Barack Obama’s appointment of dozens of “czars” to vaguely defined assignments with unspecified authority using unpublished budgets and secret levels of authority is “destabilizing to the rule of law and sound constitutional government,” according to a new comprehensive report on the president’s popular maneuver to prevent congressional oversight.
In fact, Obama has turned back several suggestions that officers of the nation who wield significant power should comply with the Constitution’s provision that such officers be appointed by the president “with the advice and consent of the Senate,” according to a newly released report called “President Obama’s Czars.”
It comes from Judicial Watch, the Washington-based government corruption fighter, whose president, Tom Fitton, has coordinated a concerted effort to uncover information about the nation’s “czars” and just exactly what they are doing.
“Barack Obama’s unconstitutional use of czars to help run his administration is at odds with republican, limited and accountable government,” the Judicial Watch analysis of the new report said today. “Obama has simply installed his radical leftist allies in various positions of power while thumbing his nose at Congress and the American people.”
The analysis continued, “As we document in this report, too many of these czars have proven to be corrupt or radicals (or sometimes both). No wonder the Obama administration fights tooth and nail to allow these czars to operate in secret.”
The report identified how easily Obama voids any attempt at transparency, including those efforts adopted by Congress and signed into law by the president himself.
A rider in a 2011 spending bill specifically ended funding for “certain highly controversial presidential advisor positions (climate change, the auto industry, health care, and urban affairs) was passed by both the House and Senate and signed by President Obama in April 2011.”
However, Obama simply followed with a signing statement “essentially stating ‘he will continue to employ advisers as he sees fit,'” Judicial Watch reported.
Obama already has appointed, or had appointed, a total of 45 czars, the report said.
“In addition, there are as many as 18 other unfilled or planned czar positions,” the report said. “Many of these ‘czars’ are unconfirmed by the Senate and are largely unaccountable to Congress. Further, their activities are often outside the reach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), creating a veil of secrecy about their precise role in the administration.”
The report noted four problems with the “czars” of Washington, the constitutionality of their appointments, the circumvention of Senate oversight in the appointments, the political snubbing of the Senate, and the resulting lack of transparency.
Even the late Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., had concerns about Obama’s actions, noting at one point, “The rapid and easy accumulation of power by White House staff can threaten the constitutional system of checks of balances … At the worst, White House staff has taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.”
The study looked at the following czars, past and present:
- U.S. Border Czar: Alan Bersin
- Medicare/Healthcare Czar: Dr. Donald Berwick
- Manufacturing Czar: Ron Bloom
- Electronic Health Records Czar: Dr. David Blumenthal
- Terrorism Czar: John Brennan
- Energy and Climate Change Czar: Carol Browner
- Weapons Czar: Ashton Carter
- Technology Czar: Aneesh Chopra
- Intelligence Czar: James Clapper
- AIDS Czar: Jeffrey Crowley
- Great Lakes Czar: Cameron Davis
- Tobacco Czar: Lawrence Deyton
- Stimulus Czar: Earl Devaney
- Mideast Policy/Central Region/Iran Czar: Philo Dibble
- Faith-based Czar: Joshua Dubois
- IP Enforcement Czar: Victoria Espinel
- Workplace Czar: Chai Feldblum
- Guantanamo Closure Czar: Danny Fried
- Asian Carp Czar: John Goss
- Sudan Czar: J. Scott Gration
- Afghanistan Czar: Marc Grossman
- California Water Czar: David J. Hayes
- Science Czar: John Holdren
- Jobs Czar: Jeffrey Immelt
- Special Advisor Czar: Valerie Jarrett
- Safe Schools Czar: Kevin Jennings
- Healthy Foods Czar: Sam Kass
- Drug Czar: Richard Gil Kerlikowske
- Information Technology Czar: Vivek Kundra
- Diversity Czar: Mark Lloyd
- War Czar: Lt. General Douglas Lute
- Oil Czar: Ray Mabus
- TARP Czar: Timothy Massad
- Middle-East Peace Czar: George J. Mitchell, Jr.
- Domestic Violence Czar: Lynn Rosenthal
- WMD Czar: Gary Samore
- Cybersecurity Czar: Howard Schmidt
- Economic Policy Czar: Gene Sperling .
- Climate Czar: Todd Stern
- Regulatory Czar: Cass Sunstein
- Food Safety Czar: Michael Taylor
- Native American Affairs Czar: Kimberley Teehee
- Latin American Czar: Arturo Valenzuela
- Consumer Czar: Elizabeth Warren
- Performance Czar: Jeffrey Zients
Several have been involved in especially controversial situations, including Diversity Czar Mark Lloyd, who said about Hugo Chavez: “The property owners and the folks who then controlled the media
in Venezuela rebelled – worked, frankly, with folks here in the
U.S. government – worked to oust him… But he came back with
another revolution, and then Chavez began to take very seriously
the media in his country.”
And, the report said, Medicare/Healthcare Czar Dr. Donald Berwick notoriously said, “Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized, and
humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us
to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is, by
Then there was Science Czar John Holdren, who co-authored a 1977 textbook that espouses “fewer people” in the world. It considers possible plans to implement population control, including forced abortions, involuntary sterilizations, and other “coercive proposals [that] deserve discussion.”
Judicial Watch said it repeatedly has filed Freedom of Information Act lawsuits over the details of the czars.
“While Article II Section I of the U.S. Constitution authorizes the executive order as a means of ensuring effective operation of the government, the vague responsibilities bestowed upon many of these czars are confusing lines of authority in government. Furthermore, many of Obama’s political operatives are usurping power from statutory officers. Such instances constitute a circumvention of constitutional oversight,” the report said.