I posted this article to the DFE News Updates section a moment ago (BTW, pick up the feed!), but I thought this one deserved a lot more attention than the national media has given it. A little-reported and highly important battle is being waged within the Senate over the appointment of members to the Federal Election Commission. The line is being drawn over a Hans A. von Spakovsky, who was formerly a member of the highly-dubious “Justice” Department of the Bush “Administration.”
And the battle lines are of immediate concern to the primary antagonist of the battle, Barack Obama. His political future may depend on the makeup of that body, especially given all the hanky-panky the Republicans have been willing to play. But in putting up the fight against this nomination, Obama is playing a very dangerous game for which I see only very scant chance of victory:
“Historically, they’ve been done as a group to prevent one party’s nominees from going through and not the other’s,” Stewart said. “That’s the way we’ve always done them, and Senator McConnell sees no reason that should change.”
Obama and three other senators who have formally objected to a Senate vote on von Spakovsky said they want each FEC nominee to be voted on separately. They said it should take 60 votes for him to be confirmed.
As for the fate of the FEC if the stalemate persists, those on both sides agreed that members of the commission’s staff would be able to continue to conduct routine work, but little else would get done, at least until Bush made four new recess appointments. Such a move would mean he was conceding defeat on the von Spakovsky nomination.
I don’t mean to suggest that there aren’t perfectly good ethical reasons for concern over the von Spakovsky nomination: he has presided over some very dubious Justice decisions including the Tom DeLay Texas redistricting scheme. Even if it means a partisan fight where there has previously been none, this does seem like a fight worth having. But if the end-game here is that Bush can just nominate whomever he so chooses in a recess appointment, that’s not a game Republicans can lose by playing. If the media won’t even pay attention to the story, where is Barack’s ammunition coming from?