FEC Heads Toward Shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) just announced that the Senate will not be able to clear four new appointees for the Federal Election Commission, meaning the agency may not be able to function during the critical election-year period.

Reid is blaming the White House for refusing to withdraw to allow a majority vote on the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky for a seat on the commission. Republicans want von Spakovsky approved as part of a slate of four FEC nominees.

Von Spakovsky was recess appointed by President Bush to the FEC, but his term expires at the end of the year and Democrats have refused to allow his nomination to move forward, arguing that his actions while at the Justice Department disqualified him for the post. Bush, though has not backed down, and the matter has been at an impasse for the last four months.

Now, with the Senate moving toward adjournment until mid-January, Reid signalled that Democrats will not move any FEC nominations if it they include von Spakovsky, meaning the commission will only have two of its required six members. Reid said he offered the GOP a straight majority vote on all the FEC nominees, including von Spakovsky, but the White House refused to accept that offer.

Reid said he will not back down, and he blamed the White House and Republican for the deadlock.

"If they do not, the responsibility for a defunct FEC willl rest solely on their shoulders," Reid said.