Imagine the total media firestorm George W. Bush would have been – or Donald Trump would be in now – if they had requested their staff put together an exclusive list of white Christians for top Executive Branch positions. Imagine an oil company or a Fortune 50 company doing the same.
Be honest, not only would the full force of the mainstream media come down on Bush, Trump or that evil oil company, the Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice (DOJ) would be rushing to publicly hang every single individual involved. They would be going for complete personal and financial destruction and publicly discuss prison time.
They would get more than their pound of flesh, but if Barack H. Obama asked for a list of Muslims and Asians for top administration jobs, what do we get?
The co-chairs of the Obama transition team in 2008 were John Podesta, Valerie Jarret and Peter Rouse. Recently, WikiLeaks has provided some insight into the inner-workings of the transition team. Gayle E. Smith is listed as one of the National Security Team Leads for the transition, and she – along with Podesta and Michael Froman – received an email from Preeta D. Bansal with the subject Asian American Candidates, Muslim American Candidates.
Smith is currently the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Smith has worked for years in various positions in the Clinton and Obama administrations, and she was a “working group chair” for the Clinton Global Initiative prior to working in the Obama administration.
Michael Froman was a classmate of Obama’s at Harvard Law, and an advisor during his US Senate campaign and a member of the 2008 transition team. He worked in the administration and is currently the United States Trade Representative. Bansal first sent the email to Froman, and then she immediately sent the email to Podesta and Smith. Smith then forwarded it to Podesta again.
Bansal – who happened to go to Harvard and was a supervising editor at the Harvard Law Review in the late 1980s – ended up working in the Clinton Administration DOJ in the mid-90s. More on her professional background here. She’s not listed as part of the Obama transition team, but she ended up working as general counsel and senior policy adviser at the Office of Management and Budget for a couple of years.
During the transition, Bansal was a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, one of the top law firms in the United States. The email came from Bansal’s work email address so we can assume this was a professional request by the transition team.
What Bansal was tasked to do – presumably by Smith or one of the co-chairs – was to provide a list of “Asian American Candidates, [and] Muslim American Candidates” for top jobs in the administration.
Again, let that request sink in… Here is the email and attachments. This is the original part of the email, without the forwarding replies, but with my emphasis in bold.
Here are the compiled lists of Asian American and Muslim American candidates for top Administration jobs, sub-cabinet jobs, and outside boards/agencies/policy committees. A couple things to note about the list of Muslim American candidates:
- In the candidates for top jobs, I excluded those with some Arab American background but who are not Muslim (e.g., George Mitchell). Many Lebanese Americans, for example, are Christian. In the last list (of outside boards/commissions), most who are listed appear to be Muslim American, except that a handful (where noted) may be Arab American but of uncertain religion (esp. Christian).
- There is only one candidate I thought was a viable one for a Secretary-level job among the Muslim Americans. That said, on both lists, there are some very senior people listed in the last category (for outside boards/commissions) who conceivably could be considered for top jobs. The very senior people I put on the last list tended not to be terribly involved in politics or policy, or in the case of some Asian Americans, had already served in the Clinton and even Carter Administrations and so I thought we should seek new talent. But there’s no magic to some of the placements. I think the lists are fairly exhaustive, but some of the people may be moved to other categories.
- High-profile Muslim Americans tend to be the subject of a fair amount of blogger criticism, and so the individuals on this list would need to be ESPECIALLY carefully vetted. I suspect some of the people I list would not survive such a vet — but I do personally know, at least in part, virtually all of the candidates in the 1st two categories (but I know very few of those listed for outside boards/commissions).
- I listed the elected Muslim American democratic officials at the end of the second category, but for various reasons, I didn’t think any of them would necessarily be suitable for an Administration appointment. Nevertheless, I wanted to flag them for you in case you wanted to evaluate them further.
DOJ list will be coming in the next two days. Judges and USAttorneys will still take about 10 days. Let me know if the latter are needed sooner.
Preeta D. Bansal
The attachments (both MS Word documents) included one list of Asian Americans and one list of Muslim Americans.
I list and provide links to information about all of the parties involved since you are certain to see every single one of them involved in a Hillary Clinton transition team if she is elected president. These people most likely publicly condemn Republicans and conservatives for being racists and bigots, when all they seem to be able to see is the color of one’s skin or their religion. They are making hiring decisions based on race and religion.
I understand optics in politics, but to create lists that outright exclude qualified candidates based on their race or religion? Come now, you know this would be treated quite differently by everyone if the tables were turned. The same exact people I’ve listed in this post would be complaining on-air Sunday morning, writing op-ed pieces for the Times and demanding justice be served.
Hypocrites. Every one of them.