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The Washington Post reports that the “Obama transition team yesterday rolled out a new list of officials who will help guide the process, singling out the Treasury, Defense and State departments as its first three areas of focus.”
At the helm of the Treasury Department transition team are Josh Gotbaum, an adviser to investment funds who held various Senate-confirmed positions during the Clinton administration, and Michael Warren, chief operating officer of Stonebridge International LLC.
Heading the State team are two veterans of the Democratic foreign policy establishment, both intimately familiar with the people and machinery at Foggy Bottom. Both Thomas E. Donilon, a partner at O’Melveny & Myers, and Wendy R. Sherman, a business partner of former secretary of state Madeleine Albright, had senior positions in the Clinton-era State Department.
A few other items about Sherman. “From April 1996 until July 1997, she was President and CEO of the Fannie Mae Foundation and a member of the operating committee of Fannie Mae,” says her bio. “At the Foundation, she set in place the groundwork for the newly recreated foundation developed to promote home ownership.” At the Albright Group, she was a door opener for American companies looking to do business abroad. “She leverages her experience as a senior-level diplomat and her expertise in foreign relations to help clients – including businesses and nongovernmental organizations – locate partnership opportunities, gain competitive advantage in the marketplace, and resolve regulatory and political disputes throughout the world,” her bio there said.
Stonebridge International, where Warren is COO, has the same business model. I’ve written about Stonebridge, in an article discussed here.
These are standard members of the permanent government. They work for the government, revolve out to the private sector when their party loses office, and revolve back in when their side wins again. Business consultancies like Albright’s and Stonebridge are pretty much indistinguishable from similar companies run by Republican foreign policy gurus (such as Al Haig and Brent Scowcroft). The people who operate them aren’t technically lobbyists, but they end up being strong advocates for the countries where they do business.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
In Havana, the past year has been marked by a parade of bold-faced names from the north — John Kerry reopening the United States Embassy; Andrew Cuomo bringing a delegation of American business leaders; celebrities ranging from Joe Torre, traveling on behalf of Major League Baseball to oversee an exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team, to Jimmy Buffett, said to be considering opening one of his Margaritaville restaurants there. All this culminated with a three-day trip in March by Barack Obama, the first American president to visit Cuba since Calvin Coolidge in 1928. But to those who know the city well, perhaps nothing said as much about the transformation of political relations between the United States and Cuba that began in December 2014 as a concert in the Tribuna Antiimperialista.
Chances that a Republican man believes that “poor people have hard lives”:
A school in South Korea was planning to deploy a robot to protect students from unwanted seductions.
Nuremberg’s Neues Museum filed a criminal complaint against a 91-year-old woman who completed a crossword puzzle that was in fact a $116,000 piece of avant-garde Danish art.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”