Latest Nomination Dispute Stalls FEC

According to CQ Politics's report of yesterday,
A Senate standoff over nominations to the Federal Election Commission has left the agency unable to implement, much less enforce, the bundling provision in a new lobbying law....Even the approval of additional presidential matching funds -- beyond the $20 million it recently certified for release to qualifying candidates -- will be put on hold [which] could affect the..campaigns of ...Edwards,...Kucinich,McCain and ...Hunter.
According to CQ, von Spakovsky's
nomination standoff marks the first time in 31 years that the FEC has been stalled in executing its responsibility to oversee the campaign finance regulations that guide both congressional and presidential elections. The last time was a two-month period during the 1976 presidential campaign, when the agency put some work on hold until the Supreme Court ruled in Buckley vs. Valeo that the president was responsible for nominating all six commissioners, while the Senate had confirmation authority. Prior to that decision, the White House, the Senate and the House each nominated two commissioners.
After a recess appointment on January 4, 2006, President Bush renominated Hans von Spakovsky,a former assistant attorney general for civil rights whom voting rights groups have criticized for his support of photo identification at the polls. Democratic Sens. Barack Obama of Illinois and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin placed holds on his confirmation and Mitch McConnell responded by refusing to allow confirmation votes on three other nominees.

Before going to Washington, von Spakovsky was a lawyer in private practice and a Republican appointee to the Fulton County Registration and Election Board, which runs elections in Atlanta. He belonged to the Federalist Societyand had also joined the board of advisers of a lesser-known group called the Voting Integrity Project, which Jeffrey Toobin wrote about in the September 20, 2004, New Yorker article, "Poll Position: Is the Justice Department poised to stop voter fraud-or to keep voters from voting?" For updated information, see also "Hans Von Spakovsky: Right choice for FEC Commissioner?" by Adam Lambert, published by ePluribus Media on June 11, 2007 and "FEC Nominee Hans von Spakovsky: A Repeat Offender," posted June 12, 2007 by J. Gerald Hebert at the Capaign Legal Center's blog. On January 4, that organization called on President Bush to withdraw the nomination.

While some conservatives have complained about fraud in elections, a Judge has ruled that the controversial id program amounts to a new poll tax and McClatchy has a whole series of articles about how von Spakovsky's anti-fraud efforts may have served to suppress legitimate voting. . A Brown University study released January 8 found that
requiring voters to present identification at the polls leads to lower levels of political participa-tion. The research also suggests that voter I.D. policies discourage legal immigrants from be-coming citizens. The authors conclude that voter I.D. requirements have a significant political impact, particularly on the Hispanic vote.

For additional information on voter obstables, see the Center for American Progress's report of today.

Of course von Spakovsky's nomination is not the only case of gridlock invoked by Mr. McConnel when the the majority Democrats in Congress want to use their majority. Mr. Bush's determination to submit nominees that are objectionable, rather than than non-confrontational, and his refusal to withdraw them, has resulted in impasses that he has resolved by using his power of recess appointment. Will the {resident wait for another recess and reappoint von Spakovsky?

More to come. The library is closing.


Two cool sites: