I Don't Need No Steenkin' Oversight!
In mid-September, George Bush submitted a list of his cronies to the Senate for various positions within the administration. When the Committeee balked at the lack of qualifications of some of them -- especially Julie Myers, neice of former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Richard B. Myers and wife of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff's current chief of staff, John F. Wood -- Bush did what he does best. He flipped Congress the bird and waited until last week to make recess appointments.
Myers, an attorney, was Chertoff's chief of staff when he headed the Justice Department's criminal division, and will now head the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, part of Chertoff's Department of Homeland Security.
Although Myers qualifies as a Bush loyalist, little in her background prepares her for one of the most troubled areas of the entire government. She was an associate attorney under independent counsel Kenneth Starr during his attempt to bring down President Clinton and, in the past four years she has bopped through the departments of Commerce, Justice and Treasury and worked for awhile as a special assistant to Bush on personnel issues while waiting for Congress to recess.
Some people are complaining that, unlike other appointments, the head of ICE is required by statute to have a minimum of five years of experience in both law enforcement and management. But hey, some folks say that Homeland Security is so dysfunctional already, especially ICE, that the only way Myers can go is up.
Even the right-leaning National Review, got into the act. A biting editorial pointed out that Myers "... would be the officer chiefly responsible for protecting the nation against terrorist threats once they have succeeded in infiltrating our borders, which are guarded by a different bureaucracy."
The National Review editorial writer also commented, "Her (Myers) nomination highlights the administration’s desire to keep immigration enforcement on a short leash, lest some rogue official embarrass the White House by actually enforcing the immigration law..."
Last week, the Daily Kos published the "List of 17," recess appointees, all of whom will serve until January 2007 when the current Senate term expires:
Floyd Hall, New Jersey -- AMTRAK Reform Board
Enrique J. Sosa, Florida -- AMTRAK Reform Board
Nadine Hogan, Florida -- Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation (Private Representative)
Roger W. Wallace, Texas -- Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation (Private Representative)
Gordon England, Texas -- Deputy Secretary of Defense
Benjamin A. Powell, Florida -- General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Ronald E. Meisburg, Virginia -- General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board
Julie L. Myers, Kansas -- Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security (Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
Tracy A. Henke, Missouri -- Executive Director of the Office of State and Local Government Coordination and Preparedness, Department of Homeland Security
Arthur F. Rosenfeld, Virginia -- Federal Mediation and Conciliation Director at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service
Ellen R. Sauerbrey, Maryland -- Assistant Secretary of State (Population, Refugees, and Migration)
Dorrance Smith, Virginia -- Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
Robert D. Lenhard, Maryland -- Federal Election Commission
Steven T. Walther, Nevada -- Federal Election Commission
Hans Von Spakovsky, Georgia -- Federal Election Commission
Peter N. Kirsanow, Ohio -- National Labor Relations Board
Stephen Goldsmith, Indiana -- Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service