With a quiet, almost unnoticed nomination just before Thanksgiving, President Barack Obama rewarded Media Matters for its help in attacking reporters and critics of the administration. At the same time, he virtually guaranteed that a federal agency that is supposed to improve the administration of elections will instead become a partisan battleground intended to help his political party.

On Nov. 19, the White House issued a press release announcing that it was withdrawing the nomination of Myrna Perez, a lawyer at the Brennan Center, to be a commissioner on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). It instead nominated Matthew S. Butler, the former CEO and president of the George Soros-funded left-wing advocacy group Media Matters, to replace her.

The EAC is a bipartisan agency created in 2004 by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, the election reform law that Congress passed in the wake of the 2000 presidential election and the controversy over what happened in Florida. The EAC, which is governed by four full-time commissioners — two Democrats and two Republicans — is supposed to assist and guide state and local election administrators in improving the administration of elections for federal office. The EAC serves as a national clearinghouse and resource for information about the best practices in election administration. It is also responsible for the accreditation of testing laboratories and the certification, decertification, and recertification of voting systems, like the electronic voting machines many people use when they vote in their precincts.

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