In response to our quest
to figure out which GOP senator is blocking the nomination of Neil Barofsky to be inspector general for the bailout money, Paul Blumenthal of the Sunlight Foundation, a good government organization, provides some key background
on how these Senate holds work:
We've had our fair share of experience with secret holds, having fought to reveal the identities of those secretly blocking the Coburn-Obama bill (FFATA) and the campaign finance e-filing bill (S. 223). The first thing of note is that secret holds were, for the most part, abolished during the 110th Congress. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act mandated the disclosure of the identity of a senator secretly blocking a "measure or matter" "not later than 6 session days" after the initiation of the hold.
The Barofsky nomination provides a good example of the loopholes in this mandate of disclosure. If a bill or, in this case, a nomination comes up prior to a long recess, the disclosure of the offending senator's identity will have to wait until the Senate reconvenes for at least 6 session days, not calendar days. So far, since the nomination was blocked, the Senate convened for two session days. While they are expected to convene tomorrow for a pro forma session, it is unknown whether the Senate will convene for four more days by the end of the year.
In other words, if the Senate does end up convening for four more days this session, we could soon find out the mystery senator's identity -- though how that would actually play out in practice remains unknown.
But if, on the other hand, the Senate doesn't meet for four more days this session, we could never know, and the hold could remain in place at least until the new Congress convenes.
Meanwhile, reports from readers continue to pour in -- more soon.