The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Pay No Attention to Those Political Appointees Behind the Curtain

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Recently, the Washington Examiner’s Paul Bedard informed readers that President’s Obama’s top political appointees make an average of $142,691 annually.  He notes this is more than three times the average American wage of $42,979.  In addition, those which work closest with the president make anywhere from $120,000 to $172,000, with the higher end being more than twice the average salary ($84,000) in the Washington metropolitan area.   Bedard suggests it is going to be pretty tough for President Obama to “whip up public anger against the sequester cuts and furloughs of federal workers” to the American public when his closet aides are doing pretty well financially.  One thing that Bedard does not mention in his column is that the administrations’ political appointees are not subject to a furlough at all. Bedard got his salary information from a recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of the administration’s 321 political appointees.   The title of the report is Characteristics of Presidential Appointments that do not Require Senate Confirmation and provides information on the various appointees, including a brief summary of their responsibilities and salary.  The GAO was required to do the study on the appointments because of a new law, the Presidential Appointment Efficiency and Streamlining Act of 2011.  The Act did away with the Senate having to vote on 163 executive nominations.  These positions were changed into presidentially-appointed positions that do not require  Senate confirmation. As a side note, Government Executive, a daily paper for federal government executives, points out that “agencies are supposed to turn to furloughs only as a last resort, and that some agencies already have said they will not have to furlough workers to meet the spending cuts mandated by sequestration.” The whole situation could provoke the careerists to oppose the White House’s Armageddon scenarios concerning the sequester.  If career bureaucrats put on their “daddy pants” and muster the courage to deviate from the company line on furloughs, expect taxpayers to be even more irritated with the president’s doomsday hysterics about the sequester.

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