Slimy Payback

Bush Bypasses Dems to Name Ambassador
By JENNIFER LOVEN, AP

WASHINGTON (April 4) – President Bush named Republican fundraiser Sam Fox as U.S. ambassador to Belgium on Wednesday, using a maneuver that allowed him to bypass Congress, where Democrats had derailed Fox’s nomination.

The appointment, made while lawmakers were out of town on spring break, prompted angry rebukes from Democrats, who said Bush’s action may even be illegal.

Democrats had denounced Fox for his donation to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the 2004 presidential campaign. The group’s TV ads, which claimed that Sen. John Kerry exaggerated his military record in Vietnam, were viewed as a major factor in the Massachusetts Democrat ‘s election loss.

Recognizing Fox did not have the votes to obtain Senate confirmation in the Foreign Relations Committee, Bush withdrew the nomination last week. On Wednesday, with the Senate on a one-week break, the president used his power to make recess appointments to put Fox in the job without Senate confirmation.

This means Fox can remain ambassador until the end of the next session of Congress, effectively through the end of the Bush presidency.

“It’s sad but not surprising that this White House would abuse the power of the presidency to reward a donor over the objections of the Senate,” Kerry said in a statement.

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