A Flake-y Appropriator?

Posted January 11, 2008 at 5:36pm

Rep. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) has added his name to the list of the Republicans interested in being considered for the Appropriations Committee vacancy.

[IMGCAP(1)]Flake has been among the most vocal critics in Congress on fiscal responsibility and has advocated for the elimination of earmarks. His tactics have raised the ire of Members in both parties, especially appropriators.

While Flake is viewed as a long shot for the committee, he has strong backing from fiscal conservatives.

Americans for Prosperity wrote to Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) late last week to endorse Flake’s bid.

“You have a historic opportunity to help change the culture of the Appropriations Committee by appointing Congressman Flake,” wrote Tim Phillips, the group’s president.

A seat on the powerful committee opened up when then-Rep. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) was appointed to replace former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), who resigned late last year.

Also seeking the Appropriations seat are GOP Reps. Jo Bonner (Ala.), Henry Brown (S.C.), Tom Cole (Okla.), Dave Reichert (Wash.) and Michael Turner (Ohio).

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) withdrew his name from consideration and is supporting Cole.

Anticipating a Supreme Ruling. The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear a challenge to the “Millionaires’ Amendment,” a provision of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act that ups contribution limits for opponents of wealthy self-funding candidates.

The case, Jack Davis v. Federal Election Commission, likely will be argued this winter, with a decision expected by mid-summer.

Davis, a wealthy factory owner in Western New York, spent more than $2 million of his own money on a narrow loss last year to then-National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Reynolds (N.Y.). He spent about $1.2 million to run against Reynolds in 2004.

Davis argued that the Millionaires’ Amendment trampled on his Constitutional right of free speech and amounted to an incumbent protection racket. A three-judge federal panel in Washington, D.C., upheld the provision last year, saying Davis failed to show that his speech had been constrained.

— Lauren W. Whittington and Matthew Murray