An Abuse of Power

Today, in an unprecedented move, President Bush announced that he would use a recess appointment to install his embattled nominee John Bolton as Ambassador to the United Nations -- over the objection of Senate Democrats and many Republicans. The appointment comes amid unanswered questions regarding Bolton's involvement in an ongoing State Department probe about the use of false intelligence.

Bush's decision to circumvent bipartisan opposition to Bolton is another example of the White House's willingness to abuse their power and silence critics in an effort to reward loyal political allies, even at the expense of America's international stature and national security.

Bolton has aroused significant bipartisan opposition in the Senate because the White House repeatedly stonewalled specific, legitimate requests from senators for access to Bolton's employment records at the White House and the State Department. Bolton attracted greater criticism last week when it was revealed that he had failed to report on his Senate questionnaire that he was questioned by the State Department Inspector General probing the use of false intelligence data in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean issued the following statement and sharply criticized President Bush's recess appointment of Bolton to the United Nations:

"In a truly arrogant move, President Bush abused his power by refusing to provide documents to answer legitimate questions about John Bolton and our national security, and his use of the recess appointment for one of the most important and sensitive posts in international diplomacy is troubling," said Dean.

"Bolton is the next in a line of Bush nominees who have had their integrity called into question because of this President's continuing failure to fulfill his constitutional obligation to be honest and forthright with the Senate and the American people. By moving unilaterally to overrule the Senate and appoint a nominee who is being dogged by significant questions about his integrity on intelligence matters, Bush has reduced our nation's ability to cooperate with our allies on the war on terror."

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