Saturday, June 10, 2017

What did Donald Trump do today?

He saw yet another of his nominees caught lying about their credentials.

Trump nominated Joseph Otting this past Tuesday to the post of Comptroller of the Currency, one of the federal government's most important bank regulators.  Otting is a friend of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and--like Trump's failed Labor Secretary nominee--has had more professional experience defending himself for regulatory violations in his industry than enforcing them. 

Otting claims to have graduated from the School of Credit and Financial Management at Dartmouth College. Today, a spokesman for Dartmouth pointed out that not only is Otting not a graduate, but that Dartmouth has no such school.

The White House gave no indication that Otting's nomination would be withdrawn. Otting now joins a long list of Trump appointees who have lied about or fraudulently obtained credentials, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos (who plagiarized some of the answers she provided during the Senate confirmation process), failed National Security Council nominee Monica Crowley (who plagiarized large portions of her doctoral dissertation), national security analyst Sebastian Gorka (whose doctoral degree itself is bogus). There is also the interesting case of Trump supporter David Clarke, who is under investigation by the Naval Postgraduate School for plagiarism of his 2013 master's thesis--and who may even be lying about having been offered a job in the first place, although the White House has been oddly noncommittal on the subject.

Why is this bad?

  • It matters whether nominees to be powerful regulators of the financial system are caught lying about their qualifications.
  • Presidents who appoint cronies to these positions without doing basic vetting of their resumes are essentially saying the jobs don't matter.