Members of Election Oversight Committee Call on EAC Commissioner to Resign

Dec 3, 2009

WASHINGTON - Today, the GOP members of the Committee on House Administration condemned politically discriminatory hiring by the Election Assistance Commission ("EAC") and called on the commissioner involved to step down.

 On Wednesday, the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), the agency responsible for enforcing federal laws on personnel practices, announced that the EAC will pay "a substantial monetary settlement" in a case where "OSC's investigation uncovered evidence that the EAC illegally refused to approve the complainant's appointment because he was a Republican."  OSC's press release noted that two EAC commissioners voted to disapprove the appointment for the position of general counsel after they "researched his off-the-job political activity or received contacts about his employment."  One of those commissioners has left the agency, but the other, Gracia Hillman, continues to serve as a commissioner.

Representative Dan Lungren, R-Calif., the Ranking Republican Member, said, "This is a blatantly political and, therefore, apparently illegal case of political hiring in a government agency.  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.  Gracia Hillman should resign from the EAC for bringing partisan politics into an agency that is supposed to promote fair elections."

Representative Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the Ranking Republican Member of the Elections Subcommittee, said, "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.  The people responsible should be held accountable for their actions, and for Commissioner Hillman that means immediate resignation from the EAC."

Representative Gregg Harper, R-Miss., said, "Our investigation of this matter confirms that it was a clear case of refusing to hire the best candidate solely because he was a Republican. The action calls the EAC's integrity into doubt and adds yet another burden on already-suffering taxpayers.  If the EAC cannot put partisanship aside when hiring staff, how can we trust it will put partisanship aside when dealing with elections?  Nothing can undo the damage that is done. Fairness for the voters, the taxpayers, and all federal employees requires that Commissioner Hillman resign."


For more information, please contact the Committee press office at (202) 225-8281.