January 25th, 2010, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson today thanked Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) for helping to block Barack Obama’s nominee for Director of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Errol Southers. Southers withdrew his nomination late last week.
Wilson said Southers never answered outstanding questions about whether he would support mandatory union bargaining for TSA employees. “Southers should have answered Senator DeMint’s very simple question. The answers he could have given would have most certainly been helpful in expediting his nomination,” Wilson said.
“Instead, Southers stonewalled DeMint, giving Senators reason to believe that Southers prioritized union kickbacks over homeland security,” Wilson added.
Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) had placed a legislative hold on Southers, preventing him from being confirmed via unanimous consent. It would have taken 60 votes in the Senate to break the hold.
Speaking on NBC News this morning with Matt Lauer, DeMint had said, “what I’ve asked for, Matt, is just some debate and a recorded vote. They, they want to pass Mr. Southers in, in secret, without a recorded vote. I think there’s some significant issues. I’ve asked him if he is going to change the policy of collective bargaining within the TSA and he will not give me a straight answer.
Wilson and other critics also took issue with Southers’ abusing his position to order background searches on his estranged wife’s boyfriend, and for “equating millions of Americans with domestic terrorists.”
Wilson pointed to a 2008 video interview when Southers said, “Most of the domestic groups that we have to pay attention to here are white supremacist groups, they’re anti-government, in most cases anti-abortion, they are usually survivalist types in nature, [and Christian] identity-oriented.”
Complaining about the process of confirmation, Southers issued a statement with his withdrawal: “It is apparent that this path has been obstructed by political ideology… My nomination has become a lightning rod for those who have chosen to push a political agenda at the risk of the safety and security of the American people. This partisan climate is unacceptable and I refuse to allow myself to remain part of their dialogue.”
Wilson said “All he had to do was honestly answer Senator DeMint’s question about mandatory union bargaining for TSA employees. Rather than just answering the question, which was a simple yes or no, and agreeing to be judged by his answer, Southers instead opted to flee any accountability for his views — which now one must assume was in favor union bargaining.”