Ellen L. Weintraub

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Ellen L. Weintraub
FEC Ellen L Weintraub.jpg
Chair of the Federal Election Commission
In office
January 1, 2013 – December 31, 2013
President Barack Obama
Member of the Federal Election Commission
Assumed office
December 9, 2002
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Personal details
Born New York City
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Bill Dauster (three children)
Alma mater Harvard Law School, Yale College
Profession Lawyer

Ellen L. Weintraub is a Commissioner on the United States Federal Election Commission.

She received a recess appointment to the Commission on December 6, 2002, and took office on December 9, 2002.[1] 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[2] to serve on the Commission, following Republicans Lee Ann Elliott and Joan Aikens. In June 2008, two more women, Democrat Cynthia L. Bauerly and Republican Caroline C. Hunter, joined Weintraub on the Commission.[3] Although Weintraub's term ended April 30, 2007 and she is not eligible for reappointment, by statute she continues in office until her successor takes office.[4]

Prior to her appointment, Weintraub was Of Counsel to Perkins Coie LLP and 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. Her tenure with Perkins Coie represented Weintraub’s second stint in private practice, as she previously practiced as a litigator with the New York firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

Before joining Perkins Coie, Weintraub was Counsel to the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for the U.S. House of Representatives (the House Ethics Committee). Like the Commission, the Committee on Standards is a bipartisan body, evenly divided between Democratic and Republican members. There, Weintraub 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. While at the Committee, Weintraub counseled Members on investigations and often had lead responsibility for the Committee’s public education and compliance initiatives.[5]

While Weintraub was FEC Chair in July 2013, the commission ruled that legally married same-sex couples must be treated the same as opposite-sex couples under election law.[6]

Weintraub has appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show, All In with Chris Hayes, Up with Steve Kornacki,[7] and Democracy Now!.[8]

Commissioner Weintraub is married to Bill Dauster, director of policy for Senator Chris Van Hollen and formerly legislative director for Senator Russ Feingold.[9]


After President Donald Trump said that voter fraud caused him and former Senator Kelly Ayotte to lose in New Hampshire in the 2016 U.S. election, Weintraub called on the president to reveal his evidence.[10] “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.[11]

The action led to an ethics complaint from a watchdog group called Cause of Action. The group requested that the commission investigate whether Weintraub "violated applicable ethics regulations" by using "government property and official time" to complain about the issue.[12] Commissioner Weintraub replied that she “would not be silenced.”[13] And Weintraub pointed out that spending money to bus illegal voters into New Hampshire would likely constitute a campaign finance violation.[14] Former White House Counsel Robert Bauer called the Cause of Action complaint a “ploy” designed “to strike back at . . . Weintraub for the substance of her comments.”[15]

In March 2017, the nonprofit American Foundation for Law and Liberty submitted a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information about involvement by Weintraub and one of her staffers, Thomas Moore, with an anonymous Twitter account called "altFEC." The account was created in January 2017 by a person claiming to be a staff member at the commission, and frequently published messages critical of the Trump Administration.[16]


  1. ^ President Bush Today Announced the Recess Appointment of One Individual to Serve as a Member of His Administration
  2. ^ "Ellen L. Weintraub Official Biography". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  3. ^ "Commissioners (showing the three women members)". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  4. ^ 2 U.S.C. § 437c(a)(2)(B), and no successor has been nominated.
  5. ^ "Ellen L. Weintraub Official Biography". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved 2009-05-05. 
  6. ^ Matea Gold, “Same-Sex Spouses Have Same Rights as Straight Couples, FEC Rules,” The Washington Post (July 26, 2013): page A4.
  7. ^ "Speeches, Statements, and Media Appearances". Federal Election Commission. Retrieved 2015-06-17. 
  8. ^ "Could Citizens United Help Foreign Billionaires Buy This Election? An FEC Commissioner Speaks Out." Democracy Now! April 5, 2016.
  9. ^ https://www.linkedin.com/in/dauster
  10. ^ Reuters, "Elections Official Asks Trump for Evidence of Voter Fraud," N.Y. Times, Feb. 11, 2017.
  11. ^ "Statement of Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub Regarding Allegations by the President of the United States of Widespread Voter Fraud in New Hampshire," Feb. 10, 2017.
  12. ^ Cause of Action, "Request for an Investigation," Feb. 21, 2017.
  13. ^ “Statement of Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub,” Feb. 21, 2017.
  14. ^ Eli Watkins, “FEC member: I have the right to demand Trump prove voter fraud claims,” CNN, February 21, 2017.
  15. ^ Bob Bauer, “Commissioner Weintraub and her Critics,” More Soft Money Hard Law, February 23, 2017.
  16. ^ American Foundation for Law and Liberty, "America’s Foundation for Law and Liberty Files FOIA Request with FEC,"March 10, 2017.

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