- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
FEC nominee defends support for voter IDs
Hans von Spakovsky, an embattled Republican nominee to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), yesterday told a Senate panel that his support of laws requiring voters to show photo identification and other election safeguards are being misconstrued as plots to disenfranchise black Democratic voters.
“I think voter ID is a good idea,” he said at a Rules and Administration Committee hearing on his and three other nominations to the FEC. “I also believe very strongly that every eligible voter needs to be able to access the ballot box.”
Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, a member of the rules panel, praised Mr. von Spakovsky’s sentiment but said it was “inconsistent” with his actions as counsel at the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division from 2003 through 2005.
Mr. von Spakovsky, 48, who has been serving on the FEC board for 18 months as a recess appointment by President Bush, said he did not make final decisions on civil rights issues, such as the much-maligned decision supporting a Georgia photo-ID law that was criticized as disenfranchising black voters.
“I believe they made the correct decision,” he said.
He noted that Congress endorsed voter-ID requirements in the Help America Vote Act and called for frequent scrutiny of voter rolls — another position for which Mr. von Spakovsky has come under fire — in the Voting Rights Act.
Mr. Bush has nominated Mr. von Spakovsky — a first-generation American whose parents fled Nazi Germany and communist Russia — to a six-year term expiring in 2011 that requires Senate approval, which the president bypassed to give the one-time Bush campaign worker his temporary tenure on the commission.
“My childhood was full of stories from my parents of what life was like in a dictatorship, and from that we learned to appreciate how lucky we were to be living in this democracy that all of us call home,” he told the committee. “I have understood from a very early age how important it is to safeguard not just our right to vote, but our ability to participate in the political process.”
Mr. von Spakovsky is the only nominee facing a confirmation fight — mostly owing to the political firestorm over suspected politicization of the Justice Department.
Six former career lawyers who worked under Mr. von Spakovsky in the civil rights office petitioned the committee to reject their former boss because he injected what they called “partisan political factors into decision-making … and into the hiring process.”
“What has happened, I think, is you have become a lightning rod for problems that have been inherent in American voting,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat and chairman of the Rules and Administration Committee.
She asked Mr. von Spakovsky why so many former colleagues would opposed him. “They clearly don’t believe you belong on this commission,” she said.
He said that while he did not make final decisions, he was the one who delivered the verdict to the career lawyers. “The face they would see of the front office is me. … They also assumed I was the one who made the decisions,” he said.
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Obama tries to calm Israeli fears over Iranian nuke deal 'not based on trust'
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- A Mandela remembrance
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Behind Andy Reid, Chiefs enjoying a resurgence
- Study suggests link between gun ownership, racism
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Opinion, analysis, and musings on politics, pop culture, reinvention, and the resultant flotsam and jetsam floating around the right-of-center quadrant of the Left Coast.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!