At Home and Abroad, Administration Puts Cronyism Before Competence

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (D-NY-28), Ranking Member of the House Rules Committee, expressed her deep concern over news reports on Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) staffing appointments made during the critically important initial months of the Iraq War:

“To this Administration, nothing is free from the corrupting effects of cronyism, politicization, and partisanship,” Rep. Slaughter said. “For years, federal agencies in the United States have been undermined by politically motivated decision-making, and have been handed over to individuals whose main qualification is their ideological allegiance to the President. And the same rules have always applied in Iraq.”

“This White House has said that the fight to rebuild Iraq is part of a war for civilization. And yet, Mr. Bush refuses to allow the most competent people to administer that fight. Instead, he has turned over critical tasks time and again to men and women who have neither the knowledge nor ability to complete them competently. As a result, the situation in Iraq has remained on the brink of collapse for years, and the lives of our troops and the Iraqi people have been put in needless danger.”

“Simply put, for this Administration, nothing is more important than the promotion of its friends and political allies,” Rep. Slaughter said. “It is one of the most egregious sets of priorities I have ever witnessed.”

The Congresswoman’s comments came in response to recent reports of the ways in which high-ranking officials in the CPA were selected during the early days of the Iraq war.

An article by Washington Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran published this past Sunday outlined in detail how:

  • All applicants to positions within the CPA were screened by Jim O’Beirne, a Pentagon official responsible for assessing Defense Department appointments and who routinely asked applicants to express their views on President Bush, the methods being employed by the Administration to counter terrorism, and on highly political (and unrelated) issues such as Roe v. Wade.
  • The resuscitation of the Iraqi Stock Exchange was put in the hands of a 24-year old, Jay Hallen, with no background in finance, but who had applied to work at the White House.
  • A top career public health official, Dr. Fredrick M. Burkle Jr., was replaced as the head of Iraq’s public health system by an appointee, James K. Haveman Jr., whose main qualification was his political ties to the former Republican governor of Michigan and his tenure as the head of a faith-based health organization. Dr. Burkle, whose extensive medical education was matched by years of relevant experience gained from operating in war-torn areas, had been described by a colleague as “the single most talented and experienced post-conflict health specialist working for the United States government.”
  • The task of rebuilding the Iraqi police force was given to Bernard Kerik, the former police commissioner for New York City. Mr. Kerik spent much of his energy during his brief tour in Iraq going out on nighttime police raids with U.S. soldiers, meaning that he was asleep during the day when the majority of the work his position required took place.
  • Iraq’s $13 billion budget was turned over to the daughter of a top neoconservative pundit and a man who had recently graduated from an evangelical university, neither of whom had studied accounting.

Mr. Chandrasekaran’s article is titled “Ties to GOP Trumped Know-How Among Staff Sent to Rebuilding Iraq,” and was published as part of the Sunday, September 17th edition of the Washington Post.

View The Site In: Deutsch | Espanol | Francais | Italiano | Portuguese | 日本語 | 한국 | 汉语 | English

Paid for by Louise Slaughter Re-Election Committee. Contact Us | Privacy Policy
Louise Slaughter Re-Election Committee, Post Office Box 730, Honeoye, New York 14471 | 585.697.0840 phone