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  • Obama's NLRB 'Recess' Appointees Circumvent Background Checks

    Two of President Obama’s “recess” appointments will begin their tenure at the National Labor Relations Board without having undergone background checks required of all nominees to the board, which are used to determine any past impropriety or conflicts of interest.

    The Senate committee handling the nominations of Democrats Sharon Block and Richard Griffin to the NLRB never received the required paperwork from the two nominees. The president submitted the nominations to the Senate on December 15, a day before it entered pro forma session, with most Senators returning to their home states.

    The paperwork includes information required for a background check, “which addresses whether taxes are paid and if the nominee is facing any pending civil or criminal investigations,” according to a committee release. “This also ensures that there are no conflicts-of-interest before being confirmed for the position.”

    After the committee receives that information, staff generally conduct interviews during which they ask nominees about the information provided. A source familiar with the committee’s advice and consent work said its staff – and hence committee members – would be woefully uninformed on the nominees until paperwork was filed and those interviews took place.

    The president has invoked alleged congressional gridlock as justification for his likely-unconstitutional “recess” appointments (not actually made during a recess), repeatedly invoking his “We Can’t Wait” slogan.

    “Senate Republicans’ disposition towards [the NLRB nominees] could not have been more clear,” claimed White House press secretary Jay Carney on Thursday. But committee spokesman Joe Brenckle said members had not taken positions on the nominees, for the simple reason that they had not undergone even the most basic vetting procedures. In other words, there is no evidence that the committee – let alone the full Senate – would have blocked those nominations even if they had come up for a vote.

    In fact, HELP committee rules specify that action cannot be taken on a nominee until five days after the paperwork is filed. So even if members had wanted to move Block and Griffin forward, they would have been unable to do so by the committee’s own written procedures.

    The Senate’s advice and consent duties act as a check on the executive, but they are also a mechanism for weeding out unsuitable or unqualified nominees. The president’s end run around the Senate is not just an affront to the separation of powers; it undermines the practical and immediate importance of the Senate’s role in vetting candidates for federal office.

    Note: this post has been revised.

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities, Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    33 Responses to Obama's NLRB 'Recess' Appointees Circumvent Background Checks

    1. TimAZ says:

      I doubt you'll be hearing any complaints from Dingy Harry.

    2. john says:

      The Founding Fathers of our country had the forsight to see why the separation of powers clause was so important to build into our Constitution. To insure our democracy. We are a Democracy, NOT a Dictatorship. I for one want to keep it that way.

      Everyday a little bit more of our freedoms are taken away. Remember how you cook a frog. If you drop it in a pot of boiling water it will jump out. But if you place it in a pot of nice warm water and turn the heat on, slowly but surely he wakes up cooked. It is time for America to wake up before it is too late.

      • fbanta says:

        America is not a democracy which Ben Franklin described as "two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner; Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote." America is a Constitutional Republic with the lawful authorities and responsibilities of the federal government specifically enumerated in the Constitution.

        We elect a government to meet the enumerated responsibilities within their strictly limited authorities; and to 'preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution': only this and nothing more as clearly affirmed by the 9th and 10th Amendments. The authorities do not change according to the political philosophy of the office holder.

        Every federal officer and every member of the military is required to take a solemn oath to 'preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution' as a prerequisite to being delegated any federal authority but clearly none are taking this essential responsibility to heart. We need to replace them with those who will.

    3. Lee Burns says:

      It would appear that the President's recent actions are a prelude to his seemingly unstated long-term goal to "see this country on it's knees before the world". What's in store for the next four years, abandonment of the two-term limit for president, complete government control of firearms, a pitifully small, ineffectual standing army, complete government control of the financial industry? How and when is this tyrranical behaviour going to be stopped? Also, to deny that the Democratic Senate leadership is complicit is to be extremely naive.

      • Concerned says:

        He is not a Politician he is a man who has a MISSION . He by action has little by little shown this. If you remember his Cabinet has many that were never vetted. Do you remember hearing the name Van Jones? Or the lady who believed in Mao. They are gone, but some are left and my concern is are they PRIVI i to security briefings and yet never vetted? Who are they that are passing laws and regulations that effect each and everyone of us. We pay their salaries but we know nothing about them or how much they are making or what their true agendas are for our country and for the American Citizens.

    4. Clare Rothi says:

      So what are we going to do about it–pretend it didn't happen?? When is Congress (includes both parties) going to stand up and perform it's Constitutional duties?? He is making a mockery of the very Constitution he swore he would uphold and protect and it must stop–is this what they teach at Harvard??

    5. Lloyd Scallan says:

      Knowing what we know about Obama, is this a surprise to anyone. Many so-called conservative outlets are still refusing to accept that Obama is fast becoming this nations first dictator. Or at least, refusing to publicly admit it.

    6. guest says:

      Do the NLRB's regulations have the power of "law"? If so , how was that power given to an unelected board, and why can't that power be rescinded?

      • yorkieczar says:

        Great question! I will lead with this question on Monday when I call my congress and senate members.

    7. steve h says:

      Recess appointments by Reagan – 240.
      Recess appoitments by George W. Bush – 171.
      Recess appointments by Obama – 33.

      Of course Heritage is going crazy over Obama's 33 – got to love the far right tea party machine at work. How do you all keep your non-profit, non-partisan status? Seriously. You fall further into the neo-conservative movement by the week.

      • Lachlan Markay lmarkay says:

        Actually, Heritage is objecting to Obama's appointments not because Congress was in recess, but because it *wasn't*. Recess appointments are employed by presidents from both parties. What Obama did is unprecedented, and likely unconstitutional.

      • MoreLiberalLies says:

        Obviously you are in the tank for Obama since it is clear you are spinning the truth. Either that or you are incapable of forming your own opinions and simply spewing liberal lies without having any idea what you are talking about. Making a fool out of yourself in the process. Wake up.

      • rho says:

        No! Congress was not in recess. Reading is fundemental, even for a liberal.

      • Kenan Walker says:

        Using deception is what you like? Hmmmmmmm.

    8. on to um says:

      Why would congress put up with this? Are they scared of this fraud or what
      On a more worring subject, What the heck are all these FEMA Camps all over
      the usa being built? Barbed wire leaning inside, thats what Geremany did.
      Not a word out of our Gov. WHATS GOING ON? Is any person of truth left
      in these United States OF America?On toum

    9. President Obama’s attempt to unilaterally appoint three people to seats on the National Labor Relations Board and Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (after the Senate blocked action on his nomination) is more than an unconstitutional attempt to circumvent the Senate’s advise-and-consent role. It is a breathtaking violation of the separation of powers and the duty of comity that the executive owes to Congress.

      Yes, some prior recess appointments have been politically unpopular, and a few have even raised legal questions. But never before has a president purported to make a “recess” appointment when the Senate is demonstrably not in recess. That is a constitutional abuse of a high order

    10. DanK says:

      Is there no one in Congress with the moral integrity to file paperwork with a court to block these appointments?

    11. Nameless Cynic says:

      So far, Obama has made less than 30 recess appointments. Bush made over 170, Reagan over 240. Even George HW Bush made over 75 in his one term. I don't recall Ron Paul and John McCain getting their panties in a twist over any of those.

      • Lachlan Markay lmarkay says:

        As noted above, Heritage is not objecting to recess appointments. The point is that President Obama did this while the Senate was still in pro forma session. To my knowledge, no president has ever done that.

        • Nameless Cynic says:

          Don't be ridiculous. Congress has effectively been in recess since 2010. Since they refuse to do anything, somebody's got to. That's called "Leadership."

          • Bobbie says:

            Why don't you open your mind? Bills upon bills have been proposed for economic and employment recovery while the president convinces you an illusion in his favor. Either you want the truth or you want to protect thieves or maybe you're one of them?

      • Kenan Walker says:

        My God, we let morons like you vote.

    12. Bill says:

      Senators should stand up and say that the Senate rules determine when they are in recess, not the President. Also, they shouldn't submit this to the courts since they have no jurisdiction over Senate rules. Some Senators should just stand up and refuse to accept the appointments as being valid and so any work done cannot be law. Ignore Harry Reid since he cannot overturn Senate rules.

    13. TakeItBack says:

      I have come to the conclusion that both parties are behind this power grabs. Not a whimper for congress, dem or repub. same for ndaa. The People need to take our country back and stop relying on the 3 branches to check each other. We must check all 3 ourselves.

    14. kent says:

      Isn't it time to begin the impeachment process?

    15. Erik says:

      Any recess appointment should be a temporary one, and should have to be cleared as soon as congress is back in session. Der Fuhrer Obama seems to be styling himself after Hugo Chavez. We better be careful that we don't let him get that kind of power.

      • Nameless Cynic says:

        Two things:
        1. How many of Bush's 171 recess appointments were temporary?
        2. Look up the term "Godwin's Law," will you? And then stop being an idiot.

    16. They weren't in recess. Can't they be voted out?

    17. Amazingoly says:

      Personally, I can't wait for a very angry congress to return. They are not going to let these illegal appointments stand as is. Remember, the House has the checkbook and other tools to stop the dictator- like irresponsible acts of Obama.

    18. BCre8F2 says:

      Where the hell is our Congress? They have taken a back seat to this dictator pulling his crap!! I WANT TO BE REPRESENTED!!!! This is not representation and I'm sick and tired of these stories, one after the other, and our Legislative Branch is nowhere to be found. WTH are we paying these people for?

    19. TeddyNovak says:

      This is the government the Founders warned us about.

    20. Take it to the bank says:

      No doubt about it, this is the most corrupt administration that I have seen in my lifetime.
      And to think they used to hang people for treason. Now they send them to Washington.
      I figured it out, I can always tell when Obummer is lying. Whenever his lips move.

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