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Bush election commission nominee withdraws, ends partisan stalemate

[JURIST] Hans von Spakovsky, nominated by President Bush to serve on the six-member US Federal Election Commission (FEC) [official website], withdrew his name from consideration for the appointment Friday. The withdrawal ends a two-and-a-half-year stalemate between the administration and Senate Democrats. The former Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights was named [WH press release] to the FEC by President Bush in January 2006, using a recess appointment [US Senate backgrounder]. In his withdrawal letter [PDF text], von Spakovsky wrote that "it is past time that the FEC was reconstituted." Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) [official website], the Senate majority leader, applauded [press release] von Spakovsky's withdrawal, saying his record on voters' rights while at the US Department of Justice, made him unfit to serve on the FEC.

Von Spakovsky had been included on the most recent list [JURIST report] of nominations to the FEC submitted by the President for Senate approval in early May. Also included on that list were Cynthia L. Bauerly, former legislative director for Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) [official website]; Donald F. McGahn, former counsel for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) [official website]; and former White House official Caroline C. Hunter. The list did not include current FEC Chairman David Mason [official profile], whose tenure has also been strongly opposed by Democrats. Until the new nominees are approved, the commission will not have the quorum required to conduct business, presenting a potentially significant problem in the face of the upcoming 2008 Presidential election.

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