Rich Galen

I know the Conservative ecosystem is in a tizzy about President Obama's making 15 recess appointments as soon as the Senate packed up for its Spring recess, but it is allowed by the Constitution and was utilized by President George W. Bush.

From Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution:

Sean Hannity FREE

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

One of the most famous recess appointments made by President Bush was that of John Bolton to be Ambassador to the United Nations. Democrats had filibustered Bolton's confirmation, so the President waited until the beginning of the August recess in 2005 to appoint him.

Ambassador Bolton was not likely to win Senate confirmation when his recess appointment expired, so he resigned effective the date of the adjournment of the 109th Congress in December, 2006.

After the GOP lost control of the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) prevented any further recess appointments by simply not having any recesses. When the House and Senate were on a break, one Democratic Senator would take the floor every three days to conduct a pro forma session during which no business was transacted, but no recess appointments could be made.

One person who did not receive a recess appointment was the President's second attempt to get an administrator of the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) confirmed. This time the guy was a retired Army two-star general named Robert A. Harding.

Seems that MG Harding (Ret.) had a company which won contracts with the Pentagon totaling as much as $200 million. One of them, according to, was a "$54 million contract to provide the Defense Intelligence Agency with civilian interrogators."

Ok. He knew something about that kind of work, so maybe the contract was legit.

But then, according to the Politico piece by Kasie Hunt:

The government terminated the contract after only a year and ultimately paid Harding's outfit about $6 million, triggering an audit that revealed the company had overbilled the government by at least $860,000.

When the firm appealed the audit … negotiations resulted in Harding Security Associates repaying an additional $1.8 million to the government - a total worth more than one-third of the total contract cost."

Getting fired after one year and failing at least one audit wasn't what got my attention.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at