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January 23, 2009 01:22 AM UTC

Senator Salazar gets some love at Interior

  • by: DavidThi808

from TPM

A reader checks in from Interior:

Just wanted to let you guys know that there was an all-hands meeting with the new Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, at 11am today.

The bullet points are:

– Ethical misconduct and criminal acts by Bush political appoints spoiled image of department.

– We want to be held to the highest standards of ethics and accountability.

– We will respect the scientific process

– There is the possibility that we will form a basketball team and take on the White House. Though Sec. Salazar noted that he has to be careful, as he “serves at the pleasure of the president.”

Secretary Salazar was extremely well received, with a fairly open Q&A session following his speech. My first impression of him is that he seems to be a highly qualified, and a genuinely nice guy to boot. He also seems to have brought with a group of extremely qualified people. I’ll wait and see, as always. It was a really heartening meeting though; everyone seems very excited. It feels like a return to rational governance.


8 thoughts on “Senator Salazar gets some love at Interior

  1. Will Ken be wearing his cowboy hat on the court? If so, I want to see that game.

    “Salazar in the paint, he drives to the rim… and dunks it over Obama’s head! AND THE HAT STAYS ON! THE HAT STAYS ON!”

    1. Gale is an honest and smart person, but I get the impression that she didn’t get to select the people who got Interior in trouble.

      And I suspect that while she was the secretary, the people who got the department into trouble actually ran it.

      The same might  happen to Salazar. But he apparently got to bring one  of his own people in Strickland. If he gets to hire his political appointees instead having them handed to him for political reasons, he’ll have a better chance to clean the place up.

      If the environmentalists and other crazies dictate staffing, he’ll have some of the same problems Norton had.

      1. I get the impression that she didn’t get to select the people who got Interior in trouble.

        The people that got in trouble were her closest political allies for years. The “non-profit” entity that Abramoff laundered a quarter million dollars through to buy access to Norton at Interior was a non-profit founded by Gale Norton.

        Italia Federici was Norton’s political flack, who Norton picked to run that non-profit (which was an corporate astroturf front). Federici was Stephen Griles’ girlfriend. Griles was Norton’s deputy secretary of the department. They are both as close to Norton as you can get, and they are both now convicted felons in the Jack Abramoff scandal soup.

        Once again, you haven’t a clue what you are talking about. But don’t let that stop you….

        1. From E&E (subscription)

          Coloradans dominate Salazar’s senior staff

          The senior staff at Interior will have a Colorado flair, as the new secretary is bringing along several former staff members and other residents of the Centennial State.

          Salazar introduced Tom Strickland as his new chief of staff. A former U.S. attorney in Colorado, Strickland unsuccessfully ran in Colorado as the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in both 1996 and 2002.

          Steve Black will serve as Salazar’s counselor for energy.

          …Renee Stone will serve as Salazar’s deputy chief of staff.

          …Laura Davis will become chief of staff for the deputy Interior secretary. She formerly served as deputy chief of staff for Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).

          …Ray Rivera will serve as head of government affairs and external relations, working with governors, attorneys general and tribes, Salazar said. Rivera headed Obama’s Colorado state campaign.

          …Brian Screnar will serve as Salazar’s White House liaison.

          …Ken Lane is working as Salazar’s counselor, having served as chief of staff and then as senior counsel to Salazar while in the Senate.

          …Matt Lee-Ashley, who was communications director in Salazar’s Senate office, is now acting director of communications at Interior.

          Looks like Salazar did pick his senior staff, but don’t let facts get in the way of rampant speculation…

          Unlike the corporate raiders that dominated the Bush Interior Dept, at least the ‘environmentalists and other crazies’ won’t be selling off the public domain to their corporate sugar daddies.  

          Norton was a nightmare, who promptly went spinning through the door to Shell Oil upon her departure.  Griles went to prison.  Rebecca Watson–undersecretary in charge of BLM–went off to a white-shoe law firm where she immediately began representing the companies that want to drill Roan Plateau, the plan she had been working on a couple of months before.  

          Dirk Kempthorne, the DOI secretary under whose watch the whole ‘sex and drugs for oil leases’ scandal blew spent nearly a quarter of a million remodeling his office bathroom on H Street NW, months before his departure, including installing a refrigerator (yes, in the bathroom).  For his departure he treated tortured the staff at Interior with a 600-slide powerpoint of himself.  

          One “longtime employee” groaned, “Slide after slide after slide. It was special. That’s all I should say.”


    2. instead of reporting actual news, some guy was complaining that Ken’s hat looks too new.  Maybe if his hat was trampled it would help his image.  Also, a good story.  Check out the Presidential Footprint on his hat, it would end up in the Smithsonian with that label.

      Definitely less dramatic though.

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