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  • Ambassador to Haiti: Who Is Michele Sison?

    Wednesday, August 23, 2017
    Representing the U.S. at the UN, Sison found herself in the thick of the action in 2016 when the Obama administration clashed with the Russian government over the war in Syria. In 2017, she made it clear the Trump administration did not intend to contribute to a UN trust fund to fight Haiti’s cholera epidemic because the U.S. had already contributed more than $100 million to the anti-cholera effort. She also accused South Sudan of using man-made famine as a tactic in that country’s civil war.   read more
  • Director of the National Institute of Justice: Who Is David Muhlhausen?

    Sunday, August 06, 2017
    A research fellow at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, Muhlhausen is pro-death penalty, asserting that it’s a deterrent to crime, even though studies show otherwise. He has opposed the Violence Against Women Act because he believes the money it allocates is not well-used. And he supports voter IDs, claiming they may boost voter turnout, in spite of studies showing that minority voting has dropped in states with strict voter ID laws, benefiting the GOP.   read more
  • Under Secretary for Energy Science: Who Is Paul Dabbar?

    Friday, August 04, 2017
    Dabbar, a Trump campaign donor, has long worked for investment banker J.P. Morgan, handling mergers and acquisitions of power plants and utilities. Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz was not pleased with Dabbar’s nomination because it will reverse a department reorganization that combined the under secretary of energy and of science into one position that had facilitated innovation by enabling rapid integration "among basic science, applied research, technology demonstration and deployment."   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Peru: Who Is Krishna Urs?

    Thursday, August 03, 2017
    In 2009, two days after the inauguration of President Obama, Urs, stationed in Bolivia, caused a controversy when he walked out of a speech by Bolivian President Morales, who said: “The U.S. has fomented the regional disintegration of the country, holding secret meetings to promote disturbances against the national government.” Urs was then chargé d’affaires because Morales had already kicked out the U.S. envoy amid accusations the he was involved in a plot to overthrow the Bolivian leader.   read more
  • Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI): Who Is Christopher Wray?

    Thursday, August 03, 2017
    On August 1, 2017, the Senate's 92-5 vote to confirm Wray reflected bipartisan confidence in his professed commitment to independence--a concern of lawmakers in the wake of the James Comey firing and Trump’s alleged attempts to influence the Russia investigation. Wray promised that any such attempts under his watch would be dealt with “very sternly,” and that he'd “never allow the FBI’s work to be driven by anything other than the facts, the law and the impartial pursuit of justice. Period.”   read more
  • Not the Director of the Office of Personnel Management: Who Was George Nesterczuk?

    Wednesday, August 02, 2017
    A member of Trump's transition team, Nesterczuk was announced in May as Trump’s nominee to lead OPM. However, on July 31, Nesterczuk withdrew his name from consideration five days after 16 unions representing hundreds of thousands of federal workers sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs citing multiple objections to his nomination.   read more
  • Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration: Who Is Ronald Batory?

    Tuesday, August 01, 2017
    The nation’s top train man will be a retired railroad executive with nearly 50 years’ experience in the industry. Ron Batory, recently retired president of Conrail, had, in his youth, been advised by his father not to “waste a college education on a railroad.” But young Batory rejected that advice and joined DT&I Railroad, where he worked for years before taking top posts at CMW, Southern Pacific and others. In 1997, CSX and Norfolk Southern recruited Batory to become operations VP of Conrail.   read more
  • Not the Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Who Was James Clinger?

    Monday, July 31, 2017
    President Trump’s dubious claims that he will “drain the swamp” continued when on June 19, 2017, he nominated James H. Clinger to chair the FDIC, which insures bank deposits. A mere three weeks after that announcement, Clinger—on July 12—abruptly withdrew his nomination, citing “family-related obligations.” Although he has a reputation as a hard-working follower, as the new FDIC chairman he was expected to be more sympathetic to bankers than to their customers.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Italy and San Marino: Who Is Lew Eisenberg?

    Sunday, July 30, 2017
    The Trump administration added another member of the Goldman Sachs alumni association to its roster when it was announced that financier Lewis Eisenberg would be the next ambassador to Italy. Eisenberg was also the chairman of the Trump Victory Fund, which coordinated fundraising between Trump’s campaign and that of the Republican National Committee. There was some talk that Eisenberg might be in line for a cabinet post in the Trump administration, but he had to settle for the ambassadorship.   read more
  • Director of the Centers for Disease Control: Who Is Brenda Fitzgerald?

    Friday, July 28, 2017
    Fitzgerald is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist who practiced medicine for more than 30 years. Her medical practice has been criticized, however, for her use of so-called “anti-aging” remedies not approved by the FDA. As Georgia's Public Health Commissioner, she focused on reducing infant mortality, curbing tobacco use, and fighting obesity. She and her husband have donated more than $25,000 to Republican candidates, including $2,000 to then-House member Tom Price, now her new boss.   read more
  • California Forbids U.S. Immigration Agents from Pretending to be Police

    Thursday, July 27, 2017
    It is not uncommon for ICE agents to detain a person on suspicion of immigration status without a warrant. ICE agents have reportedly claimed to be police officers to gain consent to enter a person’s home – a tactic that is viewed as unethical, but within the powers granted to the officers. Civil rights groups supported the bill, looking to stymie the Trump administration’s promise to use any and all available tools to deport undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes.   read more
  • Director of the Defense Logistics Agency: Who Is Darrell K. Williams?

    Thursday, July 27, 2017
    No sooner had Williams taken charge of DLA than he was presented with a damaging report by the GAO about his agency. Williams, who has worked in Army logistics his entire career, has said that his three most important standards are “Lead by example, take care of soldiers and families, and mission accomplishment. I talk about taking care of soldiers and families [first] ...because, I still believe…that if you take care of the troops, the mission will happen. The reverse is not always true.”   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs: Who Is Carl Risch?

    Wednesday, July 26, 2017
    Risch joined DHS's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) in 2006. After serving as an appeals officer and a manager, he worked as a field officer in the Philippines and at the embassy in Seoul, South Korea and served as acting chief of staff at CIS at the time of his nomination. While with CIS, he made refugee processing visits to Thailand, Pakistan, Namibia and Malaysia to encourage the resettlement to the United States of victims of persecution and torture.   read more
  • Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation: Who Is Brenda Burman?

    Tuesday, July 25, 2017
    Burman worked for four years in private practice as an attorney handling natural resource issues before going to work in 2002 as legislative counsel for energy and water for then-Sen. Jon Kyl. At both jobs, she dealt extensively with Native American water rights issues. In 2005, Burman joined the Dept of the Interior as counselor to the assistant secretary for water and science. She then began her first stint at USBR as deputy commissioner for external and intergovernmental affairs.   read more
  • Administrator of the Maritime Administration: Who Is Mark Buzby?

    Monday, July 24, 2017
    Buzby participated in NATO command operations during the Kosovo crisis of 1998-1999, and later in two deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan. After a 2007 detainee suicide at Guantánamo, then under Buzby's command, he announced that prison conditions would be improved to promote “increased mental stimulation." He also warned that torture leads to false confessions, and that more useful information could be obtained from prisoners by "treating them like human beings in a businesslike manner.”   read more
  • Administrator of the Administration for Children and Families: Who Is Lynn A. Johnson?

    Sunday, July 23, 2017
    The next safety net chief will be Lynn A. Johnson, currently executive director of the Jefferson County (Colorado) Department of Human Services. For 14 years, Johnson worked for the federal court system as a probation and parole officer, specializing in dealing with offenders with mental health problems and those convicted of sex offenses. She also owned and ran a consulting firm focusing on mental health, high-risk youth, developmental disabilities, child welfare, and early childhood education.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity: Who Is Anna Maria Farias?

    Friday, July 21, 2017
    When the George W. Bush administration took over in 2001, Farias was named to head the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, the same position to which she was nominated in 2017, but the job fell through at that time. Instead, she started as counsel to HUD Secretary Martinez and later joined the Office of Community Planning and Development. Farias was named HUD’s director of faith-based and community initiatives in 2007.   read more
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