The NY Post is reporting that the NRA blocked appointment of NY Mayor Bloomberg's girlfriend to head the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
This sounds very, very, strange. I doubt NRA would know he had a girlfriend, let alone that she was applying for a federal appointment, let alone try to block it in vengence. And the FDIC is not exactly an area where they'd have much clout. Nor the White House Personnel office (just try blocking an appointment that a powerful patron wants!).
The story admits that NRA HQ said it knows nothing of any such event. And it cites nobody as the source of the story (except an unnamed Senate aide, who says it was "obvious" that NRA did it), and can't name anyone as having blocked the nomination (except to say that "Any" of NRA's Senate allies "could have" placed a hold on it).
[Thanks to Budd Schroeder for the link]
February 1, 2006 -- WASHINGTON — The powerful National Rifle Association killed the appointment of Mayor Bloomberg's girlfriend to a top federal post in retaliation for Hizzoner's campaign against the gun group, Senate sources said yesterday.
Diana Taylor, the state banking commissioner, had been widely seen as a shoo-in as late as last week to head the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which oversees the nation's banks.
But the NRA wound up maneuvering behind the scenes to block her nomination at the last minute, to send a message to her billionaire boyfriend, sources told The Post.
"It's obvious the NRA hasn't been pleased with the mayor's campaign against guns," a Senate aide said.
"They wanted to do a little bit of political payback . . . They just killed it."
The apparent revenge attack comes after Bloomberg made a "war on guns" a top priority for his new term, taking several high-profile swipes at the lobbying organization amid a Post campaign for tougher anti-gun laws.
In his inaugural address last month, Bloomberg — in what aides called a reference to the NRA — said, "To those who distort our laws and aid and abet hardened criminals, know this: We will not rest until we secure all the tools we need to protect New Yorkers from the scourge of illegal guns."
The mayor also ripped lawmakers who give in to the gun lobby, calling them "cowards," and this month slammed them for limiting the activities of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
"It shows the power of one advocacy organization and, I would argue, the cowardice of people who succumb to their pressure," he said at the time.
The mayor declined comment yesterday.
Any of the NRA's numerous allies in the Republican-led Senate could have placed a "hold" on Taylor's nomination to stall it indefinitely.
Even the threat of such a hold could have been enough to send the White House back to the drawing board because Bush officials want the post filled as soon as possible.
An aide to a Senate Banking Committee member said the White House "wanted to move real quickly on this thing."
The NRA insisted it was not involved in nixing Taylor's nomination.
"We didn't have anything to do with it — that's outside our purview," spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said. "Our issue is with the mayor, and not anyone else."
Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), who sits on the NRA board, hinted that there was another reason for Taylor's doomed FDIC bid.
"I think she has more baggage than a friend who's the mayor of New York [at battle with] the NRA," he told The Post last night. "That's what I've been told."
Taylor, who completed the paperwork for the nomination and underwent a background check, was said to be "befuddled" that her nomination fell through.
Banking-industry sources were equally surprised.
One source said that Wall Street was "excited" about the nomination and that Taylor herself had made eager calls to Washington to check on the status of her expected nomination.
"Everyone's absolutely mystified by this," the source said. "This only happens when some new piece of information comes out. No one changes their mind this late in the process, and the administration doesn't change its mind."
Senate Banking Committee staffers had been told to expect Taylor's nomination soon, and learned that it had gone kaput Friday.