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« McCain's Veep Meet | Blog Home Page | This Week On PN Radio »

FEC Impasse Over

The Federal Election Commission is about to get a bunch of new faces as three new appointees cleared a key Senate hurdle yesterday, the Washington Post reports. Nominees Cynthia Bauerly, a Democrat, and Caroline Hunter and Donald McGahn, both Republicans, successfully cleared the Senate Rules Committee yesterday and will head to the floor, where they will be voted on alongside previous nominee Steven Walther, a Democrat.

The votes come after months of deadlock while Republicans demanded a vote on nominee Hans von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department official who Democrats believed was unacceptable because of his advocacy for identification requirements at polling places. Von Spakovsky withdrew his nomination last week. In his place, President Bush will nominate Matthew Petersen, the chief Republican counsel for the Rules Committee.

Should the four nominees currently on the Senate floor win confirmation, which they are expected to do, they will join Democrat Ellen Weintraub, who currently sits on the panel.

The FEC requires four members for a quorum, and because it has only two members now (McGahn will replace outgoing Republican David Mason), the agency cannot author advisory opinions or issue judgment on pending matters. Crucially, had the dispute lasted into the Summer, the body would not have been able to authorize federal funds for John McCain's presidential bid, which would have forced the campaign to go to court to get their money.