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  • Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development: Who Is Anne Hazlett?

    Sunday, March 18, 2018
    In 2008, Hazlett was named by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) as the state’s director of agriculture. She returned to Washington in October 2009 as chief Republican counsel to the Senate Agriculture Committee. When Republicans regained control of the Senate in January 2015, Hazlett was promoted to the Committee’s chief counsel. She remained in this position until joining USDA. Since taking the job, Hazlett has focused on opioid abuse and rural broadband, among other issues.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary for HUD Policy Development and Research: Who Is Seth Appleton?

    Thursday, February 08, 2018
    A one-time intern at the Department of State and in the U.S. Senate while in college, Appleton eventually joined the staff of Rep. Sam Graves (R-Missouri) before joining Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer’s office as a legislative assistant in 2009. He had previously worked as Luetkemeyer’s policy director during his 2008 Congressional campaign. Appleton was promoted to be Luetkemeyer’s chief of staff in 2009. He remained with Luetkemeyer until leaving in August 2017 for HUD.   read more
  • Director of the United States Geological Survey: Who Is James Reilly?

    Wednesday, February 07, 2018
    An oil company geologist, Reilly turned his childhood dream of becoming an astronaut into reality. His first NASA mission was in 1998 when Endeavour visited the Russian space station. His 2001 space trip was more grueling; he flew aboard Atlantis and performed three spacewalks to help install an airlock on the International Space Station. In 2007 he took two spacewalks devoted to station construction . All told, Reilly spent more than 853 hours in space and performed 31 hours of spacewalks.   read more
  • Liberia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Lois Brutus?

    Monday, February 05, 2018
    Brutus successfully advocated for a tougher rape law in Liberia. She also worked as child fighter coordinator at the UN observer mission in Liberia and in the Children Assistance Program as project coordinator for the USAID war affected youth program. Brutus is a founding member and former president of the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia. The organization was established in 1994 to offer legal defense for vulnerable women and children who may have suffered extended violence.   read more
  • Director of the Centers for Disease Control Resigns: Who Was Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald?

    Friday, February 02, 2018
    Fitzgerald purchased stock in Japan Tobacco, Merck & Co., Bayer, and health insurance company Humana, creating new conflicts of interest, especially in light of CDC’s ongoing work to reduce tobacco consumption—a mission Fitzgerald has claimed to support. Fitzgerald had been appointed by former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, who was similarly forced to resign last September because of his extravagant use of private planes on the taxpayer dime.   read more
  • Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs: Who Is Kirsten Madison?

    Thursday, February 01, 2018
    Madison started her career as a press assistant to Rep. Porter Goss. In 2006, as deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, she visited Nicaragua six months before presidential elections and urged Nicaraguans to oppose Daniel Ortega and José Rizo, whom she referred to as “two corrupt warlords who represent a return to a dark, selfish and unproductive past.” Despite her efforts, Ortega won the election, albeit with only 38% of the vote in a five-candidate contest.   read more
  • Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission: Who Is Tim Thomas?

    Wednesday, January 31, 2018
    Thomas, who works as a field representative for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined the Kentucky state government in 2004 as special counsel and adviser on the Kentucky Environmental Cabinet. He also served as federal facilities coordinator, ensuring they conformed to the state’s environmental rules. Thomas joined the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority in 2007 as its executive director. He transferred to the private sector in 2009 to work for mechanical contractor Swift and Staley.   read more
  • Ambassador of Colombia to the U.S.: Who Is Camilo Reyes?

    Monday, January 29, 2018
    A former foreign minister with high level ambassadorial experience, Reyes left the foreign service in 2008 and took a job at the University of Rosario in Bogotá. For two years, he was in charge of the “Light Weapons and Small Arms, Ammunition, and Explosives Observatory,” which focuses on armed violence in Colombia. In 2010, he became executive director of the Colombian American Chamber of Commerce, which represents the economic interests of Colombian and American business.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Argentina: Who Is Edward Prado?

    Friday, January 26, 2018
    Prado’s appointment as ambassador is seen by some as an opportunity for President Trump to fill Prado's seat on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals with a more conservative judge. Seated on that bench since 2003, Prado wrote an opinion that dismissed the NRA’s challenge to the law prohibiting gun dealers to sell weapons to people aged 18-20. He also reversed Texas’ law banning inmates from having 4-inch beards outside a cell or religious service.   read more
  • Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics: Who Is Jeffrey H. Anderson?

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018
    The director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics is traditionally an expert in statistics. But Anderson’s only background in statistics touted by the White House was his co-creation of a computer rankings system for college football. A prolific writer for right-wing publications and an early endorser of Trump for president, Anderson founded the 2017 Project, which promotes such conservative ideas as lower taxes; anti-immigrant issues; and less regulation, particularly on environment matters.   read more
  • Ambassador of the U.S. to Barbados, Saint Kitts & Nevis, Saint Lucia, Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, and Saint Vincent & the Grenadines: Who Is Lee Rizzuto, Jr.?

    Sunday, January 21, 2018
    Rizzuto is senior VP at Conair, where his late father was chairman. Not known to be an expert on the Caribbean, Rizzuto contributed $449,000 to Trump’s campaign. Like his father, who had pleaded guilty to a multimillion-dollar tax evasion scheme, Rizzuto Jr. has also run afoul of the law. At his 100-acre Connecticut compound, Rizzuto filled in wetlands, demolished and renovated old buildings—without permits. He eventually had to pay $35,000 in fines and legal costs and restore the wetlands.   read more
  • Director of the Peace Corps: Who Is Jody Olsen?

    Friday, January 19, 2018
    Olsen was deputy director of the Peace Corps from 2002 until the early days of the Obama administration, and served briefly as acting director in 2006 and 2009. She also served as acting country director for Kazakhstan. Olsen has been a visiting professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work in Baltimore since 2010. She also was director of the Center for Global Education Initiatives and spent several summers heading research projects in Malawi, El Salvador, and India.   read more
  • CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation: Who Is Sean Cairncross?

    Tuesday, January 16, 2018
    Cairncross has no background in development aid to poor countries, which is the mission of the organization he was nominated to lead. He was, however, former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus’ assistant, a position whose days were numbered after Priebus was ousted six months into Trump's presidency. Years earlier, as counsel for the Republican National Committee, Cairncross helped push the GOP's “voter fraud” agenda, coming out against voter registration efforts and pushing voter ID laws.   read more
  • Burkina Faso’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Seydou Kaboré?

    Monday, January 15, 2018
    In 2008, Kaboré was named Burkina Faso’s minister of infrastructure and road development under Tertius Zongo, who was then prime minister of the landlocked West African nation. In 2010, Kaboré signed a deal to borrow the equivalent of $12.7 million to finance infrastructure repairs needed after a 2009 flood dropped 300 millimeters of water—about a foot—on the country in 10 hours. Kaboré left the cabinet in 2012 for a stint as community affairs manager for Belahourou Mining Company.   read more
  • Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection: Who Is Kevin McAleenan?

    Sunday, January 14, 2018
    In the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, McAleenan refocused his career onto national security issues. He applied to the FBI but was soon contacted by the recently confirmed commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service (later renamed CBP). In 2001, McAleenan moved to Washington DC and set to work establishing the embryonic Office of Antiterrorism. He was later promoted to be its executive director. McAleenan has been running CBP on an acting basis since day one of Trump's administration.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Panama Resigns: Who Is John Feeley?

    Friday, January 12, 2018
    Feeley informed the State Department on December 27, 2017, that he would be leaving the Foreign Service because he no longer believed he could work for President Donald Trump. Feeley’s resignation was made public on January 12, 2018, the day after Trump remarked at a White House meeting with members of Congress working on immigration issues: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Chile: Who Is Andrew Gellert?

    Friday, January 12, 2018
    Gellert has no diplomatic experience, but he does run a company that is involved in real estate ventures with The Kushner Companies, owned by the family of Donald Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. And his own company does business in Chile, including a raisin drying facility and the supply of cranberries and prunes. He is also treasurer of Atalanta, the largest privately held food importer in the U.S., and has an interest in Five Guys burger restaurants and other fast-food operations.   read more
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