By Ramsey Cox
The Senate voted 52-42 Tuesday to confirm Keith Harper to the U.N. Human Rights Council, despite objections over his former roll as a fundraiser for President Obama.
On Monday, the Senate voted 51-37 to end debate on Harper’s nomination. Since Senate Democrats used the “nuclear option” last year to change the Senate filibuster rules unilaterally to advance most nominations on a simple-majority vote, Republicans couldn’t block the nominee.
“Mr. Harper is just another example of a campaign bundler wholly unqualified for the position in which he is nominated,” McCain said. “What [also] concerns me is his character.”
Harper, a member of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma, was a top bundler for the Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008 and a member of the administration’s transition team. He will be the first member of a federally recognized tribe to serve in such a role.
McCain said Harper did a disservice to Native Americans when he served as co-counsel in the class-action lawsuit Cobell v. Salazar. The lawsuit resulted in a $3.4 billion settlement, and Harper made millions from the deal.
McCain said four Native Americans involved in the lawsuit didn’t want to accept the deal, but Harper and his legal team “bullied” them into it.
“He clearly abused these people’s human rights and now he’s going to be an ambassador on human rights?” McCain said.
The Senate also voted 50-44 on Tuesday to end debate on the nomination of Sharon Bowen to be a commissioner of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Republicans could force up to four hours of debate on Bowen before final confirmation later in the day.
— Jasmine Sachar contributed to this article.