FEC Stalemate May Be Over With New Nominees

The dysfunctional Federal Election Commission may be able to get back to work soon if Democrats accept a new slate of nominees for the election agency.

Late Tuesday, the White House sent to the Senate three new nominations for the FEC, including two new Republican individuals and a new Democratic nominee.

The White House has not withdrawn the controversial nomination of Republican Hans Von Spakovsky, but the new slate of nominations would allow the FEC to reach is mandatory quorum of four voting commissioners, so even if Democrats block von Spakovsky, the agency could get back to work.

It wasn't clear whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would accept the new slate of nominees, which include Democrat Cynthia L. Bauerly, and Republicans Donald F. McGahn and Caroline C. Hunter.

Democratic nominee Ellen Weintraub, at Reid's request, would remain in her current position at the FEC, while the nominations of Democrat Steven T. Walther and Republican von Spakovsky are already pending.

A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said they believed this could break the impasse.

"It's what Reid wanted, and we now have six nominees," said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart.

Without a full slate of confirmed appointees since January, the FEC has been unable to act on critical campaign legal questions like John McCain's public financing, questionable ads from independent groups and other complaints from congressional races around the country.

UPDATE: Reid spokesman Jim Manley sent Politico a statement that sounded like these nominees represent a breakthrough, but still warned that this was not a done deal:

"We appreciate the recognition by the White House that the FEC requires a full six members to accomplish it's mission. A full commission was virtually assured if the White House maintained its own Republican nomination of David Mason, who was cleared for confirmation. By abandoning Mr. Mason and instead sticking by Mr. von Spakovsky, the White House has abandoned experience and independence for partisan loyalty. That is the White House's choice. It is a regrettable one. Nonetheless, we will work towards the confirmation of the remaining nominees and expect to defeat Mr. von Spakovsky. We will work to ensure that the commission is constitued so that it will be able to function in this election year."

There's a full statement from White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten after the jump.
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