Is Obama Sabotaging McCain Through the FEC?
By Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq.
FrontPageMagazine.com | 3/5/2008
This Commentary on January 9, 17 and 28 discussed the irresponsible and unprecedented understaffing of Presidential appointees in a host of Federal regulatory agencies, including the Federal Election Commission. (The January 17 Commentary follows: All three are accessible on the Free Congress Foundation Website, http://www.freecongress.org.) Understaffing alone can cause ineffective functioning in a Federal agency, as elsewhere. Understaffing to the extent of denying a regulatory agency its quorum necessary to function is, of course, completely debilitating.
The bulk of this understaffing is the fault of leftist United States Senate activity and inactivity, not of President George W. Bush. The Federal Election Commission (“FEC”) has only two of six authorized Commissioners. Four are necessary for a quorum. Thus, FEC as a regulatory agency exists only at the staff, or routine paper-pushing, level.
“Believe it or not,” to borrow the old Ripley phrase, the principal reason why FEC has no quorum is because some Senators, including Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), are blocking the confirmation of Presidential nominee Hans von Spakovsky. Opponents claim that von Spakovsky, who served 18 months as an FEC Commissioner by recess appointment (that is, without Senatorial confirmation), supposedly promoted policies while a Department of Justice lawyer adverse to some voters from racial, or possibly ethnic, minorities. Whether von Spakovsky did so, there is no serious allegation, if any at all, that he acted unacceptably during his 18 months as a recess-appointee FEC Commissioner. No substantive reason is evident as to why the Senate could not confirm the other two Bush nominees, which would bring FEC to four Commissioners and a functioning quorum.
Might it be sheer coincidence that the Obama hold on the von Spakovsky nomination and the absence of Senatorial confirmation of the other two FEC nominees preclude any FEC approval (or disapproval) of the request of Senator John S. McCain, III to withdraw from the public-financing system? Or that the impasse, preceding what well may be a McCain – Obama November 8 contest, presently is weakening, and may continue to weaken, the McCain candidacy?
Marion Edwyn Harrison is President of, and Counsel to, the Free Congress Foundation.