Ellen S. Seidman, nominated to be director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, is meeting with Senate Banking Committee members to get the ball rolling on her confirmation, said congressional sources.
The "courtesy calls" are traditional for nominees to top posts, but many Republican members are using the meetings to clear up lingering questions about her role in a controversial White House fund-raiser.
Republicans have scrutinized a memo she wrote for a May 13 fund-raising meeting between President Clinton, Comptroller of the Currency Eugene A. Ludwig, and a group of 17 bankers. However, sources said nothing has been uncovered that would doom her confirmation.
Indeed, the Senate last week confirmed Alexis Herman to be secretary of labor, despite similar questions about her role in providing administration access to the Democrats' large contributors.
Several congressional sources said Ms. Seidman's nomination is being delayed by Republicans to pressure the White House into filling other vacant posts.
Several financial-related positions, including two Securities and Exchange Commission seats and an Export-Import Bank director slot, are open, and the Clinton administration has not indicated when it will pick nominees.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse M. D'Amato has yet to schedule a hearing for Ms. Seidman, who was chosen by the administration in January. Currently, she is a White House aide for national economic policy.
Sen. D'Amato is pressing the White House to nominate one of his top aides to a long-vacant SEC commissioner position, sources said. Laura S. Unger, a banking committee staff member who has worked for Sen. D'Amato for seven years, is widely believed to be the choice of congressional Republicans for a GOP seat on the commission.
A staff member of Sen. D'Amato's denied Ms. Seidman's nomination is tied to progress on other posts. "The committee has an excellent record of moving nominees," said Richard Mills, banking committee spokesman.
Mr. Mills noted the Banking Committee has approved several administration nominees despite the SEC vacancy, including two Federal Reserve Board Governors and a member of the Council of Economic Advisors.