Bush Uses Hill Recess to Appoint 5 to Posts

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), March 30, 2002 | Go to article overview
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Bush Uses Hill Recess to Appoint 5 to Posts


Byline: Stephen Dinan and Amy Fagan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

President Bush announced five recess appointments yesterday, including adding his campaign lawyer to the Federal Election Commission and naming a black conservative assistant secretary of education for civil rights.

The president appointed Michael E. Toner to the FEC, where he will help implement the new campaign-finance regulations Congress passed last week. Mr. Toner is chief counsel to the Republican National Committee and was general counsel to Bush-Cheney 2000.

Gerald Reynolds, a legal analyst at the Center for Equal Opportunity and president of the Center for New Black Leadership, was appointed assistant secretary of education for civil rights.

The president avoided the Senate confirmation process by making the appointments while Congress is on a two-week break for Easter and Passover. A recess appointee can serve through the end of the calendar year but must be confirmed by the Senate to hold the slot after that.

Democrats criticized Mr. Bush for circumventing the nomination process.

"This is one more example of the administration's lack of commitment to the enforcement of our nation's civil rights laws," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, who as chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee has jurisdiction over Mr. Reynolds' nomination.

"Gerald Reynolds' confirmation hearing lay serious doubts about his qualifications for this important post that effects the civil rights of millions of Americans," Mr. Kennedy said.

White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said the five nominations will still be pending before the Senate and that Mr. Bush hopes the confirmation process continues on them, but he said the president felt the slots needed to be filled now.

"All five are highly qualified for the position they have been nominated for, and the president will continue to work with the Senate so that these nominees receive a hearing and can be confirmed by the Senate," he said.

In addition to Mr. Toner and Mr. Reynolds, the president appointed Dennis L. Schornack to be commissioner and chairman of the International Joint Commission for the United States and Canada, Emil H. Frankel to be assistant secretary of transportation for transportation policy and Jeffrey Shane to be associate deputy secretary of transportation.

Jim Manley, Mr. Kennedy's spokesman, said there were concerns from civil rights groups over Mr. Reynolds' commitment to enforcing civil rights laws, including affirmative action. He said some women's groups were concerned that he would not adequately enforce Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs, including athletics.

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