The U.S. Office of Special Counsel, a federal investigative agency, found that a government election commission had refused a man a high-ranking position because he was a Republican.
OSC says two Commissioners at the Election Assistance Commission, which serves as a national clearinghouse of information about election administration and certifies voting systems, denied a man appointed to serve as EAC General Counsel because they didn’t like his politics.
According to a OSC’s statement released on Wednesday, two Commissioners “researched his off-the-job political activity or received contacts” about those activities and then voted to disapprove his appointment because they felt he was “perceived as politicized.”
“OSC’s investigation uncovered evidence indicating EAC illegally refused to approve the complainant’s appointment because he was a Republican,” the OSC stated.
“Without admitting fault, the EAC agreed to provide the complainant a substantial monetary settlement to resolve the issues that were the subject of his complaint,” the OSC said.
The OSC also noted that their merit system requires employees to only look at qualification, not political affiliation. OSC added, “And the Constitutional right to associate with the political party of one’s choice means very little if one cannot freely exercise this right.”
OSC’s statement on this matter does not name any of the parties involved and a call to the OSC for further information was not immediately returned.
The OSC statement can be viewed here.
Update: A spokesman from OSC said by email to the Washington Times the names of the parties could not be revealed.
“The settlement agreement in this case…contains a confidentiality clause that precludes disclosure of the kind of information you are seeking,” said OSC spokesman Darshan Sheth.
And, GOP lawyers say they are “deeply disturbed” by the findings of the investigation.
“For months on end, Washington, D.C. was completely consumed with charges and counter-charges concerning why U.S. Attorneys were removed during the Bush Administration alleging all kinds of improprieties even though they served at the pleasure of the President,” said Michael Thielen, executive director of the Republican National Lawyers Association. “Today, we learn that a non-partisan investigative arm of government has found that the Election Assistance Commission, which serves as an important voice in the administration of elections, denied a position they had previously offered to someone exclusively based on their political orientation. This is a deeply disturbing and troubling development and one that should merit scrutiny and interest by those same people who were enraged by the U.S. Attorney scandal. It also calls into question the ability of the remaining Democrat appointed commissioner at fault to fairly administer elections and serve on the board.”