With the nomination of James E. “Trey” Trainor III to the Federal Election Commission, Donald Trump has picked a brilliant lawyer and fierce advocate for the Constitution. And I’m not sure who is more mad about it: me, or liberals around the country.

You see, Trey is my lawyer. And President Trump is stealing him.

When the shadowy cronies in the Texas lobby coordinated with House Speaker Joe Straus’ minions to use a state agency in an attempt to silence me, spy on my family, bankrupt my organization, and threaten the First Amendment rights of all Texans… Trey Trainor was the first person I called.

Trey Trainor


Unlike many “political” lawyers, Trey has remained unjaded about the beauty of our constitutional rights. He holds a high view of the First Amendment’s protections for citizens to be actively engaged in our government. Indeed, as Trey reminds me regularly, it’s not just that we have right to speak out and petition on political issues, but rather that our founding fathers envisioned that to be the only way our Republic would succeed.

The agency used to attack me is of dubious historical origins and even more dubious constitutionality. With the Orwellian name of the “Ethics” Commission, the TEC proudly operates in flagrant disregard of constitutional standards (and even their own regulations). One of the TEC’s buffoonish employees once said in an open meeting that the Constitution doesn’t apply to their proceedings. At a different public meeting, one of the appointed commissioners admitted that they don’t read or respect binding court opinions.

Because of Trey’s work in our case, liberals in Texas are furious with a capital “f.” A liberal blogger with the Texas Observer recently whined that because of Trey the TEC has been effectively “nullified.”

I don’t disagree. But it was as much the TEC’s fault as it was mine or Trey’s.

Motivated in equal parts by a hatred of me, an interest in intimidating our donors, and a desire to keep citizens out of the Capitol, Straus’ lobby gang thought they’d use the TEC to start attacking citizens… starting with me and Empower Texans. They should have picked a softer first target with less effective legal counsel.

Instead, Trey and his law partner, Joe Nixon, beat the tar out of them. They have effectively unmasked the TEC as a rogue, thuggish agency staffed by leftists demonstrating an unabashed hatred of the First Amendment.

After knocking the TEC to the ground, we’re now pressing our foot to their throat. Never again will this state agency, at a minimum, be weaponized in Texas against citizens wishing to exercise their First Amendment rights.

So when the nice fellow from the FBI came by doing an interview for a background check on Trey, I must admit to being a little miffed at Mr. Trump. He was stealing my lawyer! I cannot give Trey up! Who does the President of the United States think… he… is…?

After all, Trey has proven himself to be one of the most effective advocates for constitutional rights in Texas.

Liberals around the nation know this. They have been lamenting it since the nomination was announced. They fear that as a commissioner for the Federal Election Commission, Trey will ask too many pesky questions. They worry he might start to voice the idea that political speech should be the most protected form of speech.

They worry that rules and regulations designed to protect incumbents and thwart citizen participation might face new scrutiny. I hope they’re right.

The howling and screaming against Trey is coming from the crowd that likes to posit pseudo-intellectual justifications for Antifa terrorism. His critics are those who secretly (and not so secretly) cheer when leftists riot to silence someone with whom they disagree. These are people who want to use – like Joe Straus and his cronies in the Austin lobby – the force of government to intimidate into silence those with whom they disagree.

It’s like the liberals are trying to talk me into willingly giving up my lawyer.

Those who would silence political dissent are making a sound argument for why James E. “Trey” Trainor III should be hastily confirmed by the Senate to the FEC – even if it means I’ll need to find another equally courageous and competent lawyer.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and an Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, and think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, a son-in-law, and a dog. Michael is the author of three books, including "Reflections on Life and Liberty."


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