- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 24, 2002

Just one day before Congress returned from a monthlong break, President Bush used his recess appointment power to fill positions in the Securities and Exchange Commission a move eliciting little opposition.
Less than two weeks ago, however, Senate Democrats decried Mr. Bush's appointments of Eugene Scalia as solicitor of the Labor Department and Otto Reich as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs. But yesterday, a day after the president filled six slots on the SEC and the National Labor Relations Board without the consent of Senate Democratic leaders, the moves angered no one.
"It's unusual, but no one seems to care," said one aide to a top Senate Democrat.
In a move late Tuesday, Mr. Bush appointed Cynthia A. Glassman, a principal at the major accounting firm Ernst & Young, to the SEC. She worked at the Federal Reserve Board from 1977 to 1986 as a senior economist and in other positions.
The White House said the president used the executive power because the SEC needs to be running at full power to investigate the collapse of Houston-based energy trader Enron, which declared bankruptcy on Dec. 2.
"There are obviously some very critical issues that will be coming before the SEC in the near future," White House spokeswoman Anne Womack said. "The president wanted to ensure that the SEC had both the manpower to handle the issues as well as having a balanced perspective while doing it."
Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, is the only congressional member to object to the move.
"To make a recess appointment of an individual who comes from the accounting profession without giving the Senate an opportunity to review this nominee's qualifications just invites challenges," Mr. Wyden told the Associated Press. "I think the Senate will say this is very troubling."
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, however, had no objections.
"We've always said that is the president's prerogative to do that and we don't stand in the way," said Mr. Daschle's communications director, Ranit Schmelzer.
"Obviously, we prefer that it go through the normal process of getting it confirmed through the Senate, but it's not something we're making a big stink out of," she said.
The White House had consulted with Mr. Daschle before Mr. Bush made the recess appointments, she said.
The accounting business has come under scrutiny since the SEC began investigating the auditing work done for the embattled Enron company by the major accountant firm Arthur Andersen & Co.
Miss Glassman, a Republican, has worked for Ernst & Young since 1997. She was director of commercial bank risk management from 1997 to 1999, and before that had been director of research and managing director at Furash & Co.
Mr. Bush also reappointed Isaac C. Hunt Jr. to be commissioner at the SEC. Mr. Hunt is a Democrat who was first appointed to the SEC by President Clinton in 1996.
Mr. Bush made the appointments just a day before the opening of the second session of the 107th Congress. Because the president exercised his authority while Congress was out of session, his appointees will be allowed to serve until Congress recesses again at the end of the year.
In other recess appointments, Mr. Bush named:
Deborah Matz and JoAnn Johnson to the board of the National Credit Union Administration.
William B. Cowen and Michael J. Bartlett to the National Labor Relations Board.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide