Ever since September, the nomination for accomplished vote suppression expert
Hans von Spakovsky to be a member of the Federal Election Commission has been snagged, stopped by the public opposition
of Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) and the somewhat more private opposition of Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The Republican leadership countered the Democrats by insisting that von Spakovsky's nomination was all or nothing -- either von Spakovsky went through or none of the nominated commissioners did. That means that if no compromise is reached by the end of the year, the FEC, which makes rules governing election spending, might effectively shut down in an election year, since it would be left with only two commissioners out of six seats. As we reported
back in October, that could create a situation where outside groups funded by millionaires (like the Swift Boat Vets) could run amok in a campaign year.Roll Call gives
(sub. req.) an update of sorts this morning. The short version: things are still at a standstill, but "various scenarios currently are circulating" to avoid a shutdown. One scenario: von Spakovsky could withdraw and the problem would go away. Another: the White House and Senate could join together to make a new round of nominations. Or another: "the deck of current commission recess appointees may be reshuffled and re-recess appointed, a complicated and likely unprecedented strategy." Stay tuned.