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Fire with fire

Senate | Tired of delaying tactics over presidential nominees, Republicans decide they'll stand in the way of a Democratic cause: campaign-finance enforcement

Issue: "Mounting a defense," May 25, 2002

Senate Republicans don't plan on making it easy for the Federal Election Commission as the agency crafts regulations to implement the McCain-Feingold campaign speech restrictions. Still angry at the delays over the last two GOP nominees for FEC commissioner posts, Republicans say they will drag their feet on the nomination of former House counsel Ellen Weintraub unless Democrats meet demands on other nominations, including judicial picks. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle nominated Ms. Weintraub to the FEC post.

Ms. Weintraub would replace Democrat Karl Sandstrom. In late March, President Bush used a rare recess appointment to replace GOP commissioner Darryl Wold with Michael Toner, a counsel to the Bush campaign and then the Republican National Committee.

Ms. Weintraub has professional ties to a number of top Democrats through her job at the law firm of Perkins Coie. The firm manages political action committees affiliated with ambitious senators such as John Kerry (Mass.), Joe Lieberman (Conn.), and Evan Bayh (Ind.), as well as House leaders Richard Gephardt (Mo.), David Bonior (Mich.), and Martin Frost (Texas). But her closest tie to Democrats is her husband, William Dauster, legislative director for Sen. Russ Feingold, the major Senate architect of the legislation now spurring crunch time at the FEC.

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