Republicans Demand That Election Assistance Commissioner Quit

Posted December 3, 2009 at 4:52pm

Republicans on the House Administration Committee called for the resignation of an election assistance commissioner Thursday, in the wake of revelations that the EAC rejected an applicant for a general counsel position because he was Republican.The U.S. Office of Special Counsel announced Wednesday that it had uncovered evidence that the commission — a government agency that provides guidance on election standards — “illegally refused to approve [the applicant’s] appointment because he was Republican.— According to the OSC press release, the EAC has agreed to pay a settlement to the applicant, who filed a formal complaint.“This is a blatantly political and, therefore, apparently illegal case of political hiring in a government agency,— Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), the ranking member on the Administration Committee, said in a statement. “The EAC’s refusal to hire the best candidate for the job, solely because he was a Republican, has left the agency without a general counsel for more than a year and now it is going to hit taxpayers who are already hurting.—Though the OSC announcement did not mention the name of the general counsel applicant, it is assumed to be David Blackwood, who applied for the position last year. In late 2008, all four EAC commissioners selected him for the position, but in early 2009, two of the commissioners reversed their decision and voted against his appointment.During its investigation, the OSC found that in the time between the commission’s original selection and the subsequent vote, the two commissioners who reversed their decision “researched his off-the-job political activity or received contacts about his appointment.—Those commissioners, according to EAC documents, were Gracia Hillman and Rosemary Rodriguez. While Rodriquez has since left the panel, Hillman is still a commissioner. Lungren — along with Republican Reps. Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) and Gregg Harper (Miss.) — called for her resignation Thursday.“In April, the Subcommittee on Elections questioned the EAC about its decision not to hire this candidate as general counsel. We were not satisfied with the answers, and this announcement confirms the worst,— said McCarthy, ranking member of the subcommittee. “The people responsible should be held accountable for their actions, and for Commissioner Hillman that means immediate resignation from the EAC.—