Below the list of Cabinet members is another listing, of Bush administration officials who have been removed from office, or resigned, due to criminal convictions, ethical violations, or both. Thanks to TPM Muckraker for compiling the information. The list will, of course, continue to grow.
This page is not intended to give exhaustive biographical sketches of each senior official. Rather, it contains information designed to illuminate the individual's impact on the administration, and the policies the individual officials pursue over their careers. More information about each official can be found throughout this site.
List of Bush Administration officials, listed in order of succession:
- Vice President Dick Cheney
- Secretary of State Colin Powell
- Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill
- Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
- Attorney General John Ashcroft
- Secretary of the Interior Gale Ann Norton
- Secretary of Agriculture Ann Veneman
- Secretary of Commerce Don Evans
- Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao
- Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson
- Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs Mel Martinez
- Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta
- Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham
- Secretary of Education Rod Paige
- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi
- Chief of Staff Andrew Card
- CIA Director George Tenet
- National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice
- Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove
- Press Secretary Ari Fleischer
- President's Counselor Karen Hughes
- White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales
- Environmental Protection Agency Christine Todd Whitman
- Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels
- White House Economic Adviser Lawrence Lindsey
The new Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security will be created in late 2002. The first secretary of Homeland Security will be former Pennsylvania governor Thomas Ridge; after Ridge's resignation in February 2005, Bush will name former US prosecutor Michael Chertoff to the position.
Bush's group of top officials, featuring five women, two African-Americans, a Hispanic, an Arab-American, an Asian-American, and a Democrat, is hailed as a "model of diversity" by the mainstream media, with the supposedly liberal New York Times leading the charge by favorably comparing the ethnic makeup of the Bush staff to that of his predecessor, Bill Clinton. The fact that Bush's executive branch (a much larger pool of officials) features dramatically fewer women and minorities than Clinton's escapes the media's notice, as does the fact that most of his officials are hard-right reactionaries, with few moderate Republicans represented. Even the National Organization for Women compliments Bush for elevating Condoleezza Rice to the position of National Security Director and former campaign communications director Karen Hughes to the position of White House counsel. (Laura Flanders)
Frank Rich writes in 2006 that Bush, as everyone knows, is the first president to hold a MBA. He has long said that he would run the White House with business-like discipline. His 2001 cabinet is larded with CEOs, from Halliburton's Dick Cheney to Searle's Donald Rumsfeld and Alcoa's Paul O'Neill. Yet, Rich writes, "If this was a business culture, it was less like Jack Welch's General Electric than that of the smoke-and-mirror companies, many of them with swaggering CEOs and little accountability or board supervision...." (Frank Rich, p.50)
Of incoming vice president Cheney, journalist Harold Meyerson writes, "Cheney's most distinctive contribution to this administration is his penchant for near-absolute executive power." While a member of the House of Representatives during the Reagan-Bush years, Cheney argued for the right of the president to wage a war against the Sandinistas in Nicaragua with no congressional involvement whatsoever, even though the Constitution defines war making as a congressional, and not a presidential, prerogative. As George H.W. Bush's first secretary of defense, Cheney argued that the Gulf War required no congressional approval. His first move as vice president will be to initiate a round of secret energy policy meetings with key industry lobbyists and executives to help craft the administration's energy policies. Cheney will use the deference granted to him by Bush to stack the administration with like-minded neoconservatives, most notably Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Cheney's network of neocon hawks in the Defense Department: Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, Stephen Cambone, and Dov Zakheim. Cheney will also plant John Bolton in the State Department, Elliot Abrams in the National Security Council, Zalmay Khalilzad in the Office of the President, and Lewis Libby as his own chief of staff. Another key Cheney ally is Richard Perle, who will serve on the Defense Policy Board. Cheney will move almost immediately to dilute any influence Secretary of State Colin Powell will have on US foreign policy, instead working through his neoconservative network to maintain his dominant influence on administration policy. (Eric Alterman and Mark Green)
Far more information about Cheney can be found throughout this site.
Powell, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush administrations, a former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and one of the most well-known and well-loved members of Bush's cabinet, prefers a traditional internationalist order based on US support for multilateral institutions and other instruments of global, often non-military cooperation, a viewpoint that often puts him at odds with Cheney and the administration's warhawks, and often leaves him as little more than a figurehead presiding over key issues. Early on, Powell announces that he intends "to pick up where the Clinton administration had left off" in trying to secure a peace between North and South Korea, while continuing to negotiate with North Korea in heading off its acquisition of nuclear weapons. Bush will publicly repudiate Powell's efforts, and will embark on a series of public statements that directly insult and embarrass the North's Kim Jong Il. Powell will be forced to back down, telling reporters, "I got a little far forward on my skis." (After the Iraq invasion, Henry Kissinger will refer to Powell and his advisors as "a small country that occasionally does business with the United States.") (Eric Alterman and Mark Green)
Powell will be replaced by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice for Bush's second term.
Far more information about Powell can be found throughout this site.
See the rest of this site for far more information on O'Neill, much of it from Ron Suskind's biography of O'Neill's tenure as Treasury Secretary, The Price of Loyalty.
O'Neill will be replaced by John Snow, a former railroad executive and Reagan financial advisor, in March 2003. O'Neill will break silence, allowing his name and information to be used in Ron Suskind's 2003 book The Price of Loyalty, a damning insight into the amoral machinations of the Bush administration. This book has been heavily excerpted in the appropriate pages of this site. In July 2006, Snow will be replaced by Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson.
Rumsfeld is confirmed by the Senate only moments after Bush takes the oath of office, with hardly a breath of contention. He is one of the main Cabinet members focused upon by the mainstream media as an "older, wiser head" who is expected to keep the inexperienced new president on his footing. Less factually, Rumsfeld is often portrayed as a voice of moderation, who, along with Colin Powell, can be expected to damp down the fires of conservative excess in the new administration. Such a notion is ridiculous. "The notion that he's a gray eminence," laments William Hartung, the World Policy Institute's veteran defense analyst and a longtime Rumsfeld watcher, "is, in large part, based on press laziness." Rumsfeld is a veteran of a number of far-right organizations going back to the 1970s, a fact the press ignores. And the watershed ballistic missile panel he headed in 1998 was not the levelheaded, "bipartisan" effort he claimed it to be, but rather a frightening flashback to one of the most outrageous intelligence manipulations of the Cold War. There is a striking parallel between the new administration's power structure and the regime Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney effectively controlled nearly 30 years ago, in which the duo set up a dominant advisory axis to a perceptibly weak-on-national-security president, in part by marginalizing a high-profile secretary of state seen as too moderate. Back then, Rumsfeld had a reliable coterie of proteges and comrades he could depend on in the service of furthering his goals. Three decades later, Rumsfeld and a new coterie of Pentagon admirers is obsessed with the idea that a completely effective nuclear missile defense system can be deployed, giving America the power to use "peace through strength" in dealing with the rest of the world. Rumsfeld's machinations as Ford's Secretary of Defense will be mirrored in his activities in Bush's cabinet.
Rumsfeld was not the Bush team's first choice for Defense Secretary. That was, in many eyes, former Republican senator Dan Coats, who had the backing of the leaders of the conservative base. But Coats had not impressed during his interview with Bush and Cheney, who headed the post-election transition team. Coats was not close to the military leadership in the Pentagon, and was not a strong supporter of the "Star Wars" missile defense system. He had never run a large organization, and had acknowledged he would need a strong second-in-command as Defense Secretary. Cheney and the Bush team wanted someone with a strong, forceful personality, and someone with the same gravitas as Powell, Cheney, and the other members of Bush's national security team. Cheney suggested his old friend and colleague Rumsfeld, who was under consideration to run the CIA. And Bush was impressed with Rumsfeld in his interview -- unlike Coats, Rumsfeld intended to come in to the position with a plan to transform the moribund, hidebound bureaucracy of the Defense Department and the military as a whole. Bush liked Rumsfeld's swagger and his energy. And, some believe, it was a plus that the elder Bush disliked Rumsfeld. The former president considered Rumsfeld arrogant, self-important, cocksure, and Machiavellian. In return, Rumsfeld thought the elder Bush had been a lightweight and a weak CIA director too easily manipulated by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Choosing Rumsfeld to head the Defense Department would be, for the son, a thumb in the elder Bush's eye. But, Bush wondered aloud to his new chief of staff Andrew Card, was there something he wasn't seeing? After all, his father didn't like Rumsfeld for a reason. Is this a trapdoor? he asked. Card didn't know.
In 1975, Ford's new Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, replaced reliable hawk James Schlesinger. Conservatives were angry: Rumsfeld was a virtual unknown, and believed to be a footpad of the State Department's bete noire, Henry Kissinger. Instead, Rumsfeld worked diligently to establish himself as every bit the hawkish, belligerent conservative that Schlesinger was. He quickly became noted as, not Kissinger's lackey, but such an opponent of Kissinger that the press virtually outed him as Kissinger's nemesis by routinely naming Rumsfeld as a source of the incessant Kissinger-bashing from the Pentagon. It was Rumsfeld and his allies who worked behind the scenes to scuttle the SALT II arms reduction talks, both out of ideological conviction and to undermine Kissinger, who was the chief architect of the agreement. Rumsfeld used the conservative columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak to spread the rumors that Kissinger was "drafting top secret proposals for major concessions to Moscow." Evans and Novak implied that only one man could save the republic from the betrayal of giving away the nuclear farm: Donald Rumsfeld. Journalist Jason Vest writes, "Though the sources for the Evans and Novak column were anonymous, those in the know had little trouble divining who they were. A small group of conservative arms control opponents in the executive and legislative branches known as 'the cabal' was becoming increasingly, if quietly, effective. To them -- Richard Perle, an aide to Democratic Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson of Washington; US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA) Deputy Director John Lehman; and Lieutenant General Edward Rowny, among others -- Rumsfeld was an ally, and the antithesis of Kissinger, whose ideas of 'detente' and 'rapprochement' were anathema."
Ford followed the lead of this group of defense-minded hawks, later known as "neoconservatives," and nixed SALT II. Some Ford advisors later said that the move cost Ford the 1976 election. In 1988, Ford explained why the SALT II talks died: "The attitude in the Defense Department," he said, "made it impossible to proceed in the environment of 1976." By March 1976, Ford had become increasingly hawkish and confrontational in his dealings with the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Rumsfeld joined a group of neocons who became known as the "Committee on the Present Danger." The CPD's touchstone belief was that the United States was failing to keep pace with the Soviet war machine. Though originally seen as an extremist organization, the group managed to prevail upon the Ford administration to let its members have access to CIA data in the service of providing an 'alternative' assessment of the Soviet threat. In CPD's view, the agency chronically minimized the Soviet military threat, thus creating a false basis for what CPD saw as insufficient US defense expenditures. At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld was pushing hard for new strategic endeavors, such as the MX missile and the B-1 bomber. Though the CIA's William Colby had successfully fought against outside analysis, new director George Bush was much more receptive to the suggestion from the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which included CPD members, that the agency's analysts hadn't been on the ball. The CPD experts, now known informally as "Team B," crafted an extremist assessment that relied on worst-case scenarios, "cherry-picked" intelligence findings, and at times outright lied to create a series of recommendations that would wildly overestimate Soviet military capabilities and were larded with doom-saying predictions.
Vest writes, "It's hard to know which is more surprising: that Team B's exaggerated findings were accepted then, or that reporters still accept them today." Though the findings were submitted to the White House too late for Ford to use them to great effect, CPD members mounted a powerful media campaign of leaks and spin to create an atmosphere of public hysteria.
Rumsfeld and his colleagues used the Team B assessments to undermine arms control efforts for the next four years. Two days before Jimmy Carter's inauguration, Rumsfeld fired parting shots at Kissinger and other disarmament advocates, saying that "no doubt exists about the capabilities of the Soviet armed forces" and that those capabilities "indicate a tendency toward war fighting...rather than the more modish Western models of deterrence through mutual vulnerability." Vest writes, "Team B's efforts not only were effective in undermining the incoming Carter administration's disarmament efforts but also laid the foundation for the unnecessary explosion of the defense budget in the Reagan years. And it was during those years that virtually all of Rumsfeld's compatriots were elevated to positions of power in the executive branch. From there they defended programs Rumsfeld had pushed, like the MX and the B-1. Though he did a brief turn as special envoy to the Middle East in 1983 and 1984, Rummy also had another quiet and influential role: adviser to Eugene V. Rostow, veteran Cold Warrior and head of the ACDA. When Reagan fired Rostow in 1983, the president replaced him with another of Rumsfeld's proteges: Kenneth Adelman, whose entire defense experience had consisted of one year spent as a Rumsfeld special assistant at the Pentagon. Not surprisingly, Rumsfeld continued on as a member of ACDA's advisory board."
While Rumsfeld had plenty of influence during the Reagan years, he was less welcome in the first Bush administration. During those four years, Rumsfeld took the chairmanship of the Committee for the Free World, a group of right-wing defense hawks. In addition to alerting the nation to the continued Communist menace in Central America, CFW also sold numerous publications extolling the virtuous brilliance of Reagan's Star Wars program, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). Rumsfeld also sat on the board of fellow CPD member Leo Cherne's International Rescue Committee, the antileftist human rights organization effusive in its support of right-wing regimes all over the world. And Rumsfeld joined up with William Bennett's Empower America.
Rumsfeld became a leader of the Star Wars lobbying effort. In 1996 he was Bob Dole's campaign chairman and defense advisor, ensuring that Dole became a strong advocate for Star Wars in his campaign. When, in 1995, the CIA reported that a nuclear missile threat from a new foreign power was at least 15 years away, Rumsfeld acolyte Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy fought against the CIA's assessment, and, with the aid of congressional Republicans, successfully pushed for the establishment of an outside group to provide an alternative assessment to the CIA's -- in effect, another Team B. Rumsfeld and Gaffney were angered at that team's findings that the original CIA assessment were essentially correct, so Gaffney worked with House Speaker Newt Gingrich to have a third assessment compiled. Thus the Commission to Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States was born, with Donald Rumsfeld as chair. Widely, and inaccurately, characterized as "bipartisan in its conclusions," the final Rumsfeld commission report was, for all intents and purposes, a Team B redux: The CIA, the report concluded, was wrong, and the very real threat of ICBM attack from a "rogue state" was at most five, not 15, years off. Such an event, said the report, could occur with "little or no warning."
Scores of experts since then have laughed off the CABMT's report, with veteran defense analyst John Pike calling it one of the greatest travesties in the history of the intelligence community. Team B at least looked at data before trying "to discover new and more alarming facts and place the most pessimistic interpretation on them," says Pike. "The Rumsfeld Report basically says, 'We have no interest in examining what's probably going to happen in these other countries.' Rather than basing policy on intelligence estimates of what will probably happen politically and economically and what the bad guys really want, it's basing policy on that which is not physically impossible. This is really an extraordinary epistemological conceit, which is applied to no other realm of national policy, and if manifest in a single human being would be diagnosed as paranoid." Hartung, who believes the entire committee should have been tanked and its report tossed, says, "It's somewhat of a tribute to the way he operates that he's able to get away with all this." Hartung says that SDI haunts the Democrats because "they're afraid if they don't support missile defense they'll be outflanked from the right. But this is so far out of step with what most people are thinking about these days. And as a result, we're not getting the debate we need to have." At Rumsfeld's Senate confirmation hearings, he said that the landmark Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was "ancient history" and that he would have no problem in abrogating it.
In the late 1990s, as chairman of the commission on ballistic missile programs, Rumsfeld criticized intelligence analysts that were unwilling "to make estimates that extended beyond the hard evidence they had in hand," or, in other words, were unwilling to abandon evidence in favor of speculation.
In 2001, the Senate also ignored Rumsfeld's chairmanship of the CABMT in its confirmation hearings, ignoring a huge conflict of interest that should have been grounds for serious opposition to his confirmation.
Army General Hugh Shelton, the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2001, worried from the outset about Rumsfeld's ascension to power. He heard from Air Force General George Brown, who served as JCS chair during Rumsfeld's first term as defense secretary, that Rumsfeld could not be trusted, and that he despised the uniformed military. "You are not going to enjoy this relationship," Brown wrote to Shelton in a private letter. "He will be in control of everything." Shelton showed the letter to several generals and admirals. Other retired senior military officers told horror stories of dealing with Rumsfeld, who could be a martinet. Admiral James Holloway, chief of naval operations from 1974 through 1978, recalled Rumsfeld chewing him out in front of forty other senior military officers and civilians over something Holloway had testified to in front of Congress. "Shut up," Rumsfeld had snapped when Holloway tried to explain his testimony. "I don't want any excuses. You are through and you'll not have time to clean out your desk if this is not taken care of."
Far more worrisome to Shelton than Rumsfeld's dictatorial management style was his immediate move as the new SoD to establish what Shelton thought of as his own "kitchen cabinet," a group of close friends and colleagues within his own office. Shelton thought of Rumsfeld's office staff as more of a "fortress," designed to wall Rumsfeld off from disparate points of view and contradictions. First among Rumsfeld's own Praetorian Guard was Stephen Cambone, who began as Rumsfeld's special assistant and deputy secretary of defense, then became the principal undersecretary of defense for policy, then moved to take the position of the director of program analysis and evaluation in Rumsfeld's office. He became the first undersecretary of defense for intelligence in March 2003, a position specifically created for Cambone by Rumsfeld. Two other close friends of Rumsfeld in the office, former Secretary of the Army Martin Hoffman, a former Princeton roommate of Rumsfeld's, and retired Vice Admiral Staser Holcomb, a former assistant to Rumsfeld in the 1970s, rounded out the senior officials in Rumsfeld's office. The fourth and perhaps most important member of Rumsfeld's kitchen cabinet was lawyer Steve Herbits, a close friend of Rumsfeld's since 1967. Herbits was to Rumsfeld what Karl Rove was to Bush. Many senior officers in the military perceive, with justification, that Rumsfeld is attempting to perform what in essence is a hostile takeover of the Defense Department by himself and his handpicked staff, and they are resentful and resistant.
Rumsfeld's abrasive and often ugly management style is well-known to Cheney, who told General J.J. Quinn, Rumsfeld's assistant, "You're never going to get any credit. And you'll only know how well you're doing if he gives you more work. If that happens, you're doing fine." In April 2001, Rumsfeld found a copy of a 1979 Fortune article about him, speaking about what it was like to be a former top government official in the world of private business. "I was a flight instructor in the Navy," Rumsfeld had said in the article, which he sent to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz with instructions to read it. "The first thing a fledgling pilot usually does, when he climbs into a plane, is to grab hold of that stick and squeeze it so hard that he gets a sore arm. With a grip that tight, every movement is jerky. When government officials get into a tight situation, they have a tendency to do the same thing. They get jerky, over-control, micromanage." According to reporter and author Bob Woodward, many senior Pentagon officials are alarmed and astonished at "how hard he was now squeezing the Pentagon controls. He micromanaged daily Pentagon life and rode roughshod over people."
Rumsfeld chose Powell Moore, a consummate Washington insider, to be his liason with Congress. Moore, who only took the job if he could have direct access to Rumsfeld, is more than willing to work with the most difficult members of Congress, but he is astonished at the overt contempt Rumsfeld -- a former House member himself -- holds for Congress, individually and as an institution.
Rumsfeld treated Secretary of State Colin Powell, a moderate like his old rival Kissinger, in the same manner -- undermining Powell's authority, casting aspersions on his efficacy and even his patriotism, in the same manner that he and Cheney cut Kissinger out of the chain of command. With Cheney the vice president, such machinations became even easier for Rumsfeld to pull off. Powell was viewed with suspicion by many on the right, over everything from Iraq policy to missile defense. He had an appeal and a constituency broader than either Bush's or Cheney's. "On both counts -- politics and policy -- Powell scares them a little," says a senior Republican operative close to the Bush White House. "They wanted someone committed to missile defense and who can go toe-to-toe with Powell," who is not known to be an enthusiastic supporter of an expansive missile defense program. Powell's own choice for secretary of defense, Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, was vetoed for being insufficiently pro-missile defense. Trent Lott's choice, former Indiana Senator Dan Coats, proved himself unworthy to Bush and Cheney by asking if he would be second fiddle to Powell. ("Reasonable question, but if you had to ask and couldn't assert, that's the end of it," says the GOP operative.) Paul Wolfowitz, a star Rumsfeld protege, was in the middle of a complicated divorce, but was named Rumsfeld's deputy. Dick Cheney is the man behind the Rumsfeld nomination.
Vest wrote, "Conventional wisdom holds that the Bush administration will be unlike any other, with Bush as chairman and Cheney as CEO, or Bush as president and Cheney as prime minister (with oversight of the defense and diplomacy portfolios). In a sense, it's Ford all over again: Rummy back at the Pentagon, Cheney as the sitting president's right hand, and a secretary of state who's potential trouble. That Powell's recommendations for secretary of defense died early on, and that his suggestion for Rumsfeld's number two at the Pentagon -- his old friend Richard Armitage, seen by many in Rummy's circle as a dangerous moderate -- was also shot down, recalls some familiar executive maneuvering." Rumsfeld can be counted on to appoint fellow ideologues and neocons as Wolfowitz, Gaffney, and Richard Perle, or at least bring them on board as outside advisors. (The American Prospect, Seymour Hersh, Bob Woodward, Wikipedia)
A great deal of additional information about Rumsfeld can be found throughout this site.
Rumsfeld will be fired, though it will be presented as a voluntary resignation, on November 8, 2006, the day after the midterm elections. His successor is former CIA director Robert Gates.
One of Bush's first appointments is former senator John Ashcroft as Attorney General. Ashcroft is a hardline conservative and fundamentalist Christian who speaks in tongues and anoints himself in oil as part of his religious observations. Ashcroft toyed with the idea of running as a far-right Christian candidate in 1999, and lost his campaign for re-election in 2000 to Mel Carnahan, the former governor of Missouri who died in a plane crash in October 2000 (the seat was taken by Carnahan's widow). He avoided Vietnam service through student deferments and by teaching a business law course. As Missouri's Attorney General and US Senator, he fought against school desegregation, abortion rights, contraception availability, gun control, and gay rights, and will lie about his actions to the Senate during his confirmation hearings. One of his most memorable moments was his decision to cover a statue that he found offensive. Ashcroft is a longtime supporter of white supremacist groups, as well as an active supporter of the supremacist magazine Southern Partisan. He has also published a widely read apologia for slavery, celebrated the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and associated himself politically and socially with a number of Ku Klux Klan leaders.
In an interview during his first term, Barbara Walters will ask Bush if he truly expected Ashcroft to "be as much of a lightning rod" for criticism as he will become; when Bush answers "Yes," Walters follows with, "You really did? And you did it anyway, even though you talk about wanting to unite?" David Corn writes, "Choosing Ashcroft while avowing political healing signaled Bush was not telling the truth when he claimed a serious commitment to achieving unity and changing the tone in the White House." Bush's first choice for his Attorney General was Montana governor Mark Racicot, who had spoken out forcefully for the Republicans during the Florida election debacle, but key figures on the religious right made it clear that Racicot is insufficiently anti-gay and anti-abortion for their liking. More to the point, these religious figures were convinced that Racicot would operate far too independently of their influence. After an abortive effort by Karl Rove to win Racicot's approval from right-wing religious leaders, Racicot withdrew his name from consideration, and Bush pretended that Ashcroft was always his first choice. After falsely promising the Senate that he will not allow his own religious convictions to affect his decisions as Attorney General, he narrowly won confirmation. Ashcroft, more than any other single figure of the Bush administration, has led the fight to undermine the Bill of Rights and Constitutionally protected freedoms. He moved to implement the legal creation of "detention camps" for any American he personally considers a "terrorist threat," without legal charges or the right to be represented by a lawyer. Constitutional law professor Johnathan Turley later wrote that Ashcroft transformed himself "from merely being a political embarrassment to being a constitutional menace." (Kevin Phillips, Joe Conason, Dumb and Dubya, David Corn)
Ashcroft will be replaced by White House Counsel Alberto Gonzalez for Bush's second term.
Far more information about Ashcroft can be found throughout this site.
Norton is described by Bush as "a former attorney general of Colorado with a reputation for building consensus on divisive issues." Norton is remembered for telling a conservative group in Denver in 1996 that "we lost too much" in the Civil War, referring to the states' rights agenda, one of the most racially and economically divisive platforms a politician can advocate. Norton is a former radical libertarian who, in her youth, worked to curb governmental power, but changed to become a more mainstream conservative Republican once she saw the opportunity to buy in to the conservative power structure. She will oversee the Bush administration efforts to open millions of acres of pristine, protected Alaskan wilderness to oil drilling. Norton says the literature of Ayn Rand helped reshape her personal and political philosophy.
Norton joined the Mountain States Legal Foundation, first headed by Denver's James Watt, who won notoriety as Reagan's Secretary of the Interior. Norton showed little interest in working with the public interest groups fighting for the rights of women, minorities, or the environment; instead, she worked diligently to establish herself as an influential policy maker. MSLF routinely fought on behalf of large corporations, and Norton contributed a well-crafted legal argument that held the 5th Amendment requires the government to pay polluters not to violate environmental laws, and pay timber companies not to cut down restricted old-growth trees. Her arguments won her support in the "Wise Use" circles, a movement that supports virtual free rein for the private sector in developing and exploiting protected wilderness areas. Watt brought MSLF's privatization policies to national prominence, and encountered stiff opposition. Environmental groups worked overtime to counter his proposals, most notably to put up 30 million acres of federally protected land for private bidding, and then to open up 100 million acres of Alaskan wilderness along with a billion acres of the outer continental shelf, for oil drilling. Norton came to the Department of the Interior shortly after Watt's forced departure, under Christian Coalition leader Don Hodel; Hodel and Norton immediately began working to further Watt's agenda to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil developers. Norton left the DOI in 1987, as did many property rights activists, unhappy with the direction the first Bush administration was taking. In 1988, the Wise Use movement officially took flight, and included activists from MSLF, the NRA, DuPont, Exxon, and others. Norton joined the movement as well as right-wing foundations such as the Federalist Society, where she will win the honor of "Young Lawyer of the Year."
In 1991, Norton won the post of Attorney General of Colorado via an ugly campaign marked by her campaign's wrongful accusations that her Democratic opponent, incumbent Duane Woodward, released convicted felons to go out and commit murder, a tactic very similar to the Willie Horton ad campaign of 1988. Her libertarian friends were swiftly disillusioned over their former colleague's abandonment of their ideals; as one said, she had become "a truly repressive, conservative Republican, no longer suspicious of government power because she was the right sort to exercise it." As Attorney General, she cut by a third her department's spending on environmental enforcement, and did a lax job of enforcing environmental regulations. She refused to press charges against a gold mining corporation which spilled cyanide into a river, killing all aquatic life along a 17-mile stretch. She refused to help the Sierra Club secure a $130 million judgment against Hayden Power even after the company had been found guilty of 19,000 violations of the Clean Air Act. She fought her own citizens in a case involving Colorado citizens suing a corporation over heavy-metal emissions. She refused to prosecute a Louisiana-Pacific mill even after it had been found to have sabotaged record-keepng and covered up violations, leaving it to federal prosecutors to pursue the charges. In 1994, she helped the state pass a wide-ranging "self-audit" law that left it up to polluters to decide for themselves whether they were violating environmental laws. She refused to allow Colorado to join 23 other states in the lawsuit against big tobacco companies, saying that it would cost the state taxpayers too much money, and failing to say that her biggest political contributors were the selfsame tobacco companies. She even testified against the constitutionality of the lawsuit. Just before the litigation succeeded, she reversed course and joined the suit just in time for the payout; a Denver Democratic state representative said, "she basically sent out a letter saying that if you are giving out money, we want some."
In 1997, Norton and anti-tax activist Grover Norquist founded the Council for Republicans for Environmental Advocacy, a pressure group backed by organizations like the Chemical Manufacturers Association, the Westward Mining Association, the Chlorine Chemical Council, and the political consulting firm of Karl Rove. The group did little except raise money.
She lost in the 1996 Senate race after insulting disabled citizens by complaining that the Americans for Disabilities Act required the building of "this really ugly addition to the state capital" (a wheelchair ramp), said the issue of domestic violence was unimportant when measured against things like "interstate commerce," and said the Confederacy was a fine example of the exercise of states' rights. Part of her problem with elective office was her public standoffishness; "she acted as if she wanted to wash after shaking hands with people," observed one Denver Post columnist.
During her confirmation hearings as Secretary of the Interior, she will lull the suspicions of environmentalists by carefully crafting her language, saying she will rely on "sound science" and not ideology to base her land-management decisions on, and that she is "committed to preserving and protecting the environment," but wants to use it more "wisely and effectively." Once in office, she will begin pushing for the development of ANWR, even rewriting a report that shows oil drilling will seriously endanger indigeneous wildlife to say just the opposite. She will withhold from Congress research that shows caribou herds significantly dwindling near oil developments in Alaska, and call her hiding of the research "a mistake." In 2003 she will say that any depredations in Alaska are environmentally irrelevant because the entire state is a "great white nothing." She will push for the privatization of the National Parks and Forest Services. Under Norton, the DOI routinely works to gut environmental legislation with the legal assistance of lawyers from mining and oil corporations. She has staffed DOI with many of her old MSLF friends and colleagues, and intends to "finish the Watt agenda," according to Indian activist Suzan Harjo, "because there are a lot of people helping her." (Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Laura Flanders)
Norton will announce her resignation from her post on March 10, 2006, partially because of her connections with lobbyist and convicted criminal Jack Abramoff. Bush will name Idaho governor Dirk Kempthorne as her successor. (Wikipedia)
Bush names Ann Veneman as his Secretary of Agriculture. Veneman is a former director of Calgene, the first company to market genetically enhanced foods. Her father, John Veneman, the undersecretary for health, education, and welfare under Nixon, developed the idea of the "health maintenance organization," or HMO. Veneman herself likes to describe herself as "born a poor little peach farmer's daughter," but this description is ingenuous at best. Hers is a powerful family in California agribusiness and politics by the time Ann was born. Her family always took the side of the growers and corporate farmers versus the farm workers. Lined up against the Venemans and the other powerful agribusiness interests were, among others, Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers. Aligned with the Venemans were Ernst and Julio Gallo, notorious for their anti-union activities. When asked why Veneman is so unpopular with working farmers, Arkansas farmer Tom Burnham replies, "Because she is a corporate lackey." Veneman will staff the Agriculture Department with a "dream team" of corporate agribusiness executives. Her head of rural development, Tom Door, once embezzled $17,000 from the Agriculture Department and describes successful farming in terms of racial and religious homogenuity. During her tenure, Veneman will strictly control information about agricultural pollution. She will reclassify data about factory hog farms as "sensitive," meaning it is no longer publicly accessible. Agriculture Department scientists who wish to publish information documenting "agricultural practices with negative health and environmental consequences" must seek approval from Veneman's office before they can publish. After the Iraq invasion, Veneman will name Daniel Amstultz to head up the rebuilding of Iraq's agricultural infrastructure. Amstultz is a former Cargill executive and trade lobbyist. Oxfam's Kevin Watkins will warm that "putting Amstultz in charge of agricultural reconstruction in Iraq is like putting Saddam Hussein as the chair of a human rights commission. ...[Amstultz is] uniquely well placed to advance the commercial interests of American grain companies and bust open the Iraqi market, but singularly ill-equipped to lead a reconstruction effort in a war-torn country." Veneman will also be instrumental in the administration's effort to downplay the threat of mad cow disease. (Wikipedia, Laura Flanders)
Veneman will be replaced during Bush's second term by former Nebraska governor Mike Johanns; she is named to be the new head of UNICEF.
See the rest of this site for more information on Evans.
Evans will be replaced by Carlos Gutierrez for Bush's second term.
The new secretary of labor is Elaine Chao, of whom AFL-CIO president John Sweeney will say, "I have never seen a secretary of labor who is so anti-labor," and of whom New York AFL-CIO president Denis Hugues says, "Chao obviously felt we were the enemy as opposed to leaders of real organizations [i.e. corporations]. I was struck by how uncomfortable she was around labor leaders. It's really illustrative that Bush would pick someone like this." Chao is actually Bush's second choice for Labor; his first nominee, conservative author and talk show host Linda Chavez, withdrew her nomination after stories about her employment and housing of illegal immigrants come to light. Chao's family, which moved to Taiwan in 1949 to flee the Maoist revolution, is closely tied to two of China's most powerful business families, the Tungs and the Hsuis, both particularly influential in Hong Kong. In 1958, her father came to the US, not "with nothing," as she likes to tell audiences, but as an assistant to a Tung shipping company. She is a beneficiary of the 1964 National Civil Rights Act, as was her father, who immediately opened a shipping company called Formost. (Chao is known as a vocal opponent of the 1991 Civil Rights Act.) As the US moved to normalize relations with China, the Chaos profited, moving to toney Westchester County and sending Elaine to one of America's most exclusive colleges, Mount Holyoke. (Persistent rumors of plagarism from her Mount Holyoke days have dogged Chao for years; the school refuses to discuss the matter, but Chao's name does not appear in the 1975 commencement program, the year that she graduated.) After attending Harvard Business School, she went to work for Gulf Oil, which had a Taiwan-based subsidiary, and then for Citicorp. Chao will lead the new administration's fight to roll back overtime laws, a proposal that, if enacted, would see police officers, nurses, firefighters, and tens of millions of American workers forced to work longer hours without overtime benefits. (The proposal has so far failed to make it into law.) Political guru Karl Rove will tell the New Yorker that Chao's naming as Labor Secretary is part of his grand strategy to achieve an era of unchallenged Republican dominance by undermining labor, a key base of the Democratic Party. (Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Laura Flanders)
See the rest of this site for more information on Thompson.
Thompson will be replaced by Michael Leavitt for Bush's second term. In 2007 he will mount a long-shot candidace for the GOP nomination for president.
See the rest of this site for more information on Martinez.
Martinez will be replaced by Alphonso Jackson in March 2004.
See the rest of this site for more information on Mineta.
Mineta, the last holdover from the Clinton adminstration, announced his resignation in June 2006, effective July 7, 2006. He is replaced by Mary Peters, a veteran of the Arizona Republican Party and a former vice-president of a Nebraska engineering and consulting firm.
See the rest of this site for more information on Abraham.
Abraham will be replaced by Sam Bodman for Bush's second term.
Paige is a controversial appointee. A black conservative who served as Houston's superintendent of schools from 1994-2000, Paige's claim to fame was the so-called "Houston Miracle," where high school students' end-of-term test scores rose dramatically under Paige's guidance. Investigation proved the test score increase to have been fraudulently generated, with many lower-achieving students encouraged to drop out of school, or held back a grade if they were about to enter a testing year, then graduated over that testing grade so results for that school and district would not be lowered by an anticipated low performance. Paige will make a number of controversial statements, including characterizing the National Education Association as a "terrorist organization" and saying he would prefer to have a child in a Christian school instead of a public school because there were too many different values in a public school for a child to form proper values. Peter Singer writes, "Apart from running down the schools it is his responsibility to improve, the remark implies that it would be preferable for all children to be brought up with just one -- Christian -- worldview." Under Paige, the department will deem some 200 television shows "inappropriate" for closed captioning, presumably to protect deaf viewers from being corrupted by such shows as I Dream of Jeannie and Bewitched, both blacklisted for promoting devilish practices. (Wikipedia, Peter Singer, Mark Crispin Miller)
See the remainder of this site for more information on Paige.
Paige will be replaced by White House domestic policy advisor Margaret Spellings for Bush's second term, resigning on November 15, 2004.
See the rest of this site for more information on Principi.
Principi will be replaced by Jim Nicholson for Bush's second term.
Card was chosen primarily because the elder Bush treasured his loyalty. In 1988, Card had been instrumental in engineering the elder Bush's primary win in New Hampshire, and had served loyally as his deputy chief of staff and transportation secretary. Bush announced Card's appointment as chief of staff in November 2000, even before the election had been settled. Bob Woodward writes, "Beside the vice president, Andy Card would be first among equals in the Bush White House, on all matters, at all times. (Bob Woodward)
See the rest of this site for more information on Card.
In March 2006, Card stepped down, to be replaced by former White House budget director Joshua Bolten. Much information on Card's decision to resign can be found in the late 2005 and early 2006 pages of this site.
Tenet was the Deputy Director of the CIA under his predecessor, the unpopular John Deutch. When Deutch resigned in 1996, Tenet was not Clinton's first choice to be CIA director, but Clinton's pick, his national security advisor, Anthony Lake, was blocked from the post by a contentious Republican-led Senate. Tenet was chosen to take over primarily because he was confirmable. In peacetime, Tenet, by all accounts, did a good job of rebuilding the CIA's credibility and assets. At the behest of former president Bush, the younger Bush decided to retain Tenet as CIA director instead of naming another choice, most likely Donald Rumsfeld, to head the agency.
Tenet was always more politically minded than most CIA officials, and this tendency to play politics and align himself with the centers of power in the White House caused tremendous problems under Bush, contributing to the intelligence failures surrounding 9/11 and the Iraq war. Tenet always had strong "people skills," and managed to quickly ingratiate himself with the new, inexperienced president. Tenet was never able to build a similar relationship with the new secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, who viewed the CIA as competition to the DOD, and a threat to Rumsfeld's jealously guarded authority (DOD, after all, controls 80% of the US's intelligence capabilities). In trying to build a camaraderie with Rumsfeld, Tenet spent many of their early briefings regaling Rumsfeld with tales and anecdotes from the CIA's clandestine operations, but failed to discuss many matters of import, refusing to do bureaucratic battle with Rumsfeld, an experienced Washington infighter. New York Times reporter James Risen writes, "Perhaps [Tenet] thought it was better to humor Rumsfeld with colorful storytelling, and stand clear of his wrath, than get down and dirty with him over turf battles that Tenet was doomed to lose." One former Tenet aide acknowledged that his boss was "trying to impress" Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld refused to acknowledge that either Tenet or national security advisor Condoleezza Rice had any authority over him, and, like Rice, Tenet usually bowed to Rumsfeld, letting the secretary have his way on any number of important issues.
Tenet resigned under pressure in 2004, and was replaced by Republican congressman Porter Goss in September 2004. After Goss's brief and inglorious tenure, marked by far worse political compromises and schmoozing than Tenet ever dreamed of, Goss was replaced in May 2006 by former NSA head Michael Hayden.
Condoleezza Rice is a former Chevron director, a tenured professor of political science at Stanford University, and the university's former provost. She began her career as a fellow at Stanford's Center for International Security and Arms Control. The Center had never before awarded a fellowship to a woman; almost immediately, Rice landed an assistant professorship with Stanford. Though undoubtely qualified, Rice herself admits that she was largely an affirmative-action hire: "They didn't need another Soviet specialist," she told an interviewer from Vogue. "But they asked themselves, 'How often does a black female who could diversify our ranks come along?'" Rice, previously a Democrat, claims that she cast her first Republican vote, for Ronald Reagan, in 1980; her fellow faculty members remember her as being a vocal Republican among a faculty dominated by Democrats. However, in 1984 Rice worked as a foreign-policy advisor for the presidential campaign of Democrat Gary Hart, casting doubt on her later claims of being a Reagan supporter. Under her leadership as provost, the person who makes final decisions on hiring, tenure, and staff pay, Stanford cut $6 million from its budget. She fired the first Latina in Stanford's administration, Cecilia Burciaga, the assistant dean of students and one of the most popular and well-liked administration officials among the student body. Under Rice, the number of African-American students at Stanford plummeted. The percentage of women in the faculty, 11%, was, under Rice, far below the national average. Many female professors termed the morale at Stanford in "crisis," and lay much of the blame on Rice. Instead of working to alleviate the problems among the faculty, Rice spent much of her time as provost in solidifying her position with the conservative establishment in California and Washington.
Rice was born to a middle-class family in Birmingham, Alabama in 1954, a city called the worst in America for civil rights by Martin Luther King and the stomping grounds of racist sheriff "Bull" Connor. Rice proudly recalls that her father was "the first Republican I knew," and maintains, only half-truthfully, that her father registered as a Republican because the Jim Crow Democrats of Birmingham would not sign up blacks on the voting rolls. (The truth is that neither party welcomed blacks on their rolls, but the local Republicans would sign up blacks in secret, and only if the black signees pledged to vote Republican.) Rice's story emphasizes her family's insistence that their children improve themselves by merely "ignoring" racism and focusing instead on keeping their grades up and getting into college; it does not include, for example, the fact that her family was in the upper echelons of black society both because of their relative wealth and the fact that they were quite light-skinned due to a number of white ancestors in their family tree.
Laura Flanders writes, "The up-from-oppression narratives of powerful people of color pack a particular punch: they can cast liberal complainers as bigots. Those who bemoan the discrimination against groups -- so goes the argument -- underestimate the power of one." The story "hit[s] the rhetorical jackpot" for the Republicans, writes Flanders -- Rice's story illustrates an entire class of blacks who supposedly did not need civil rights legislation or affirmative action laws to achieve success in America. A GOP strategist says that her story contains the elements needed to challenge the view that black Americans are the "natural constituents" of the Democratic Party. Rice says that Bush "would have loved [her] Granddaddy Rice," but Flanders reminds us that while Rice's grandfather was forced to sell his church for the opportunity to get an education, Bush's grandfather was running a Wall Street Bank; his uncle Prescott Bush opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964; George W. Bush himself grew up in the de facto segregated town of Midland, Texas, where his family's black maid was prohibited from wearing anything but work clothes downtown.
Rice herself benefited from a raft of anti-discriminatory laws that helped her get into the colleges she seems to believe she was "foreordained" to attend simply because of her family heritage. In 1969, her father, John Wesley Rice, then the assistant dean of the University of Denver, said, "The great American Dream has become the great American lie" for racial minorities. Rice's father was able to become a dean in part because of affirmative action laws passed in the wake of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and because the University of Denver was clamoring for black administrators and faculty. Rice worked hard to integrate the almost all-white university during his tenure there, and was a prominent civil rights activist who raised money for Martin Luther King's organization. Condoleezza Rice describes herself as a former Democrat who voted for Jimmy Carter in 1976 but lost her faith in the Democrats after witnessing Carter's "feeble" response to the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan. Under Bush, Rice, now firmly in the ranks of the neoconservatives, will bring in the group of hawkish "neocons" nicknamed the Vulcans. Ironically, Rice was considered one of the less ideological "realists" of the first term administration, noted for criticizing the Clinton administration for confusing morality with foreign policy, and promised to help "refocus the United States on the national interest and the pursuit of key priorities." (Laura Flanders, Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Peter Singer)
Rice will replace Colin Powell as Secretary of State for Bush's second term, though she was grilled by Democratic senators during her confirmation hearings. Her deputy, Stephen Hadley, will succeed her. Many perceive Rice's relationship with Bush to be the closest between a president and Secretary of State since Nixon and Kissinger. Rice is considered by some Republicans to be a strong candidate for president in 2008, though she insists she has no intention of running for public office of any sort. She will turn down the position of commissioner of the National Football League following the March 2006 resignation of Paul Tagliabue, saying she prefers to remain in the State Department.
Author and New York Times reporter James Risen characterizes Rice's term as national security advisor in his book State of War by writing, "...Rice had an excellent personal relationship with the president but lacked sufficient power and authority to get crucial things done. Foreign policy was often forged by small groups in unlikely places, including the Office of the Vice President and the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Rice was forced to play catch-up and to accept professional indignities, often at the hands of Donald Rumsfeld. Some of her chagrined aides believe others in her place would have resigned. Her loyalty was rewarded, however, when Bush named her Secretary of State at the start of his second term." Rice was never seen as Bush's true national security advisor, but more of a close and trusted aide; for all intents and purposes, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were Bush's real security advisors.
"Condi was a very, very weak national security advisor," recalls a former NSC official who worked extensively with Rice. "She did seem close to the president, but that didn't translate into having control over the process. The NSC process in this administration has been dysfunctional. You had a set of principals who were polarized on almost every issue. That means you either have to forge a consensus or tee up options and make decisions. And your job as NSC advisor is to get the president to make decisions. But she let the dysfunction and lack of consensus continue. Rumsfeld was subject to no adult supervision by the national security advisor." A former top CIA official agrees: "I think Rice didn't really manage anything and will go down as probably the worst national security advisor in history. I think the real national security advisor was Cheney, and so Cheney and Rumsfeld could do what they wanted." (Wikipedia, James Risen, Laura Flanders)
Far more information about Rice is available throughout this site.
When Rice took the position of Secretary of State in March 2005, her deputy, Stephen Hadley, rose to the position of National Security Advisor. Plenty of information about Hadley is available throughout this site as well.
Far, far more information on Rove, Bush's prime political advisor who heavily influences Bush's foreign and domestic policy, is available on the rest of this site.
See the rest of this site for more information on Fleischer.
Fleischer stepped down as press secretary in July 2003 in favor of Scott McClellan. McClellan in turn stepped down in April 2006 in favor of former Fox News talk show host Tony Snow.
Hughes, a longtime political "guru" for Bush, left the post of counsel in 2002, and rejoined the administration in September 2005 as of Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. See the rest of this site for more information on Hughes.
See the rest of this site for more information on Gonzales, who became John Ashcroft's successor as Attorney General during Bush's second term.
Bush names New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. Whitman is widely, and incorrectly, viewed as a "moderate" Republican mainly due to her tepid pro-choice stance and her whitewashed views on the environment. In reality, Whitman is as corporate-friendly as any other cabinet member, though she will find most of the cabinet even farther to the right than she is, and sometimes comes in conflict with the more radical members of the administration. In 1972 she worked for the Office of Economic Opportunity when Donald Rumsfeld was its director and Dick Cheney his deputy. The OEO was created to help implement Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society;" Rumsfeld and Cheney worked tirelessly to reverse the program. (Cheney was chosen by Rumsfeld because of his experience at the University of Wisconsis in spying on SDS meetings and turning in professors for being unacceptably liberal.) She will resign her post in March 2003, and will be portrayed in the media as the only other moderate (with Colin Powell) in an administration loaded with radical right-wing Republicans. Supposedly Whitman will leave the administration in disgust over its failure to ratify the Kyoto protocols, its attacks on the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, and other environmental depredations. While there is some truth in this belief, Whitman is generally far more in line with administration policies than the media acknowledges. Whitman's tenure at the EPA is as corporate-friendly, and as environmentally threatening, as Bush could have desired.
Two days after the 9/11 attacks, Whitman will go to "Ground Zero" and tell New Yorkers that their air and water are completely free of any toxins from the strikes, a patent and demonstrable lie. Area workers will go back into the area reassured by Whitman's words and her subsequent statement on September 18 that New York City was clean. Her statements will be based on a very few, very preliminary tests characterized by the EPA's chief investigator, Hugh Kaufman, as statistically "no data at all." Veteran EPA hazardous-waste expert Cate Jenkins will say that the EPA deliberately refused to conduct proper tests. Jenkins is aware that, at a minimum, the area would be heavily contaminated with asbestos. She will say, "EPA did take measurements. All of their filters were clogged [with contaminents]. It was so heavily contaminated, we could not even get a reading in the laboratory, so we knew it was bad even from the preliminary tests." Instead of issuing hazard warnings, Whitman pushed the EPA into violating its own procedures and ignoring its own test results by announcing the all-clear. Whitman will directly follow orders from the White House. She will memo her staff after the attacks, "All statements to the media should be cleared through the National Security Council before they are released." The EPA's own investigator-general will find that the White House altered reports from EPA scientists to falsely tout the safety of the area. One report stating that asbestos was three times normal levels is changed to say that asbestos levels are only "slightly above the 1% trigger for defining asbestos material."
OSHA's statement of September 16 that it was safe for workers to return to the financial district was written by White House officials. Jenkins will note that the EPA's statement about the 1% trigger is "totally untrue." She will say of a case she worked in California with similarly high asbestos releases, "They didn't take tests to prove it was safe or unsafe. They just evacuated everyone in a five-mile radius." Whitman will later insist that she had not been pressured by the White House to lie about the Ground Zero tests, but it is known that several EPA officials will be in direct conflict with Whitman about the false statements. "Whitman misled the public," says New York representative Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat. Nadler and Senator Hillary Clinton will call for investigations, a request that will be ignored by the White House. Robert Martin, the EPA ombudsman, will say, "I decided her representation to the people of New York was simply wrong, and if it was the last thing I did, I would bring that out to light. It was the last thing I did." Whitman will fire Martin shortly thereafter. Subsequent tests of Hudson River runoff shows tremendously toxic levels of asbestos, dioxin, PCBs, and heavy metals. A US Geological Survey team will find that dust from the site is as caustic as drain cleaner. The USGS will inform the EPA of its findings, but the EPA will refuse to release the results. Pollution in the air near Ground Zero will be worse than in Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf War oil fires.
Kaufman later says of Whitman, "The press has taken it easy on Whitman. They like to talk about her as a liberal because of her stand on abortion. But on the environment, she's one of them. ...She's a piece of work." Like so many other Bush administration figures, Whitman owns holdings in an oil company, Hunt Oil of Houston. The Todd family is a powerful presence in the New Jersey GOP; her father was chairman of the state GOP for 11 years, and her mother chaired the New Jersey Federation of Republican Women, and was a GOP national committee member for a decade. She keeps her family name, Todd, partly for political reasons, as the Todd family continues to be influential in the state and national GOP, as does the Schleys, her mother's family. Both families have been close to the Bush family for years. She is certainly not the outsider the media paints her as being. Under the first months of Whitman's tenure as New Jersey's governor, the state EPA's environmental budget was slashed by over 30%. She cut 738 jobs from the state Department of Environmental Protection, and cut the remaining workforce to a four-day work week. In the words of the New Jersey Environmental Foundation's Amy Goldsmith, Whitman transformed the NJDEP into a "welcome wagon" for businesses. Goldsmith says that Whitman is the perfect choice to to help Bush dismantle environmental protections, since Whitman did just that in New Jersey.
Under Whitman, the EPA will quickly move to overturn Clinton-era limits on arsenic in drinking water; Whitman advised Bush in his reversal of his campaign pledge to reduce arsenic levels as well as advised him in his refusal to ratify the Kyoto protocols on global warming. Whitman herself will revise the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to lift limits on mining companies' dumping of toxic effluent in rivers and streams. Whitman will never oppose the Bush adminstration's environmental policies, in contrast to the media portrayal of her tenure. Sometimes she will take issue with the administration's handling of a particular issue: for example, while she never opposed the administration's efforts to lift limits on arsenic in drinking water, she will call the way the administration handled the issue a public relations "disaster." According to the former head of EPA's regulatory enforcement, Eric Schaeffer, Whitman is "a Republican first and an environmentalist way, way down the list." The last major project for Whitman at the EPA is the release of the agency's 2003 draft "Report on the Environment," a document she will call a "comprehensive roadmap to ensure that all Americans have cleaner air, purer water, and better protected land."
Leaked EPA memos will prove that GOP politics shaped the report far more than facts and figures. With Whitman's complicity, White House officials will heavily edit and rewrite the draft to remove any mention of global temperature increases, and will attempt to replace citations from an NAS report demonstrating evidence of human contributions to global warming with an American Petroleum Institute report questioning the very existence of global warming. In the end, the report will contain no information at all on global warming. Many believe that the gutted report was the final straw for Whitman, who will resign shortly after its release. Not true. Her resignation will be prompted more by her relentless battles against environmentalists and problems within her department, along with upcoming reports blasting Whitman and EPA over their handling of the 9/11 environmental crisis. In addition, an Anniston, Alabama court verdict holding Monsanto, the chemical manufacturer, liable for dumping carcinogenic chemicals in local neighborhoods will be summarily reversed after Whitman receives a 45-minute "briefing" on the case. Monsanto's success in influencing Whitman to personally work to reverse the court's decision, and EPA's decision not to include the Anniston site as a Superfund priority, will make Whitman politically vulnerable. Additionally, in April 2003, Whitman will be charged with using EPA agents to provide personal security and run personal errands for her. When she leaves the EPA in June 2003, the number of officially designated smoggy days in the US is up by 32% and the completion of cleanup of Superfund toxic sites is down by 50%. (Laura Flanders)
After a somewhat stormy turn as head of the EPA, Whitman stepped down in June 2003 in favor of Michael Leavitt. Leavitt in turn left office (for the post heading the Department of Health and Human Services) in favor of Stephen Johnson in April 2005.
More information on Whitman is available throughout this site.
See the rest of this site for more information on Daniels.
Daniels resigned in favor of Joshua Bolton in June 2003. Bolton, when he became Bush's chief of staff, was replaced by Rob Portman in May 2006.
Lindsey will be asked to resign in 2002 after Bush's economic plan tanks. He will be replaced by Stephen Friedman, who in 2005 will chair the President's Foreign Advisory Board, replacing Bush father's friend Brent Scowcroft, who has fallen out of favor with Bush for opposing the occupation of Iraq. See the rest of this site for more information on Lindsey.
The Web site TPM Muckraker has compiled a huge and ever-growing list of Bush administration officials who have brought scandal and, at times, criminal behavior to their offices. Here is the list, copied almost verbatim from the site. Expect more names to be added in the future.