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  • The Myth of Widespread Voter Fraud

    Thursday, July 20, 2017
    A panel of experts at the Ninth Circuit’s judicial conference agreed on one thing: the type of voter fraud President Trump claims is widespread in the U.S. is virtually nonexistent. Four Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to V.P. Mike Pence asking him to remove Kris Kobach as vice chair of the commission. They said his request for voter rolls replete with sensitive voter information was rife with privacy concerns. The also argued the data request will more likely be used for voter suppression.   read more
  • Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office: Who Is Jim McDonnell?

    Thursday, July 20, 2017
    Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, McDonnell took a job with the U.S. Dept of Energy as the founding director of the Office of Energy Assurance, responsible for protecting the nation’s energy infrastructure. In 2002, McDonnell began working for the Homeland Security Transition Planning Office in the White House, helping to plan the newly created Dept of Homeland Security. He got into a bit of trouble at DHS, however, and was investigated for loose contracting practices.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Guatemala: Who Is Luis Arreaga?

    Wednesday, July 19, 2017
    In 2008, as director of recruitment, examination and employment, Arreaga presided over the largest intake of Foreign Service officers in State Dept history. He was first made an ambassador in 2010, as the envoy to Iceland. In 2011, he was confronted by the Icelandic government when U.S. officials subpoenaed a member of the country’s parliament in the WikiLeaks controversy. On the whole, his tenure was positive, even getting to watch “Game of Thrones” being filmed in the rocky country.   read more
  • Ambassador from United Arab Emirates to the U.S.: Who Is Yousef Al Otaiba?

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017
    The UAE diplomat known as “the most charming man in Washington,” and a close friend of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner, lost some of his magic recently, following release of emails that link him to a major international fraud, suggest that UAE coordinates closely with Israel, and reveal blunt criticism of President Trump. Otaiba has been a forceful voice against Iran, the Arab Spring movement, and neighboring Qatar, which the UAE royal family recently accused of supporting terrorism.   read more
  • CEO of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak): Who Is Richard H. Anderson?

    Monday, July 17, 2017
    The new head of Amtrak comes from one of train travel’s biggest competitors: the airline industry. The job may prove to be a challenge for Richard Anderson: in May President Trump proposed ending $630 million in subsidies for Amtrak’s long-distance train service, which comes to 45% of the $1.4 billion the government spends on Amtrak each year. Like Amtrak's outgoing CEO, Charles Moorman, Anderson has agreed to work for a “token sum.” He retired as CEO of Delta Airlines in May 2016.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone: Who Is Maria Brewer?

    Sunday, July 16, 2017
    In Washington, Brewer has served as special assistant to the assistant secretary of administration and then special assistant to the undersecretary for management and in the Bureau of African Affairs executive office as the supervisory post management officer. Brewer’s most recent overseas assignment was as deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affaires in Lagos. She returned to Washington in 2016 as deputy director for career development and assignments in the Bureau of Human Resources.   read more
  • Surgeon General of the United States: Who Is Jerome Adams?

    Friday, July 14, 2017
    Adams hadn't been on the job long as Indiana's health commissioner when he had to deal with a crisis--an outbreak of HIV, caused by drug users sharing needles. He had to overcome then-Gov. Mike Pence’s opposition to needle exchange programs to slow the spread of disease. “No matter how uncomfortable syringe service programs make us, they are proven to save lives, both by preventing the spread of diseases...and by connecting people to treatment...” Adams wrote.   read more
  • Should Panhandlers be Issued Licenses?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Our idea about what it takes to regulate panhandling intelligently: Encourage “successful panhandling,” which brings together willing donors and willing solicitors; and discourage “unsuccessful panhandling,” which targets people who don’t even want to see solicitations, let alone give money to someone asking for help on the sidewalk. What’s wrong with most anti-panhandling ordinances is that they try to ban or discourage both kinds instead of promoting the former and discouraging the latter.   read more
  • Assistant Secretary for Aging: Who Is Lance Robertson?

    Thursday, July 13, 2017
    Just a year after graduating, Robertson co-founded the Gerontology Institute at Oklahoma State University, of which he was director from February 1994 to June 2005. He also served as executive director of PartnerShips for Aging, the largest regional gerontology association in the U.S. Additionally, Robertson has served as the president of the National Association of States United for Aging & Disability (NASUAD), a leading authority on aging and disability.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Portugal: Who Is George Glass?

    Wednesday, July 12, 2017
    A major donor to Trump’s presidential campaign, Glass was repaid for his generosity by being nominated to the ambassadorship. He originally supported Jeb Bush in the most recent presidential contest, giving him $2,700 in 2015. He was a bigger donor to Trump, giving Trump Victory $77,500, as well as $22,500 to Trump’s scaled-down inaugural and $33,400 to the RNC during the last cycle. He has also contributed tens of thousands of dollars to numerous state Republican parties.   read more
  • Albuquerque Police Scramble to Hide Spying Details

    Tuesday, July 11, 2017
    “The city needs to stop stonewalling and disclose information about how it collects and uses cell phone data," said ACLU's Peter Simonson. “If APD is using Stingrays to snoop into people’s private information...[we] need to ensure that protections are in place to prevent these powerful tools from being misused or abused.” The Albuquerque Police Dept has been under federal investigation for years, and court-appointed monitoring, for excessive force and police killings.   read more
  • United States Ambassador to Costa Rica: Who Is Sharon Day?

    Tuesday, July 11, 2017
    Day, who until late 2016 served as the co-chair of the RNC, has been nominated by President Trump to be the U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica. She has no diplomatic experience. But, like Trump, she has a history of media bashing. In 2012, the Republican presidential candidate lost the women’s vote for the sixth election in a row. Day then spent the next two years traveling around the U.S. encouraging women to vote Republican. She's such an enthusiastic Republican that she named her dog Reagan.   read more
  • Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Who Is James Clinger?

    Monday, July 10, 2017
    As acting associate attorney general in the G.W. Bush administration, Clinger signed the refusal to give Congress a memo by Jay Bybee, head of the Office of Legal Counsel, justifying the use of torture, and a presidential order to bypass U.S. law by authorizing the use of secret overseas CIA prisons for interrogations. Clinger has long been chief counsel for the House Financial Services Committee and was found to have accepted free trips from those the committee was supposed to be regulating.   read more
  • Micronesia’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Akillino Susaia?

    Sunday, July 09, 2017
    Susaia is no stranger to the United States. In Hawaii in April 2008, he served as consul general, representing the interests of the large number of Micronesians who lived there. Susaia was sworn in as Micronesia's first resident ambassador to China on March 26, 2010, with additional responsibility for Thailand, Vietnam and, in 2013, South Korea. He served in Beijing until 2015, when he ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor of Pohnpei, losing to Marcelo Peterson 53%-47%.   read more
  • Comptroller of the Currency: Who Is Joseph Otting?

    Friday, July 07, 2017
    Otting was CEO of One West Bank, found to have improperly foreclosed on homeowners. “The president’s choice for watchdog of America’s largest banks is someone who signed a consent order—over shady foreclosure practices—with the very agency he’s been selected to run. If Mr. Otting didn’t deal fairly with the customers at his own bank, it’s difficult to see why he’s the best choice to look out for the interests of customers at more than 1,400 banks...across the country,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown.   read more
  • Trump's "Voter Fraud Panel" Runs into Legal Problems

    Thursday, July 06, 2017
    The Brennan Center says Kobach has long supported voter-suppression efforts and that Trump's election commission, of which Kobach is vice chair, is not authorized to compel voter information from states. To date, 44 states have refused to comply with the request, with some secretaries of state saying that compliance would only pay lip service to Trump’s already debunked claims of large-scale voter fraud. The NAACP has called the commission’s letters illegal and a threat to democracy.   read more
  • Secretary of the Navy: Who Is Richard Spencer?

    Thursday, July 06, 2017
    Donald Trump has chosen another money man to lead the Navy. His nomination of Spencer is his second try at filling the job, after financier Philip Bilden decided not to serve because of the cost to his portfolio. Given Spencer’s wealth, it's not surprising it was reported that he “is also caught up in a mess of financial entanglements that have proved tricky to unwind.” Spencer had been VP of Spirit Airways before heading east to find his fortune on Wall Street, where he worked for 16 years.   read more
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