Obama moves to fill top sub-cabinet openings


(Alex Brandon/AP)

On the diplomatic front, the slate included Democratic National Committee executive director, Patrick Gaspard , who will be the new ambo in South Africa. It had long been expected that Gaspard, a former White House political director, would get the coveted gig.

Also getting ambassadorial jobs were two major Obama donors: Miami lawyer Kirk Wagar to Singapore (as the Loop predicted) and Texas philanthropist Alexa Wesner to Austria.

Closer to home, Obama has also nominated renewable energy champion Ron Binz, a former Colorado utility regulator, to head the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Krysta Harden, chief of staff at the Department of Agriculture and before that assistant secretary for congressional relations, was nominated to be the department’s deputy secretary.

Alejandro Mayorkas, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and formerly a federal prosecutor in California, is the pick to be deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Robert Bonnie, a senior policy adviser at the Agriculture Department and before that a longtime official at the Environmental Defense Fund, got the nod to be the department’s undersecretary for natural resources and environment.

Steve Linick, inspector general at the Federal Housing and Finance Agency and former head of a procurement fraud task force at the Justice Department was nominated to be inspector general at the State Department — a job that has been without a confirmed IG since January 2008.

Yes, that’s right, not since the beginning of the last year of the Bush administration. Of course, these things take time.

Al Kamen, an award-winning columnist on the national staff of The Washington Post, created the “In the Loop” column in 1993.

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