- Top Stories(1598)
- Unusual News(980)
- Where is the Money Going?(1147)
- U.S. and the World(1205)
- Appointments and Resignations(811)
Appointments and Resignations
Secretary of Commerce: Who Is Penny Pritzker?
Pritzker was chair of a bank that failed because of subprime loans, Hyatt is a staunchly anti-labor hotel chain, and many believe that the murky overseas investments of the secretive Pritzker family fortune represent a form of offshore tax evasion—a practice criticized by Obama during the 2012 campaign. Read More
United States Trade Representative: Who Is Michael Froman?
Although Froman lost touch with Obama after Harvard, he advised Obama on policy during Obama's 2004 Senate campaign and introduced him to Robert Rubin, eventually serving on the 12-member advisory board of the Obama campaign’s transition team. Froman also functioned as a prodigious fundraiser for Obama, especially among younger Wall Street Democrats, bundling at least $200,000 in contributions. Read More
Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency: Who Is Mel Watt?
Watt's work on the Finance Committee and his reliance on contributions from the banking industry to fund his political campaigns have generated criticism. Since he entered Congress in 1992, Watt has received more campaign money—$1.33 million—from financial interests than any other industry or special interest. Critics charge that Watt's financial dependence on the finance industry and his cozy relationship with Bank of America have led him to be more less consumer-oriented on related issues. Read More
Ambassador from Chad: Who Is Maitine Djoumbe?
Although the available public record is sketchy regarding Djoumbe's activities during the chaotic years after the 1990 coup that put Idriss Déby in power (where he remains today), Djoumbe emerged as deputy general director of the Foreign Ministry from 1999 to 2001. Djoumbe was ambassador to Belgium from 2007 to 2010, In an odd career twist, he then served as Minister of Mines and Geology from 2010 to 2011. Read More
Terms for All Members of Federal Election Commission have Expired
The commissioners couldn’t even review their own regulations developed following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission (pdf), which lifted spending restrictions on corporations and unions. While the commissioners debated among themselves, spending by independent groups tripled to $1 billion in 2012, up from $300 million in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Read More
Senate Finally Confirms Head of Privacy and Civil Liberties Board after a Year and a Half
Steven Aftergood wrote. “It cannot possibly perform comprehensive oversight of the broad range of privacy or civil liberties concerns that arise in the national security domain. Expectations to the contrary are bound to be disappointed. At best, the Board may serve as a boutique oversight shop that tackles a couple of discrete policy issues each year.” Read More
Ambassador from Luxembourg: Who Is Jean-Louis Wolzfeld?
Wolzfeld served as permanent representative to the U.N. from 1993 to 1998. In 1997, as chairman of the European Union delegations to the U.N., it fell to Wolzfeld to publically chastise the U.S. Congress for voting to refuse to pay a billion dollars in back dues as a protest against abortion. Read More
Secretary of Transportation: Who Is Anthony Foxx?
Returning to Charlotte in 2001, Foxx practiced commercial litigation at the large law firm of Hunton & Williams until 2009, when he joined DesignLine Corporation, a hybrid electric bus manufacturer, as its deputy general counsel. Foxx began his political career in 2004 as campaign manager for Rep. Mel Watt (D-North Carolina), whom President Obama nominated for a different federal post—head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency—just a few days after naming Foxx. Read More
Ambassador from Zambia: Who Is Palan Mulonda?
Mulonda has worked for the Zambian Ministry of Justice and served as executive director of the Institute of Human Rights, Intellectual Property and Development Trust (HURID), a private human rights organization in Zambia. He served on the Zambian Human Rights Commission, starting as vice-chairman in November 2007. He taught law at the University of Zambia, and served as director of the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education from December 2009 to December 2012. Read More
Ambassador from Paraguay: Who Is Fernando Pfannl?
In 2012, conservative elements in Paraguay's government engineered what Paraguay's neighbors Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and others, termed a coup, by impeaching Lugo and giving him only two hours to prepare a defense. Franco became president in June, naming Pfannl interim head of the Ministry of Information and Communication, an important post in the days after the coup. Franco later named Pfannl Minister of Planning and Economic and Social Development. Read More
Ambassador from Mexico: Who Is Eduardo Medina-Mora?
There were even rumors that Medina-Mora—a key negotiator of the Merida Initiative that provides U.S. funding to the drug war in Mexico—was replaced as attorney general because officials worried the government could not protect him and his family in Mexico, although it was also said that he was forced to resign after a top deputy was arrested for taking bribes from the drug cartels. Shortly after his removal as attorney general, Medina-Mora was appointed ambassador to the U.K. Read More
Ambassador from Kazakhstan: Who Is Kairat Umarov?
. Kairat Umarov, now serving his third stint in Washington, D.C., presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on January 14. in 2004, Umarov received his first ambassadorship, serving as ambassador to India at the Kazakh embassy in New Delhi from 2004 to 2009, concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka from 2008 to 2009. He then served as deputy foreign minister of Kazakhstan from 2009 to January 2013. Read More
Ambassador from Maldives: Who Is Ahmed Sareer?
The Indian Ocean island nation of Maldives—at 4 feet 11 inches (1.50 meters) above sea level the lowest-lying nation on earth—sent a new ambassador to the U.S. at the end of 2012. Ahmed Sareer succeeded Abdul Gafoor Mohamed, who resigned over the February 2012 transfer of power from former President Mohamed Nasheed to current leader Mohamed Waheed Hassan. From December 2009 until his recent appointment, Sareer served as the high commissioner of Maldives to Bangladesh. Read More
Ambassador from Tuvalu: Who Is Aunese Makoi Simati?
To many people, the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu (pop.: 12,177) is best known for the fact that it won the coveted Internet country domain extension .tv. The nation sent a new ambassador to the U.S. late last year who is concurrently accredited as his country's permanent representative to the United Nations in New York, partly because Tuvalu does not own an embassy in Washington, D.C. Aunese Makoi Simati presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on January 14, 2013. Read More
Ambassador from Japan: Who Is Kenichiro Sasae?
Despite an anti-corruption rule adopted in 2002 barring high ministry bureaucrats from becoming ambassadors, the new ambassador to the U.S. is Kenichiro Sasae, most recently vice minister for foreign affairs. Sasae served as deputy minister for foreign affairs from 2008 to 2010, and as vice minister for foreign affairs, the top civil service job at the Foreign Ministry, from 2010 to 2012. Read More
Ambassador from Poland: Who Is Ryszard Schnepf?
Schnepf served as secretary of state for foreign relations and security in the office of Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz from October 31, 2005 to June 1, 2006, when he was forced to resign over comments he made in support of a controversial gas pipeline, although some said that he was simply caught in an internal power struggle. Schnepf’s exile from government did not last long. In December 2008, Schnepf returned to serve a second stint as ambassador to Spain. Read More