep in mind these polls put together have a sample size of more than 6,000 people. The chances that all of these polls have Trump’s approval down, even by a mere 2 points, is tiny.

Normally, a 2-point drop in a president’s approval rating would not be a big deal. For this president, however, a 2-point movement is a bigger deal than usual.

Trump’s approval rating has been unusually stable. Any sort of movement is noteworthy with him. According to Gallup, no president has had as narrow a range (35%-46%) of approval ratings than Trump. Trump’s still within that range, though now more toward the middle than the upper part of that range as he had been earlier in the year.

Trump needs to be able to break out of the narrow range in order to make himself a favorite for reelection. No president has won an additional term with an approval rating as low as Trump’s is currently.

The further Trump’s approval rating strays from his disapproval rating, the harder he makes it for himself to win in 2020.


#278

Joe Walsh, a conservative former U.S. congressman turned talk show host, on Sunday became the second Republican to challenge President Donald Trump for the party’s 2020 White House nomination.

Walsh criticized Trump, who has strong support among Republicans, as a bully who is unfit for office as he announced his long-shot bid.

“I’m running because he’s unfit,” Walsh, 57, told ABC’s “This Week” program. “Somebody needs to step up.”

“He’s a bully and he’s a coward and somebody needs to call him out,” Walsh said. “The bet … of my campaign is that there are a lot of Republicans that feel like I do. They’re afraid to come forward.”

Asked to respond to Walsh’s criticism of the president and decision to run, Trump’s spokesman replied, “Whatever.”

NYT confirms


#279

And Steve King’s campaign has gone broke apparently. :smirk:


#280

Oh crap, this guy again?

Updated with original story.


#281

One more GOP departure…


(David Bythewood) #282

Oh hell. Basically, Trump’s starvation of agencies has left the FEC without enough members to function.

Federal Election Commission to effectively shut down. Now what?