FEC Back In Action
After months of partisan squabbling, the Senate voted yesterday to confirm five new members of the Federal Elections Commission. The positions were vacant since December, due to a spat over the Democrats’ refusal to confirm one of President George W. Bush’s recess appointments to the FEC, Hans von Spakovsky. The Democrats alleged that he was a key figure in the politicization of the Justice Dept. The GOP retaliated by refusing to confirm any Democratic nominees. So the commission could not address any new business, since it lacked the required four-member quorum. The FEC should have six members — three Republicans and three Democrats. According to The Washington Post, the standoff was resolved last month, when Spakovsky withdrew his name from consideration.
Now that the FEC is back in business, topping the agenda will be a lawsuit filed against the commission yesterday by the Democratic National Committee. The suit alleges Sen. John McCain illegally withdrew from the primary public funding program, after using anticipated funds from the program as collateral for $4-million in loans when the campaign was in dire financial straits last fall. Publicity generated by an FEC investigation could pose significant problems for the McCain campaign, which released a web ad yesterday that sharply criticized Sen. Barack Obama for opting out of the general election public financing program. We can now probably look forward to "Who’s more of a hypocrite?" ads from both sides.