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Civil Rights Commission member quits over lack of financial reform

[JURIST] Russell G. Redenbaugh [official bio], the longest-serving member of the US Commission on Civil Rights [official website], resigned from the panel Tuesday, citing irresponsible spending in pursuit of partisan agendas and saying the commission should be shut down. Redenbaugh, an Independent appointed to the commission in 1990, said that commission members have resisted efforts to appoint an independent agent to manage commission funds and an independent auditor to review its operations. The Commission has not had a financial audit in 12 years and the US House Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution [official website] is scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday to review the commission's finances. Late last year, President Bush named new conservative appointees to the commission [JURIST report], including Gerald Reynolds who replaced the liberal Mary Frances Barry as chair. In his resignation letter, Redenbaugh wrote that he "endured excessive partisanship" under the former liberal leadership and that he "railed against slanted reports and exposed the commission's unaccountability to the taxpayer. I remained on the commission often in dissent, but always committed to reform." Redenbaugh also wrote that "Unfortunately, chronic mismanagement and a fatally flawed organizational structure eliminates the commission's institutional capacity to even participate in" discussions on reform. Redenbaugh said that the commission once acted as "the nation's conscience," but "is now a national embarrassment beyond repair." Wednesday's Washington Post has more.

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