WASHINGTON – Congressional Democrats today sent a list of several candidates whom they are recommending to the President for appointment as the next Comptroller General. Their letter derails attempts to develop a slate of candidates that could be agreed to on a bipartisan basis by the statutory Commission charged with making this recommendation to the President.

The Comptroller General serves as the leader of the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The office of Comptroller General has been vacant since March 2008 when former Comptroller General David M. Walker resigned.

Following a nomination by the President, the Senate must approve the appointment. Senator Susan Collins, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which will vet the nominee, issued the following statement on Tuesday:

"I am extremely disappointed that Congressional Democrats have abruptly ended the selection process for the next Comptroller General without a bipartisan agreement on the list of proposed nominees to be submitted to the President,” Senator Collins said. “We have had several exceptionally qualified individuals apply to be the next leader of the GAO, and it should have been possible to come up with a consensus list.

"As Congress’s fiscal watchdog, the next Comptroller General must assume the responsibilities of the office with a completely nonpartisan attitude. Given the fiscal challenges that our nation will confront during the 15-year term of the next Comptroller General, the nominee ultimately chosen by the President must demonstrate, by both word and deed, that partisanship has no place at the GAO. Any nominee forwarded to the Senate, and reviewed by the Committee on which I serve as Ranking Member, must have the experience and intellect necessary for the job and the integrity and judgment to perform it with only one interest at heart – that of America’s taxpayers."

The Commission, established by law to provide at least three recommended candidates to the President for the vacant Comptroller General position, consists of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.