The Progress Report heralded the conclusion of the Bush 43 presidency with their list of candidates for the top 43 worst Bush appointees. We note that the list includes a number of appointees who contributed to the Bush administration’s reputation for abuse of scientific integrity.
Following Vice-President Cheney, a hands down choice at #1 in Progress Report’s list of the 43 worst Bush appointees:
In the #8 spot is:
Stephen Johnson—The “Alberto Gonzales of the environment,” EPA Administrator Johnson subverted the agency’s mission at the behest of the White House and corporate interests, suppressing staff recommendations on pesticides, mercury, lead paint, smog, and global warming.
In the #24 spot is:
Gale Norton—A former industry lobbyist and Bush’s first Secretary of the Interior, Norton pushed a radical ideological agenda “through regulatory rollbacks, suppression of science, preferential treatment, and collusion with industry”—including doctoring scientific findings on the impacts of oil drilling on caribou. After resigning under the cloud of ties to Jack Abramoff, she joined Shell Oil.
Julie MacDonald—A top Interior Department appointee, MacDonald “interjected herself personally and profoundly” and “tainted nearly every decision made on the protection of endangered species” over a five-year period, intimidating the staff with “abrupt and abrasive, if not abusive” tactics. MacDonald also leaked government documents to a young acquaintance whom she met while playing “internet role-playing games.”
#33 (we know the competition is tough in this group, but we might have moved him up a few notches) is:
James Connaughton—As chairman of the White House Council of Environmental Quality, Connaughton wrote EPA press releases downplaying the danger of the air quality in lower Manhattan following 9/11. “A former lobbyist for utilities, mining, chemical, and other industrial polluters,” Connaughton insisted “there’s a lot of disagreement” about humans’ impact on global warming, and he touted a bogus study purporting to show that the 20th century was not unusually warm.
Also see our post: Jason Burnett confirms that Cheney’s office and CEQ censored CDC director Gerberding’s testimony
And, in the #38 position, just behind Christopher Cox and Elliott Abrams and edging out Colin Powell and Elaine Chao, we find:
Philip Cooney—A former oil lobbyist who served as chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Cooney doctored climate reports to “soften” words and phrases linking greenhouse gas emissions to global warming. After his political interference was revealed, Cooney left the White House to work for ExxonMobil.
Also see, among others, our post: House Oversight report on administration political interference with climate change science
And finally, just making the list at #43, beating out Bush appointees who didn’t quite make the list, including a child pornography aficionado, a patron of hookers, a shoplifter, a mail fraudster, an operator of an illegal horse gambling ring, and a CIA official who took bribes in the form of prostitutes:
George Deutsch—As a young, inexperienced press officer for NASA, Deutsch “told public affairs workers to limit reporters’ access to a top climate scientist [James Hansen] and told a Web designer to add the word ‘theory’ at every mention of the Big Bang.” He resigned in 2006 after it was discovered he had lied on his resume, falsely claiming that he had a journalism degree from Texas A&M.
While moving forward, let’s not forget recent history, and the need, unmet in far too many cases, to hold government officials accountable when they abuse their power.