Thursday, May 08, 2008

Democracy 21: White House Move Yesterday to Rig FEC Enforcement Decision by Removing David Mason from FEC Constitutes Political Obstruction of Justice

There may be no limit on what this administration will do to get their guy elected.
"The White House action taken yesterday to rig any FEC enforcement decision concerning campaign finance questions that have been raised regarding the presumptive Republican nominee for President, Senator John McCain (R-AZ), constitutes
political obstruction of justice," according to Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer.

"The White House action powerfully demonstrates why there must be a new approach to enforcing the nation's campaign finance laws," Wertheimer said.

Yesterday, the White House withdrew the nomination of "holdover" FEC Commissioner David Mason to continue to serve as a Commissioner on the FEC.

The White House got rid of Mason after President Bush twice had found him to be an acceptable Republican appointee to the Commission.

In December 2005, President Bush made a recess appointment of Mason to serve on the FEC. In January 2007, after the recess appointment ran out, President Bush nominated Mason for Senate confirmation to fill a Republican seat on the Commission.

The White House gave no explanation for why Mason, a previously acceptable nominee, had suddenly been withdrawn.

"It is clear why the White House threw Mason off the FEC," Wertheimer said.

"In a letter to Senator McCain earlier this year, Commissioner Mason had raised questions about McCain's request to withdraw from the presidential primary public financing system and about a loan that Senator McCain's campaign took out and the collateral provided for the loan," Wertheimer said.

"By just raising questions about enforcement matters relating to Senator McCain's presidential campaign, Commissioner Mason sealed his fate and lost his job," Wertheimer stated.

"The White House action taken to dispose of Mason was eerily reminiscent of earlier actions taken by the White House and the Justice Department to dispose of U.S. Attorneys whose enforcement actions or inactions they disagreed with," Wertheimer stated.

"Mason's removal from the FEC by the White House has sent a powerful and destructive message to the three pending Republican FEC nominees that even the slightest bit of independence will not be tolerated and that the job of a Republican FEC Commissioner is to protect the interests and needs of Republicans, not to implement and enforce the campaign finance laws," Wertheimer stated.

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