Thursday, January 05, 2006

Bush Bypasses Senate To Appoint Cronies To Key Posts

Yesterday, President Bush took advantage of Congress's break and recess-appointed 17 individuals, bypassing the requirement for Senate approval. Several of these nominees had been held up by the Senate for further questioning.

Among the more controversial appointments was Ellen Sauerbrey, tapped to head the State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, a key agency for responding to foreign disasters.

As JABBS wrote back in October, Sauerbrey, a former member of the Republican National Committee who was Bush's Maryland state campaign chairwoman in 2000, has been a conservative activist for decades but has no experience mobilizing responses to humanitarian emergencies.

Kathleen Newland, director of the independent Migration Policy Institute, said former Bush appointee Arthur Dewey, former Clinton appointee Julia Taft, and earlier bureau heads had deep field experience before being named to the job.

"The refugee bureau has not been a spot for political appointments," Newland told the Los Angeles Times. "This is not a position for on-the-job learning."


Another questionable recess appointment was made for Julie Myers, picked to head Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Homeland Security agency that is charged with hunting down money launderers, sanctions busters and human traffickers and that is the sole enforcer of U.S. immigration laws. ICE, with 20,000 employees, is the second-largest investigative agency in the federal government.

Like Sauerbrey, Myers has no relevant experience for the post she was given. She does, however, have excellent connections. Myers recently married Homeland Security Secretrary Michael Chertoff's chief of staff, John F. Wood, and is the niece of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard B. Myers.

During her confirmation hearing Sept. 15 before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, her resume was found lacking.

"I'm really concerned about your management experience," said Sen. George V. Voinovich (R-OH). "I think that we ought to have a meeting with Mike Chertoff ... to ask him ... why he thinks you're qualified for the job. Because based on your resume, I don't think you are."


Blogger jfarnold said...

My brother in law and I were talking about this over Christmas. His contention was that the tapping was probably ok, because they were all terrorist suspects. It never occurred to him that the NSA could well be listening to ANYONE, including the press, the opposition, or their own mothers to find out what they were getting for Christmas. These people are not good guys, they're bad guys who THINK they are good guys.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a singularly uninformed article. To point out just a few errors/omissions, General Myers is no longer chairman of the Joint Chiefs; Julie Myers was engaged to her husband before his appointment to work w/ Chertoff; she's not "a Brooklyn attorney" (she was an ass't US Atty there for a couple of years & has been an administration official for longer than that); &, though no doubt insufficient in your view, she has plenty of relevant experience, esp. policing borders from another angle, export control, at the Commerce Dep't. You might also have mentioned that Sen. Voinovich, whom you quote opposing her, voted in favor of her nomination.

Journalists against Bush's BS, among whom I count myself, have a particular obligation to get their facts straight....

9:27 PM  
Blogger David R. Mark said...

Dear anonymous,

Thanks for your comments. I made a couple of adjustments to the way I referenced Myers' resume.

However, the Voinovich comments are valid. There are serious and widespread doubts about Myers' resume, and her qualifications for the job she received. Bush made a recess appointment to avoid Myers facing a difficult confirmation hearing.


11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even The National Review, a leading conservative mouthpiece that rarely disagrees with Bush, editorialized last September that Myers' appointment "smacks of cronyism."

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, David. Even your corrections contain errors. She wasn't facing a difficult confirmation hearing; she has already been through confirmation hearings before two Senate committees, both of which approved her nomination.

She would have been confirmed by the Senate, if only on a party-line vote (remember, Voinovich changed his mind), except that Senator Levin placed a hold on her nomination so that it couldn't be brought up for a vote. The reason: he's miffed that the Justice Dep't won't give him some documents he wants, docs wholly unrelated to Julie Myers.

So say what you will about her credentials, there was nothing underhanded about the recess appointment--at least, no more than there was about the Senate rules that allowed Levin to pull this off. That's the reason for a lot of the recess appts, btw, Dem holds placed under the Senate's ridiculous rules, not any fear that the nominees would be voted down.

12:49 PM  

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