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  • Acting Solicitor General: Who Is Noel Francisco?

    Saturday, February 25, 2017
    Francisco represented R.J. Reynolds Tobacco in its successful First Amendment challenge to a federal regulation requiring cigarette manufacturers to display graphic warning images on cigarette packages. Francisco also won the appeal of former Republican Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia, who’d been convicted of taking bribes. He recently found himself in the midst of a prominent case as acting solicitor general when he had to argue that Trump’s travel ban should be implemented.   read more
  • Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel: Who Is Steven A. Engel?

    Friday, February 24, 2017
    In the Bush Justice Dept's Office of Legal Counsel, Engel worked on Guantánamo detainee issues. Later as a partner at the Dechart law firm in Washington, he represented Republican governors in U.S. vs. Texas, in which those governors fought the implementation of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans, an Obama program to delay some deportations of undocumented immigrants. He also represented those challenging the individual mandate provision of the Affordable Care Act.   read more
  • Secretary of the Navy: Who Is Philip Bilden?

    Thursday, February 23, 2017
    Bilden remained in Hong Kong for 20 years, becoming a major player in bringing private equity investment to Asia. He opened HarboutVest offices in Tokyo in 2010 and Beijing in 2012. Back in the U.S. in 2016, he he sat on the board of the Naval Academy Foundation and the Naval War College Foundation, where he was the inaugural chairman of the Center for Cyber Conflict Studies Task Force. Bilden's nomination was a surprise, as Trump adviser Randy Forbes was the expected choice.   read more
  • Director of the United States Attorneys: Who is Monty Wilkinson?

    Thursday, February 23, 2017
    In 1989, Wilkinson became a judicial law clerk to Eric Holder, who was at that time a judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. In 1990, Wilkinson joined the criminal division of the U.S. Dept of Justice, where he worked as a trial attorney in the Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section and the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section. Three years later, he became special counsel to U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia (Holder), a position that lasted nearly four years.   read more
  • Chief of U.S. Border Patrol: Who Is Ron Vitiello?

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017
    While Vitiello was in the Rio Grande Valley, the George W. Bush administration was working to complete a border fence in the region. The planned fence would have cut through the campus of the University of Texas-Brownsville, whose charter has a bi-national mission. School officials met with Vitiello to try to get some accommodation on the fence, but Vitiello told them the meeting was a waste of time. “He wanted to stop the conversation instantly,” said university consultant Putegnat.   read more
  • Chairman of the U.S. Parole Commission: Who is J. Patricia Wilson Smoot?

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017
    Smoot's desire to help those in need led her to become a public defender. When she saw an interview with then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on television, in which he said that attorneys who excel at defense work make the best candidates for prosecutors, she applied for one of the 15 open positions and landed the job. She later worked to establish the USPC Mental Health Docket, which provides non-violent criminal offenders who have mental health disorders with alternatives to incarceration.   read more
  • Secretary of Agriculture: Who Is Sonny Perdue?

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017
    Perdue has a grasp on the Agriculture Dept, but the form it takes remains to be seen. While he was governor of Georgia, the state food safety budget was slashed by 29%. In 2006, Perdue paid $2 million for land near Disney World to a developer he’d put on Georgia’s economic development board. Perdue then got a bill passed, backdated to save him $100,000 in capital gains taxes on the land sale. During his re-election campaign, he pretended he didn’t know he'd benefit from the tax break.   read more
  • Acting Director of the U.S. National Central Bureau of INTERPOL: Who is Wayne Salzgaber?

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017
    In 2010, Salzgaber received an appointment to the Senior Executive Service as deputy assistant inspector general for investigations. In that post, he headed the DHS OIG’s Investigative Field Operations Division, in charge of the agency’s investigative operations in 14 regional offices. In 2012, he became principal advisor to the Dept of Homeland Security. In 2015, Salzgaber was appointed deputy director of the U.S. National Central Bureau of INTERPOL.   read more
  • Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement: Who Is Thomas Homan?

    Monday, February 20, 2017
    Donald Trump promised to deport undocumented immigrants and in Thomas Homan, now acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), he has a man who won an award for deporting thousands of people. Trump tapped Homan to lead ICE in January 2017. At about that time, as ICE appeared to step up its pace of raids and deportations, Homan agreed to sit down on February 14 with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to address its concerns about the raids. He later backed out of the meeting.   read more
  • Acting Director of the U.S. Marshals Service: Who Is David Harlow?

    Monday, February 20, 2017
    Harlow was commander of operation FALCON 2007, overseeing development of Toledo’s first fugitive apprehension team made up of numerous law enforcement agencies. Between 2008 and 2011, Harlow was chief of USMS’s Sex Offender Investigations Branch, for which he oversaw the National Sex Offender Targeting Center and the Sex Offender Apprehension Program. He additionally developed the USMS Behavioral Analysis Unit, which helps target fugitive and non-compliant sex offenders.   read more
  • U.S. Ambassador to Italy: Who Is Lewis Eisenberg?

    Saturday, February 18, 2017
    The Trump administration added another member of the Goldman Sachs alumni association to its roster when it announced that financier Lewis Eisenberg, head of the Trump Victory Fund, would be the next ambassador to Italy. A former GOP finance chairman, Eisenberg resigned from Goldman Sachs in 1989 after a civil lawsuit accused him of harassing a former assistant, Kathy Abraham, after she tried to end a seven-year extramarital affair. Abraham later received a settlement and recanted her claims.   read more
  • Radiation Exposure Compensation Program: Who is Kali Bracey?

    Saturday, February 18, 2017
    In 2012, Bracey joined what was then a new federal agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She worked as senior counsel in its Office of Supervision Policy and was involved in student loan servicing, auto lending, and rulemaking. A year later, she was named the Bureau’s senior counsel and executive secretary, and then continued up the ladder to become counsel to the director and executive secretary. She held that post until her appointment at the Justice Dept the following year.   read more
  • Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission: Who Is Ajit Pai?

    Friday, February 17, 2017
    When Pai took over as FCC chairman, he couldn’t wait to roll back consumer protections enacted under the Obama administration. Many of his actions were done late on a Friday with virtually no public notice. “With these strong-arm tactics, Chairman Pai is showing his true stripes,” Matt Wood, of the consumer group Free Press, told The New York Times. “The public wants an FCC that helps people. Instead, it got one that does favors for the powerful corporations that its chairman used to work for.”   read more
  • Secretary of Labor: Who Was Andrew Puzder?

    Friday, February 17, 2017
    Puzder withdrew his nomination after loss of support from Republican lawmakers showed he wouldn’t have enough votes to be confirmed. The reasons for his dwindling support included his hiring of an undocumented immigrant as his housekeeper and the resurfacing of claims by his ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, of violent physical assaults. A videotape of Fierstein’s 1990 appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” in which she recounted the abuse, circulated among senators considering Puzder’s nomination.   read more
  • Secretary of the Air Force: Who Is Heather Wilson?

    Thursday, February 16, 2017
    Although forbidden to lobby Congress, Wilson directed Lockheed in its quest for contract renewal without competitive bidding. Her deals with Lockheed and other contractors were found to have violated government rules. In 2012, she criticized a bill to cut bullying of LGBTQ children, and voted for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Wilson was named by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as one of the 22 most corrupt members of Congress.   read more
  • Acting Solicitor General of the United States: Who is Ian Heath Gershengorn?

    Thursday, February 16, 2017
    Among the cases that Gershengorn supervised at the DOJ—and often personally argued in court—was the Obama administration’s defense of the Affordable Care Act against dozens of challenges filed against it across the country. Other high-profile court battles involved the rights of Guantánamo detainees, policy on gays in the military, embryonic stem cell research, and state secrets. “Every day, I deal with two or three cases of a lifetime,” he then told The New York Times.   read more
  • Ambassador to the United Kingdom: Who Is Woody Johnson?

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017
    New York Jets owner Johnson sought some tax dodges and, in 2006, was brought before a Senate panel to testify about shelters in the Isle of Man that were used to offset profits from sales of investments. He eventually settled with the IRS, paying back taxes and interest. Johnson was a big donor to Sen. John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. He initially backed Jeb Bush in the 2016 contest, even serving as his finance chairman, but threw his support to Trump in May 2016.   read more
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