Candidates' Fundraising Disputes May Be Heard

By Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 23, 2008

There may soon be a referee to hear disputes about election rules in the 2008 race for president.

The Senate Committee on Rules and Administration yesterday approved the nominations of three new members to the Federal Election Commission.

Action on the nominees had been stalled for months because Democrats objected to one of President Bush's choices for the six-member panel. That left the FEC without a quorum and incapable of ruling on a series of complaints about fundraising by various presidential candidates.

"This vote comes not a moment too soon," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the committee chairman. "It is unconscionable that in the middle of a presidential election year, with campaign committees spending millions of dollars, that we don't have our federal election watchdog in place."

The three nominees whose names will now go to the full Senate for approval are:

Cynthia L. Bauerly of Minnesota for appointment to a term expiring April 30, 2011, for the seat held by Robert D. Lenhard; Caroline C. Hunter of Florida for appointment to a term expiring April 30, 2013, for the seat held by Michael E. Toner; and Donald F. McGahn of the District for appointment to a term expiring April 30, 2009, for the seat held by David M. Mason.

The name of a fourth nominee, Steven T. Walther, was previously reported to the floor.

The nominee who had sparked the impasse, Hans von Spakovsky, withdrew his name from consideration last week, and Bush yesterday announced plans to nominate Matthew S. Petersen of Utah, the current chief counsel for the minority on the Senate Rules and Administration Committee.

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