Archive for ‘appointments’

February 2, 2009

Agreeing with Feingold twice since the inauguration

by thoughtfulconservative

UPDATE: This is getting ridiculous. Once again I agree with Mr. Feingold,

[Gregg] is well qualified for this position. But the apparent behind-the-scenes deal-making that went on to determine who will fill Senator Gregg’s vacancy is alarmingly undemocratic. Once again, Americans will be represented in the Senate for nearly two years by someone they had no hand in electing. As the number of Senators appointed to their seats continues to rise, it’s increasingly clear that we need to fix this constitutional anachronism. It is time to pass a constitutional amendment to end appointments by governors and the political gamesmanship they encourage.

First his call for to end Senate appointments by state governors and now he votes against confirming Geithner

Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia and Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin. Independent Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, who caucuses with the Democrats, also voted against confirmation.

I gotta go check the sky and make sure it’s not falling.

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February 2, 2009

Democratic scandal round-up

by thoughtfulconservative

UPDATE III: Daschle is out.

UPDATE II: And the hits keep coming,

Tom Daschle backed the patron who paid him a million-dollar salary and supplied him with a free car and driver for a job inside the Obama administration, two Democrats said Monday.

Leo Hindery, whose InterMedia Partners employed the former Senate majority leader, had been mentioned as a possible secretary of commerce or U.S. trade representative.

“Tom was pushing for him,” said one Democratic source.

To Obama’s credit,

Obama’s aides rejected Daschle’s suggestion that a top job go to Hindery, for whose private equity fund Daschle had served as a rainmaker and adviser.

UPDATE: And another one bites the dust

Nancy Killefer, who failed for a year and a half to pay employment taxes on household help, has withdrawn her candidacy to be the first chief performance officer for the federal government, the White House said Tuesday.

Killefer was the second major Obama administration nominee to withdraw and the third to have tax problems complicate their nomination after President Barack Obama announced their selection.

And Michelle Malkin has another tax problem for Daschle.

We’re gonna need a scorecard pretty soon.

Amanda Carpenter has a collection which includes the recent newsmakers, Daschle, Geithner and Rangel and reminds us the Al Franken still has some tax problems.

Franken, who is still fighting incumbent GOP Sen. Norm Coleman for Minnesota’s Senate seat, failed to pay at least $70,000 in taxes to 17 states prior to running for office.

Michelle Malkin reports on the White House’s opinion on Daschle’s troubles. If only the Democrats had been as understanding the last eight years.

Via TheHill.com Here’s what Gibbs said

It’s a serious mistake, but laying that mistake next to a three-decade career in public service, the president believes that Sen. Daschle is still the best suited to shepherd healthcare reform through Congress and get something to the president’s desk that will save the American people money and make the quality of healthcare better.

Can you imagine this being said about a Republican? Yeah, me either.

And now via the Instapundit and The Corner, we hear that Chris Dodd is refinancing his mortgage.

Sen. Dodd, whose committee has oversight over the mortgage and banking industries, faced heavy criticism in his home state for not releasing details of his mortgages when the controversy erupted last year.

Sen. Dodd said Monday he received a $275,000 30-year, adjustable rate loan at 4.5% interest for his East Haddam home. The Washington home was financed with a 30-year adjustable loan of $506,000 with a 4.25% rate.

The terms of the mortgages are under investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.

The TaxProf has more on Daschle than you will want to read (H/t Instapundit).

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January 27, 2009

More lobbyist problems for Obama?

by thoughtfulconservative

First, William Lynn, now New Intel Director Blair Resigns Defense Company Post

Before taking his new job as head of U.S. intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair has to resign lucrative directorships on the boards of two companies that do tens of millions of dollars of business with the Defense Department.

Blair, who two years ago ran afoul of Pentagon conflict-of-interest rules, has already resigned a $100,000-a-year post with Iridium Satellite LLC, according to company spokeswoman Liz DeCastro.

This guy has already had problems with conflict of interest. And he’s going to run U.S. intelligence? This is almost as good as Tim “Turbo Tax” Geithner.

Speaking of our new Secretary of the Treasury,

Newly installed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner issued new rules Tuesday restricting contacts with lobbyists – and then hired one to be his top aide.

Patterson’s appointment marks the second time in President Barack Obama’s first week in office that the administration has had to explain how it’s complying with its own ethics rules as it hires a bevy of Washington insiders for administration jobs.

The exceptions and “special cases” are coming fast and furious. These appointments also were, no doubt, “vital” and “in the public interest,” just as Lynn is.

Oh, yeah, and there’s still the Clintons.

Bill Clinton pulled down $5.7 million in speaking fees last year – almost entirely from foreign sources, including nearly $2.1 million after news circulated that Hillary Clinton was in line for Secretary of State.

Former President Clinton’s globetrotting speaking tours and charitable activities were considered the major impediment to his wife’s confirmation. The Senate approved her nomination only after he agreed to voluntarily dial back his activities, partly by alerting ethics officials to any proposed foreign speaking arrangements.

A disclosure statement filed by Secretary Clinton highlights the tricky spot in which she may find herself going forward if her husband keeps up his money-making international travels.

[NOTE: All emphases in the above quotes are mine.]

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January 23, 2009

“Tracking Barack Obama’s Campaign Promises”

by thoughtfulconservative

PolitiFact, the political fact checking site run by the St. Petersburg Times, is keeping track of all 500+ of Barack Obama’s campaign promises.

Recently they had to pull back from one.

When we launched the Obameter a week ago, we said we would periodically revisit our rulings on President Obama’s campaign promises to see if an item needed to be updated. We figured that occasionally we’d even have to change a Promise Kept to a Compromise or a Promise Broken because of new information. That’s what we’re doing today.

Here’s the promise as documented by PolitiFact,

“No political appointees in an Obama-Biden administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years. And no political appointee will be able to lobby the executive branch after leaving government service during the remainder of the administration.”

He signed the order, for which I give him credit. Too long I’ve been concerned about the so-called revolving door where government employees leave to become lobbyist. But then he wants exceptions for a couple of appointees, most notable of which is William Lynn, appointed to be a deputy to the Secretary of Defense.

Puzzling is PoliFact’s moving the needle back to “Compromise.”

But we’ve since learned new information that is prompting us to keep a closer eye Promise No. 240 and move the needle to Compromise.

Now a compromise to me means, at least in politics,

something intermediate between or blending qualities of two different thing.

Usually that involves two parties, but the only one Obama compromised with was himself.

But the administration changed the rules to ease Lynn’s nomination on Friday.

Back to the PolitiFact assessment,

The executive order Obama signed includes a waiver clause. The executive order says a waiver may be granted if “the literal application of the restriction is inconsistent with the purposes of the restriction” or “it is in the public interest …. The public interest shall include, but not be limited to, exigent circumstances relating to national security or to the economy.”

Since there’s only one or two right now,

Since there’s only talk of one or two waivers now, we’re going to drop the Obameter rating a notch to Compromise. But we’ll be keeping a close eye to see if Obama seeks many waivers and we might have to revisit our rating.

Why was the waiver necessary? Secretary Robert Gates

requested Lynn as his deputy and did not want Lynn to have to recuse himself outright from all decisions involving Raytheon because it would severely limit his ability to do his job.

It looks pretty bad when you have an exception so soon after making an executive order that drew so much praise from watchdog groups.

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