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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

George LeMieux pick called conflict of interest



Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., and Rep. David Dreier, R-California in Politico: ... The controversies surrounding some of the appointments made after the 2008 election, including then-Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s alleged attempt to sell the seat formerly held by President Barack Obama, are well-known. As a result, we introduced a constitutional amendment requiring the direct election of all U.S. senators, regardless of how the vacancy occurs. We were proud to be joined by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Con­yers (D-Mich.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), the former chairman of that committee, in introducing the amendment.

Just eight months later, two more vacancies have already occurred in Massachusetts and Florida, and another is expected in Texas. In Florida, we saw Gov. Charlie Crist appoint his own former chief of staff to the seat he plans to run for in 2010. And if Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison resigns in November or December, her successor will be chosen by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the very person she plans to challenge in a Republican primary. Both of these situations raise serious questions about conflict of interest.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:17pm]


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