Controversy Over White House Czar’s and Background Checks
September 8, 2009
Unless you have been on a desert island all weekend you might have heard about the recent Van Jones story coming out of Washington. Van Jones was recently appointed as the “Green Job’s Czar” by President Obama. The controversy sets in because there is no legal requirement for the administration to properly vet a Czar. Unlike a cabinet level position, Czar’s are not subject to thorough FBI background checks or Senate approval.
However, many of the stories are misleading. It is correct to assume that Van Jones did not go through the same process as other “non-czar’s” but don’t be fooled, a full criminal background check is always conducted. The United States Secret Service would not allow anyone access to the President on that level without being fully checked for criminal records. You need a background check just to step foot in the West Wing of the White House. What does not occur is the type of vetting that goes on with other appointees. As we can see from this story, that happens in the court of public opinion. The Czar rule gives the administration a lot of flexibility to avoid certain process and get things done quickly, but we see now that can have adverse consequences.
Lets be clear, this is NOT a process invented by the Obama Administration. Czar’s have been appointed going back many Presidential terms. This is not a shot at one particular decision. A thorough background screening process just makes sense. While trying to make this posting as politically benign as possible, I will say this; being in the screening business, I would not recommend appointing a presidential dog walker that is not properly checked out. In the future, it would be my hope that future appointees are researched a bit more thoroughly.
As controversial White House ‘czar’ Van Jones resigns, leading House Republican Mike Pence requests background checks on all Obama-appointed ‘czars.’
Key GOP Congressman Mike Pence is uncomfortable with President Obama’s “czars,” and he would like to have background checks conducted on all of them and is suggesting suspension on future czar appointments. The House Republican was a leading voice on the Van Jones resignation – after Van Jones was associated with the 9/11 “truther” movement.
“I’m suggesting that the administration should suspend immediately any future czar appointments while both the constitutionality of this practice is examined and while the background and qualifications of individuals who’ve been appointed as czars is carefully examined,” Pence said.
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