Open main menu

Ellen L. Weintraub is an American attorney who serves as the chair of the Federal Election Commission.

Ellen Weintraub
FEC Ellen L Weintraub.jpg
Chair of the Federal Election Commission
Assumed office
January 1, 2019
PresidentDonald Trump
Preceded byCaroline C. Hunter
In office
January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byCaroline C. Hunter
Succeeded byLee E. Goodman
In office
January 1, 2003 – December 31, 2003
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byDavid M. Mason
Succeeded byBradley Smith
Member of the Federal Election Commission
Assumed office
December 9, 2002
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded byKarl Sandstrom
Personal details
Born1957 (age 61–62)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Bill Dauster
EducationYale University (BA)
Harvard University (JD)


Ellen Weintraub began her career in private practice as a litigator with the New York firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel.[1] Weintraub was then counsel to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the U.S. House of Representatives (the House Ethics Committee), where she advised members on investigations.[2] She focused on implementing the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 (Pub.L. 101–194) and subsequent changes to the House Code of Official Conduct. She also served as editor in chief of the House Ethics Manual and as a principal contributor to the Senate Ethics Manual. Weintraub subsequently returned to private practice as counsel at Perkins Coie LLP, where she was a member of its Political Law Group. There, she counseled clients on federal and state campaign finance laws, political ethics, nonprofit law, and lobbying regulation. During the election contest arising out of the 1996 election of Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Weintraub served on the legal team that advised the Senate Rules Committee.

Weintraub received a recess appointment to the Federal Election Commission on December 6, 2002, and took office on December 9, 2002.[3] She was renominated on January 9, 2003, and confirmed by unanimous consent of the United States Senate on March 18, 2003. Shortly after her arrival at the FEC, Weintraub was elected Chair of the Commission for 2003. She is the third woman to serve on the Commission, following Republicans Lee Ann Elliott and Joan Aikens.[2] In June 2008, two more women, Democrat Cynthia L. Bauerly and Republican Caroline C. Hunter, joined Weintraub on the Commission.[4]

In July 2013, while Weintraub was serving as Chair, the Commission ruled that legally married same-sex couples must be treated the same as opposite-sex couples under election law.[5]

In February 2017, Weintraub called on President Donald Trump to reveal his evidence of voter fraud after the president claimed that it caused him and former Senator Kelly Ayotte to lose in New Hampshire in the 2016 U.S. election.[6] “The scheme the President of the United States alleges would constitute thousands of felony criminal offences under New Hampshire law,” Weintraub said in a statement printed on FEC letterhead.[7] As a result, an organization funded by the Koch brothers, Cause of Action, issued a statement calling for her to be investigated for ethics violations.[8][9] Weintraub subsequently defended her actions and maintained that the alleged fraud would constitute a violation of federal campaign finance laws, which is germane to her position as a FEC commissioner.[10]

In August 2019, at a campaign rally in New Hampshire, President Trump repeated these claims. He complained to reporters and to his supporters that he had narrowly lost the state because of fraudulent voting, a claim for which he gave no evidence. "New Hampshire should have been won last time, except we had a lot of people come in at the last moment, which was a rather strange situation," Trump told journalists. "Thousands and thousands of people, coming in from locations unknown."[11] Commissioner Weintraub followed these claims with a letter asking Trump to produce evidence of these assertions.[12]

During 2017, Weintraub championed greater disclosure of political ads on the internet, and helped move the FEC to open a rulemaking on the matter with bipartisan support.[13]

On December 18, 2018 she was once again elected Chair.[14]

Weintraub's term ended April 30, 2007, but she continues in office until her successor takes office.[15][16] She is not eligible for reappointment.

Personal lifeEdit

Weintraub is married to Bill Dauster (former director of policy for Senator Chris Van Hollen and former legislative director for Senator Russ Feingold).[17] She is a Reform Jew.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub Biographical Information". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "Ellen L. Weintraub Official Biography". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  3. ^ "President Bush Announces Recess Appointment". The White House. December 6, 2002.
  4. ^ "FEC Commissioners". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved May 5, 2009.
  5. ^ "Gay spouses have same rights as straight couples, FEC rules". The Washington Post. July 26, 2013.
  6. ^ "Elections official asks Trump for evidence of voter fraud". Reuters. February 10, 2017.
  7. ^ "Statement of Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub Regarding Allegations by the President of the United States of Widespread Voter Fraud in New Hampshire," Archived 2017-02-11 at the Wayback Machine February 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "FEC commissioner: 'I will not be silenced' on Trump's voter fraud claims". Washington Examiner. February 21, 2017.
  9. ^ "What The Media Should Know About Cause Of Action, The Koch-Backed Group Suing Over Clinton's Emails," Media Matters, July 9, 2015.
  10. ^ "FEC member: I have the right to demand Trump prove voter fraud claims". CNN. February 21, 2017.
  11. ^ "FEC chair challenges Trump to provide evidence of voter fraud in New Hampshire". Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  12. ^ "FEC chairwoman calls out Trump over New Hampshire voter fraud claims". Retrieved October 4, 2019.
  13. ^ "Election officials move closer to placing new rules on Facebook and Google". The Washington Post. November 16, 2017.
  14. ^ "FEC elects Weintraub as Chair, Petersen as Vice Chairman for 2019". December 18, 2018. Retrieved February 23, 2019.
  15. ^ 52 U.S.C. § 30106(a)(2)(B)
  16. ^ "Their terms expired years ago, but Trump, Congress won't replace them". NBC News. Retrieved June 14, 2019.
  17. ^ "Who Runs Gov: Bill Dauster". Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  18. ^ Rosenblum, Jonah L. "A Jewish perspective on the Federal Election Commission". Cleveland Jewish News. Retrieved February 15, 2018.

External linksEdit