Campaign Promises

Other/Miscellaneous -> Appointments -> General


ItemAppointments
GeneralGrade
AP-10
The Promise: "...in an Obama-Biden administration, every official will have to rise to the standard of proven excellence in the agency's mission."
When/Where: President-Elect "Change.gov" web site, undated
Source: http://change.gov/agenda/ethics_agenda/
Status:The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) falls under the purview of the Secretary of the Treasury. Upon his nomination for that post, it was learned that Timothy Geithner had evaded paying $26,000 in taxes since the 2001-2002 timeframe, an amount he quickly paid. In this instance, Mr. Geithner had failed to "rise to the standard of proven excellence" in the mission of the department he was nominated and later confirmed to lead.

In 04/11, Mr. Geithner stated to the news media that there was "no risk" that the nation's credit rating would be downgraded. He was proven wrong when Standard & Poor's downgraded that credit rating from AAA to AA+ on 08/05/11. Key Republicans called for his resignation, attributing to him questionable bank bailouts and failed stimulus plans that had done nothing to improve the nation's unemployment rate. Mr. Geithner returned to the private section on 01/25/13.

Another example: Ms. Elizabeth Birnbaum was appointed as Director of the Minerals Management Service (MMS) of the Department of the Interior on 07/15/09. She apparently did not meet the "standard of proven excellence" demanded by her job in the aftermath of the oil spill of 04/20/10 in the Gulf of Mexico. By some accounts she was fired by President Obama on 05/27/10; by other accounts she resigned after criticism over her lax oversight of oil drilling in general and alleged coziness with the industry she was hired to oversee.

To replace Ms. Birnbaum, President Obama selected Mr. Michael Bromwich (a litigation partner at the Fried Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson law firm when selected) to head the MMS, since rebranded as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement. Mr. Bromwich, formerly Inspector General at the Department of Justice under President Clinton, had no experience with oil and gas issues and thus had no "proven excellence" in his appointed mission.

These are but a few examples where this promise was not fulfilled.
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