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Fri Sep 15, 2017, 12:36 PM

Trump's Big Law FEC Nominee Under Fire for Tweets, Views


Trump's Big Law FEC Nominee Under Fire for Tweets, Views

No more than a day since President Donald Trump announced he would nominate Akerman partner James “Trey” Trainor III as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, the former election lawyer for the Trump presidential campaign is already under fire on multiple fronts.

Perhaps to be expected, the nomination of Trainor was almost immediately opposed by advocacy groups such as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)—a nonprofit headed by former ethics czars in the Bush and Obama administrations—who said that Trainor stood for “exactly the opposite” of what the FEC does: Police money in politics.

Perhaps less expected, Trainor’s Twitter feed came under the spotlight after users found that he had retweeted posts expressing what appeared to be anti-Protestant views. In one Tweet screenshot before Trainor’s Twitter feed was made private, he wrote “There is only one church,” while linking to a post from a Catholic site, Churchmilitant.com, that said “Protestantism is poison.”

Before serving as counsel to Donald J. Trump for President Inc., Trainor had a long history in electoral politics and litigation in Texas and the national scene. ... In 2012, Trainor represented Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign in a Virginia suit challenging the constitutionality of that state’s voter access laws. In Texas, he has represented a conservative nonprofit called Empower Texans, which has fought to keep anonymous the identity of donors to the Texas Ethics Commission.

Roy Strom, based in Chicago, covers the business of law with a focus on how law firm business models are changing. He can be reached at rstrom@alm.com. On Twitter: @RoyWStrom


Trump nominates Texas lawyer Trey Trainor for Federal Election Commission

President Donald Trump is nominating Trey Trainor, an Austin lawyer well known in Texas politics, to serve on the Federal Election Commission.


*Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

President Donald Trump is nominating Trey Trainor, an Austin lawyer well-known in Texas politics, to serve on the Federal Election Commission. ... The White House announced Trainor's appointment late Tuesday night. He must be confirmed by the Senate.

Trainor is a longtime attorney specializing in election law, campaign finance and ethics. He has served as the lawyer for the conservative nonprofit Empower Texans, defending it during its long-running battles with the Texas Ethics Commission over whether it should have to disclose its donors.

Trainor originally supported U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in the 2016 presidential primary, but once Cruz dropped out, Trainor helped pave the way for Trump's nomination at the Republican National Convention. Trainor served as general counsel to the RNC platform committee, a job that put him on the front lines of the party's efforts to quell an anti-Trump uprising on the floor.

After Trump took office earlier this year, Trainor went to work at the Pentagon, where he helped with the transition in leadership as a temporary appointee. His title was special assistant to the secretary of defense in the Office of General Counsel. ... Trainor has most recently been serving as the assistant general counsel for the Texas GOP. He was installed in that position after James Dickey became the new chairman in June and appointed a fresh slate of party officers.


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