President Obama is looking to fill out the six-member Federal Election Commission (see recent pro-SEIU FEC decision) with someone he can count on to support his views on campaign law. It is not surprising he turned to his friend Andy Stern’s union Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Obama has appointed SEIU lawyer John Sullivan, who was intertwined in the Clinton/DNC/McAuliffe/Teamster scandal that resulted in Jimmy Hoffa’s ascension to the Teamster throne, but for over a year the nomination remains in political limbo.
Could it be that Obama appointees have finally reached such a level of ethical absurdity that even the Obama allies in the Senate are pulling back?
Sullivan was a lawyer for Teamster President Ron Carey when he was convicted of laundering Teamster forced-dues and fees through the Democratic [sic] National Committee. He also served as SEIU’s lawyer for its 527 Federal Election Campaign Committee, “America Coming Together (ACT),” that received the second largest fine in Federal Election Commission (FEC) history.
While these facts render this appointment truly absurd, it is also appears unlikely that ethical concerns are the underlying issue in the appointment delay.
Here’s an update provided by the Center for Public Integrity in May 2010:
One full year after being nominated to the Federal Election Commission, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) lawyer John J. Sullivan is still waiting for Senate confirmation, caught in a dispute over other nominations for the agency. As a result of the standoff, the Obama administration has yet to put any stamp on the FEC.
In fact, this month when Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri unsuccessfully sought unanimous consent to confirm a long list of held-up nominees, she did not include Sullivan. When the Republican Minority Whip inquired as to why his name was skipped over, she blamed a fellow Democrat for the hold.
The Center contacted Sullivan, still working at SEIU, to ask him where the nomination stands. “I honestly don’t know,” he replied. He said McCain and Feingold have been clear that their concern is not with him, but with the lack of other nominations for the commission, and noted that he keeps in touch with the White House but “nothing’s really changed so there’s not a lot to talk about.”
Yet important questions remain. Why has the administration not nominated anyone to fill the other two seats? Why has Sen. Reid not attempted to force a vote on the Sullivan nomination? Why are Sens. Feingold and McCain continuing to hold up the nomination when doing so has not spurred the administration to action?
Calls to the White House press office and the offices of Senators Feingold, McCain, and Reid were not returned.
It would be interesting to know for certain why the nomination of SEIU’s Sullivan remains in limbo.