During the waning days of the 113th Congress, the Senate voted to confirm the nominations of Charlotte Burrows as a Commissioner, and David Lopez as General Counsel, of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The December 3, 2014 votes come a week after Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) issued a report criticizing the agency's recent activities: EEOC: An Agency on the Wrong Track? Litigation Failures, Misfocused Priorities and Lack of Transparency Raise Concerns about Important Anti-Discrimination Agency.
Last month, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions held a hearing to consider both nominations. During the hearing, Sen. Alexander and others reiterated concerns, expressed in the Report, that there exists a lack of transparency regarding the agency's issuance of guidance documents without soliciting meaningful public input, and that the agency pours too much of its energy and resources into litigating "high-profile" lawsuits and not enough into addressing filed discrimination charges.
The Report was particularly critical of the General Counsel's decision to initiate litigation "without the benefit of a commission vote," and pursue "abusive investigations." These allegations are likely why the vote to confirm Lopez's nomination was much narrower (53-43) than that to confirm Burrows (93-2).
Burrows' term will expire in five years; Lopez's in four.