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Oppose von Spakovsky’s Nomination, Keep Favoritism Out of FEC

Oct. 3, 2007

Oppose von Spakovsky’s Nomination, Keep Favoritism Out of FEC

Statement of Laura MacCleery, Director of Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

If the Senate wants to help boost public confidence in an agency that has consistently weakened campaign finance laws, it should defeat the nomination of Hans von Spakovsky as a member of the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Von Spakovsky’s demonstrated record of excessive partisanship and unfair acts toward political adversaries would cripple the agency, which is already struggling to prove it can be even-handed in interpreting the law and settling partisan disputes.

Von Spakovsky’s reputation as an extremist partisan precedes him – which helps explain why President Bush put him in office temporarily when the Senate was in recess. Von Spakovsky is a controversial appointee for good reason. For years as a federal lawyer overseeing voting rights, he helped disenfranchise voters from election rolls, targeting mostly poor and minority voters who tend to vote Democratic. He also helped pre-clear the partisan 2003 Texas redistricting plan promoted by former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas) and other Republican Party officials. The plan was later found by the U.S. Supreme Court to violate the rights of Latino voters.

If Congress wants another Gonzales-gate on its hands, von Spakovsky could just be the man to deliver it. In a story reminiscent of the recent firings of seven U.S. attorneys, several long-term career staff in the Department of Justice’s Voting Section under von Spakovsky have also been involuntarily reassigned or left their position – after voicing criticism of his leadership.

The FEC can’t take another blow to its credibility. The Senate must keep the battering ram that would be von Spakovsky’s appointment from striking at the agency’s foundation. Our electoral process is at stake.

READ the letter Public Citizen sent to senators today.