The Compleat List of Obama Czars
Bypassing the authority of Congress, Barack Obama rules through czars — the beginnings of dictatorship:
1. Herbert Allison Jr., bailout czar, [replaced Bush bailout czar Neel Kashkari, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Stability confirmed by Senate]
2. Alan Bersin, border czar
3. Dennis Blair, intelligence czar [Director of National Intelligence, a Senate confirmed position]
4. John Brennan, counterterrorism czar
5. Carol Browner, energy czar
6. Adolfo Carrion, urban affairs czar
7. Ashton Carter, weapons czar [actually Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics and so subject to Senate confirmation]
8. Aneesh Chopra, technology czar
9. Jeffrey Crowley, [openly gay white man] AIDS czar
10. Cameron Davis, Great Lakes czar
11. Nancy-Ann DeParle, health czar
12. Earl Devaney, stimulus oversight czar
13. Joshua DuBois, religion czar, aka God czar
14. Arne Duncan, education czar
15. Kenneth Feinberg, pay czar
16. Daniel Fried, Guantanamo closure czar
17. J. Scott Gration, Sudan czar
18. Melissa Hathaway, [soon to be] cybersecurity czar
19. David J. Hayes, water czar [a Deputy Interior Secretary and therefore subject to Senate oversight]
20. Richard Holbrooke, Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) czar
21. John Holdren, science czar
22. Kevin Jennings, safe schools czar [nominated to be Assistant Deputy Secretary of Education, Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools, a newly created post; openly gay founder of an organization dedicated to promoting pro-homosexual clubs and curricula in public schools]
23. Van Jones, green jobs czar
24. Gil Kerlikowske, drug czar
25. Ron Kirk, trade czar
27. Douglas Lute, war czar [retained from Bush administration, married to Jane Holl Lute, currently a Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security]
28. George Mitchell, Mideast peace czar
29. Ed Montgomery, car czar [replacing Steve Rattner, who stepped down amid controversy over his former firm’s role in a possible kickback scandal]
30. Lynn Rosenthal, domestic violence czar
31. Dennis Ross, Mideast policy czar
32. Gary Samore, weapons of mass destruction czar
33. Todd Stern, climate change czar
34. Cass Sunstein, regulatory czar
35. Larry Summers, economic czar
36. Michael Taylor, food czar
37. Arturo Valenzuela, Latin-American czar (nominee) [although this post is referred to as a czar, he is nominated to be Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and so is subject to Senate confirmation]
38. Paul Volcker, economic czar number two
39. Elizabeth Warren, TARP czar [chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Trouble Assets Relief Program; note that Herb Allison is more frequently called the TARP czar]
40. Jeffrey Zients, government performance czar [replaced original nominee Nancy Killefer who withdrew her name after issues with her personal income tax filings surfaced]
Positions established but not yet filled:
41. behavioral science czar
42. copyright czar
Positions being planned:
1. income redistribution czar
2. land-use czar
3. consumer financial protection czar, aka mortgage czar (source)
4. radio-internet fairness czar
5. student loan czar, to oversee a program of mandatory service in return for college money (source)
6. voter list czar
7. zoning czar
Obama has moved swiftly to concentrate power in the White House, bypassing the review of our elected representatives in Congress in most of the posts listed above. Even though cabinet positions are part of the executive branch, the cabinet secretaries must be approved by Congress, they are funded by Congress, and they can be called before Congress to testify. Most of these czars, on the other hand, are appointed by Obama at his sole discretion, and are answerable only to him. If subpoenaed by Congress, they can claim executive privilege.
Right after the election last November, Lowell Ponte of NewsMax published a tongue-in-cheek article that purported to be written eight years in the future, looking back on the Obama administration. Given the administration’s current initiatives, the ominous prognostication seems frighteningly likely:
Looking back from 2016 on eight strange years of President Barack Obama’s administration, we see that it has been nothing like what idealists believed they were electing in 2008.
The Obama years will be remembered in the Ministry of Truth’s official history as the era of 1,000 czars, the elitist commissars he gave the power to rule by fiat in every sector of America’s government, economy, and society…. And through their partisan power, Barack Obama became America’s permanent caesar.
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[This article is an update of our earlier post — Obama’s Imperial Court. It was created specifically to serve as a current reference list of czars with news links, since we have not found such a research tool readily available.]
Concord Monitor — Obama and his 32 czars
“The biggest problems that we’re facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that’s what I intend to reverse when I’m president of the United States.”
– Senator Barack Obama, March 31, 2008
To say President Obama failed to follow through on this promise is an understatement. By appointing a virtual army of “czars” — each wholly unaccountable to Congress yet tasked with spearheading major policy efforts for the White House — the president has made an end-run around the legislative branch of historic proportions… Vesting such broad authority in the hands of people not subjected to Senate confirmation and congressional oversight poses a grave threat to our system of checks and balances.
NewsFlavor — The Obama “Czars”
These Czars are well paid, earning between $158,500 and $172,200, and using just the lower level of $158,500, this calculates to $5,072,000 annually… These Czars are designing policies in our country, and are neither subject to congressional approval or oversight. They do what they want, when they want, and the public through its elected representatives have no recourse.
WorldNetDaily — Obama’s radical, anti-American czars
Among Barack Obama’s 34 unaccountable “czars” are at least two whose radical roots and extremist views should disqualify them from service in government at any level -– let alone as top advisers to the president… John Holdren, his pick as top science adviser, is a population-control zealot who believes the Constitution justifies compulsory abortions on a massive worldwide scale. So much for the notion that radical abortion politics is ultimately about “choice.” … Van Jones, the special environmental adviser to the White House, has an equally checkered past deep-rooted in radical politics, including black nationalism, anarchism and communism.
The Daily Beast — Get to Know Obama’s Czars
… maybe he just likes delegating, but President Obama has been appointing czars at a furious rate since taking office… … the czar-ness of various executive branch positions is somewhat ambiguous (one man’s czar is another man’s special assistant to the president)…
NoisyRoom — Obama’s Czars Listing UPDATED
Note from ADMC: While this list contains some inaccuracies, it has something none of the other sources offered — a comprehensive list of duties associated with each position. Terrific piece of research by Terresa Monroe-Hamilton. (UPDATE 8/3/09, late evening: All inaccuracies have been corrected.)
IMAO — Czar Czar Galore
The Obama Administration is not the first administration to appoint someone with broad powers to oversee a function. You know. A “czar.” Previously, we’ve had Drug Czars, Energy Czars, and so on. But, Barack Obama has gone Czar crazy.
The Business Insider — Obama’s Czars: The Men Behind The Crown
UPDATE: Some clarification is needed about the “car czar.” In mid-February, Obama created the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, officially led by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers (”economic czar”). In practice, Wall Street hedge fund mogul and auto industry insider Steve Rattner was brought to Washington to spearhead operations — his official title was Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury — and he was dubbed the “car czar” by the media.
Rattner orchestrated the amazingly fast restructuring of Chrysler and General Motors, but his brief service was plagued by unresolved allegations of his involvement in the New York State retirement fund kickback scandal, exacerbated by the fact that he was building a $15 million summer home on Martha’s Vineyard as many Americans were losing their primary homes to foreclosure.
Ron Bloom, formerly a Wall Street investment banker who was familiar with the auto industry from serving as advisor to the United Steel Workers Union, was already working alongside Rattner on the task force. When Rattner left, Ron Bloom stepped into the job of Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury vacated by Rattner, leading many to call him the new car czar.
But the “heavy lifting” of the task force had already been done in the restructuring of the car manufacturers, and the emphasis now shifted to the recovery of the auto industry. That is the responsibility of Ed Montgomery, whose official title is Director of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. And unlike Rattner, who nominally reported to a Cabinet Secretary subject to Congressional review, Montgomery is a true “czar” who reports directly to the President, is not subject to vetting, and enjoys executive privilege.
We could resolve this ambiguity in the “czar list” as follows:
- Ron Bloom, car czar
- Ed Montgomery, auto recovery czar
but we may not hear a lot about Ron Bloom going forward, while the work of Montgomery will remain in focus. Bottom line: Ron Bloom got Steve Rattner’s actual job, but Ed Montgomery inherited the media mantle of “car czar.”
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