The Senate this week broke the logjam in approving some key nominations to Education Department posts, clearing the way for some major reshuffling.
Yesterday, senators approved the nomination of Anne Graham to an open seat on the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Graham, now the Education Department's assistant secretary for legislation and public affairs, had seen her nomination delayed while the General Accounting Office investigated allegations that she had used her government car for personal business and had hired friends as consultants. Graham denied any wrongdoing.
The GAO has not completed its probe, launched at the request of Rep. Ted Weiss (D-N.Y.). But Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.), who was blocking Graham's nomination until the investigation was finished, reportedly decided that it was taking too long and holding up other department personnel shifts.
Graham's confirmation clears the way for a long-planned breakup of her old office into separate public affairs and legislation offices. Graham's deputy, Frances M. Norris, is expected to be nominated to replace her as assistant secretary for the legislation side. And Marion Blakey, a key aide to Education Secretary William J. Bennett when he was at the National Endowment for the Humanities, is expected to become Bennett's director of public affairs in the reorganization.