The Federal Election Commission deadlocked 3-3 against opening an investigation into whether Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort illegally solicited foreign assistance during a Trump Tower meeting with Russian envoys in June 2016, Axios reports. The vote split along party lines, with the three Democratic commissioners voting to approve an investigation of campaign finance violations and the three Republican commissioners voting against it, reportedly on the technical grounds that the five-year statute of limitations expires in a few months. The tie means the FEC will drop the matter.
The FEC is working through a backlog of 2016 complaints, though little enforcement action is expected from any of the cases. All but one of the outstanding complaints have to do with former President Donald Trump's campaign. The deadlocked FEC also recently rejected an investigation into Trump's hush-money payment to porn actress Stormy Daniels right before the 2016 election.
The FEC declined to comment on the Trump Tower case, but Democracy 21, one of the groups that filed the complaint, told Axios it had been notified of the case's closure. "There was nothing surprising about the notification," said Democracy 21's Fred Wertheimer. "Everyone in the system knows that the FEC will not enforce the law because the Republican commissioners do not want to enforce the law."