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  • Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology: Who Is Walter Copan?

    Thursday, October 19, 2017
    Copan is a leading expert in the commercialization of technology who says his top priority is to implement the Cybersecurity Framework, an effort led by NIST to improve network security across federal agencies as well as industry. He will have to defend NIST’s budget ($962 million for FY2017), which Trump has proposed to cut by 24%, including a 13% cut to its seven research labs and an 86% cut to its industrial technology services program.   read more
  • Ambassador to Russia: Who Is Jon Huntsman?

    Monday, October 02, 2017
    Huntsman’s biggest political controversy came in 2009 when he publicly backed civil unions for gay couples, even though he'd backed a state amendment passed in 2004 that prohibited same-sex marriage. The decision angered conservatives. President Obama appointed Huntsman to be ambassador to China in 2009. His tenure ended in 2011, shortly after Huntsman caused a controversy in China by being present in an area of a planned protest. Huntsman said he was coincidentally in the area shopping.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Fossil Energy: Who Is Steve Winberg?

    Sunday, October 01, 2017
    Winberg joined the Consol Energy utility firm in 2002 and worked his way up to a VP post. He was also Consol’s representative on the board of FutureGen Industrial Alliance. The group of electricity generators, coal companies and manufacturers was supposed to build the first coal power plant to capture carbon dioxide and store it underground instead of emitting it in the air. No such commercial plants were built, with Winberg blaming this on poor government support.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Croatia: Who Is Robert Kohorst?

    Friday, September 29, 2017
    After six years working for Public Storage, Kohorst, in 1990, became CEO of Tiger Shark Golf, a golf club maker, and of the Halloween costume firm Masquerade International, which Kohorst later sold to a company that marketed clothing for dogs. Kohorst has been a big donor to GOP candidates, having given $650,000 to the RNC alone between 2012 and 2016, and $194,000 to the Trump Victory PAC. After the election, Kohorst was made a member of Donald Trump’s Transition Finance Committee.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability: Who Is Bruce Walker?

    Thursday, September 28, 2017
    Walker worked for 18 years for Consolidated Edison, New York City’s electrical supplier, and served on the utility’s Biological Chemical Weapons Response Team. He later dealt with the power emergencies caused by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, and the widespread power blackout in August 2003. Walker co-founded the Global Smart Grid Federation, a 10-nation collaboration to modernize electric energy systems, and served on two DOE advisory committees.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Estonia: Who Is Sonny Masso?

    Wednesday, September 27, 2017
    Masso was VP at Anteon Corp, which specialized in simulators and interrogator training. He was then senior VP for Navy and missile defense programs at SAIC Corp. He's a senior fellow at the conservative Potomac Institute, and has written for the right wing website Breitbart, attacking the deal over Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Among his military awards, Masso is most proud of the commendation he received as a member of Navy Command Center 106 for actions during and after the 9/11 attacks.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health: Who Is David Zatezalo?

    Tuesday, September 26, 2017
    In a case of puting a fox in charge of a henhouse, President Trump has named a coal industry CEO with a record of safety violations to be his top mine safety enforcer. David Zatezalo enjoyed a long career as a mining industry executive, including years as a top official at Rhino Resources, which was repeatedly cited by safety officials for breaking the law. Though he touts his experience as a coal miner, Zatezalo never faced the prospect of a life working underground the way most miners do.   read more
  • Chair of the Federal Labor Relations Authority: Who Is Colleen Duffy Kiko?

    Monday, September 25, 2017
    In 2002, Kiko became a member of the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board. In 2005, President George W. Bush appointed her to be FLRA general counsel, where she served until 2008. Her stint as general counsel coincided with a marked decline in employee morale at FLRA, which earned the title of the worst small agency to work for three years in a row. In 2016, she co-founded Future with Hope Women, a group for Catholic women older than forty.   read more
  • Director of the Office of Legacy Management: Who Is Carmelo Melendez?

    Sunday, September 24, 2017
    Melendez has served as a civilian in the departments of Defense and State in civil engineering and property management roles. In the late 2000s, he worked in the Dept of Energy’s Office of Engineering and Construction Management. He left to become an assistant chief of staff in the Marine Corps Combat Development Command and director of Installations and Environment in the National Capital Region. Melendez was in charge of the facilities at Quantico Marine Base during a period of rapid growth.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to India: Who Is Kenneth Juster?

    Friday, September 22, 2017
    Juster served as U.S. chair of the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group, and was instrumental in an initiative between the U.S. and India that led to a civil nuclear agreement between the nations. This helped make Juster perhaps more qualified for his post than most non-State Department ambassadorial appointees. He joined Trump's economic team early in the administration but fell out of favor in the spring of 2017 in the internecine battles in the executive branch.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Germany: Who Is Richard Grenell?

    Thursday, September 21, 2017
    Grenell was named in 2001 to be spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the UN, becoming the longest-serving person at the job. He next joined industry, first as a VP for DaVita Healthcare, then forming his own firm, Capitol Media Partners. In 2012, Grenell served as Mitt Romney’s foreign affairs spokesman, but was chased off the campaign by anti-gay attacks from the right. Since then, he has contributed to Fox News and other conservative outlets, where he often sniped at the Obama administration.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Timor-Leste: Who Is Kathleen Fitzpatrick?

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017
    Fitzpatrick served as political counselor at the embassy in Madrid in 2003 and returned to the U.S. in 2007 as director of the Office of Southern European Affairs. She was named deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor in 2010 and in 2012 became chief of staff in the Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights. In 2014, she was appointed principal deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.   read more
  • Alabama Candidate Claimed Endorsement of Dead Person

    Wednesday, September 20, 2017
    In Alabama’s runoff election for the GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, Luther Strange may have the crowning endorsement of President Trump, but Roy Moore seemed to have support from beyond the grave. On Monday night, Moore’s campaign deleted an endorsement on its website from conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, after it became apparent that Schlafly died last year at the age of 92. The two candidates have sought endorsements outside of Alabama to win over GOP voters.   read more
  • Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy: Who Is Tom Marino?

    Tuesday, September 19, 2017
    In 2007, Marino had to recuse himself from an organized crime investigation because he’d signed a letter of referral for Louis DeNaples, who had ties to a crime family. Under investigation by the Justice Dept, Marino resigned and went to work for DeNaples. In Congress, Marino sponsored a law at the behest of big pharma to make it harder to stop sales of addictive drugs--causing the DEA to show an “immediate” rather than “imminent” threat to the public to stop sales.   read more
  • Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA): Who Is Jim Bridenstine?

    Monday, September 18, 2017
    Although Bridenstine has a sincere interest in space and NASA, his extreme right-wing views, including climate change denial, have drawn criticism from scientists and even politicians from his own party. A backer of Donald Trump for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, he lobbied for a job in the new administration after the election and positioned himself for the NASA nomination. He deleted most of the social media posts, many containing speeches denying climate change, made by his campaign.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Zambia: Who Is Dan Foote?

    Sunday, September 17, 2017
    In 2010, Foote was in Colombia as director of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) section in that country. In Afghanistan he served as coordinating director at the embassy, where he managed U.S. civilian foreign assistance and law enforcement activities. In 2015, he returned to Washington as a deputy assistant secretary for INL to oversee its activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in addition to its Office of Anticrime Programs.   read more
  • Administrator of the General Services Administration: Who Is Emily W. Murphy?

    Friday, September 15, 2017
    President Trump may hope he can rely on Murphy's lifelong GOP partisanship to stymie a GSA Inspector General probe into his company’s GSA lease for the building where the Washington Trump Hotel is located. In March, GSA exempted Trump from being in violation of a lease provision, a decision called “unbelievable” by two prominent law professors. Since January, Murphy has served as White House liaison to GSA but it's not known whether she had any input on the Trump Hotel GSA lease decision.   read more
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