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Name: Czarnecki, Karen
Current Position: Deputy Assistant Secretary
Karen M. Czarnecki, who received a BA in World Politics from Catholic University, and a Juris Doctorate from the Catholic University of America’s School of Law, is also a graduate of the Institute for Comparative Political and Economic Systems of the Fund for American Studies in conjunction with Georgetown University. She served in the President Reagan White House and as a Special Assistant to Vice President Quayle for Domestic Policy and Public Liaison, during the administration of George H. W. Bush. From 1992-1998 Czarnecki worked at the conservative Heritage Foundation, where she served as Director of Lectures and Seminars, and oversaw the Heritage Job Bank, filling vacancies on Capitol Hill, in think tanks, and in the private sector. She also worked as Director of the Civil Justice and Health and Human Services Task Forces at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a bi-partisan association of state legislators promoting free markets and limits to government intervention in business. In addition, Czarnecki held positions focusing on federal-executive branch relations and state and local governments.  In June 2001 she joined the Labor Department, and two years later was appointed Director of the Office of the 21st Century Workforce. She also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Intergovernmental Affairs; as a senior advisor to U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao; and in the Office of Disability Employment Policy from October 2007 until June 2008.
Czarnecki has spoken on public policy for more than two decades, on, among other places, MSNBC, CNN, the Canadian Public Broadcasting Company and C-Span. For more than eleven years, she also appeared regularly, in a personal capacity, for a $100 stipend per appearance, on the PBS women’s public affairs program, “To The Contrary.” On that show, she discussed a wide variety of topics, including President George Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” program, abstinence, and, at times, specific labor issues. In 2006, controversy built up regarding her appearance on “To The Contrary,” when it was noted by several parties that she was identified on it as a conservative analyst or strategist, when in fact she is a Bush administration official. According to Bonnie Erbe, the host of “To The Contrary,” the government, after Czarnecki became employed by the Labor Department, asked the show not to disclose her job. “Those were the terms under which she could continue to appear,” Erbe said. Erbe also commented, “She’s appearing independently and her opinions haven’t changed at all.” However, PBS ombudsman Michael Getler wrote that “conservative commentator is not an appropriate label, by itself, for someone in her position,” and that “oddly if you click on the... panelists’ names on the program’s website, you get a resume and/or background information for most of them, but not Czarnecki.” The Washington Post’s Al Kamen, and Tula Connell, on the Afl-CioNOWBLOG, pointed out concerns regarding Czarnecki’s job on the show, in regard to the Hatch Act, which “restricts the political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government, District of Columbia government, and some state and local employees who work in connection with federally funded programs.” Czarnecki is currently a member of the steering committee for the Virginia Family Issues Leaders for McCain, for which she is identified as a “pro-life activist.”
Karen Czarnecki (SourceWatch)
Ombudsman's Mailbag—Contrary Views (by Michael Getler, PBS)
Taxpayer Alert: We’re Paying for Bush Propaganda (by Tula Connell, American Federation of Labor)
NEWS+ANALYSIS Pundit's Peril (by Jenny Mandel, Government Executive)
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