BREAKING: Bush names Swift Boat funder as ambassador.

AP reports:

“President Bush named Republican fundraiser Sam Fox as U.S. ambassador to Belgium on Wednesday, using a maneuver that allowed him to bypass Congress where Democrats had derailed Fox’s nomination. …

Recognizing Fox did not have the votes to obtain Senate confirmation, Bush withdrew the nomination last month. On Wednesday, with Congress out of town for a spring break, the president used his power to make recess appointments to put Fox in the job without Senate confirmation.

This means Fox can remain ambassador until the end of the next session of Congress, effectively through the end of the Bush presidency.”

UPDATE: The White House originally said that it had pulled Fox because “his nomination would not have passed” the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Fox donated $50,000 to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.

UPDATE II: Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) responds: “I seriously question the legality of the President’s use of the recess appointment authority in this instance. I intend to seek an opinion on the legality of this appointment from the General Accountability Office and invite other Senators to join with me in that request. This is underhanded and an abuse of Executive authority — sadly this behavior has become the hallmark of this administration.”