Trump Installs Rejected Sleazeball Anthony Tata At Pentagon, No Senate Required!


Before 2017, there were about 12 people in America who knew about the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA). No one had to think about the Emoluments Clause, or the Hatch Act, the Logan Act, or any other provision of federal law circumscribing the conduct of the executive branch. Because it never occurred to any other president to break them! (Okay, George W. Bush violated the Hatch Act a time or two, back when he was still America's reigning worst president.)

But now we've all had to become experts on — or at least conversant with — obscure provisions of the federal code just to understand what the hell President Crime Spree is up to. Today he's up to evading the Senate's "advice and consent" prerogative for senior officials by gaming the FVRA to appoint that miserable bigot Anthony Tata to a high-level Defense Department position after the Senate refused to confirm him.

On Thursday the Senate Armed Services Committee canceled the hearing on Tata's nomination for undersecretary of Defense for policy, the third-highest civilian post at the Pentagon, just minutes before it was to begin. After CNN kicked up the retired general's tweets calling Barack Obama a "terrorist leader," describing Islam as the "most oppressive violent religion I know of," and inviting former CIA director John Brennan to "suck on your pistol," it was clear that he wasn't going to get confirmed. So committee Chair James Inhofe pulled the nomination, sparing Joni Ernst, Thom Tillis, David Perdue, and Martha McSally, all of whom sit on Foreign Affairs, the choice between pissing off Trump by voting against his guy, or giving a thumbs up to this gross turd.

But the White House had a Plan B at the ready, since most of the losers willing to enlist in Team Trump these days are not going to pass Senate muster. So Sunday they announced, "Mr. Tata withdrew from consideration before the Senate Armed Services Committee his nomination to be the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. He has been designated as the official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy." And thanks to the FVRA, that puts Tata in line to become undersecretary for Defense policy, the very position for which the Senate just refused to confirm him, before Election Day. What a coincidence!

As constitutional law professor Steve Vladeck points out, here's the relevant provision:

[A] person may not serve as an acting officer for an office under this section, if—

(A)during the 365-day period preceding the date of the death, resignation, or beginning of inability to serve, such person—

(i)did not serve in the position of first assistant to the office of such officer; or

(ii)served in the position of first assistant to the office of such officer for less than 90 days;

In plain English, if the president makes Tata the assistant to the deputy undersecretary for policy, then after 90 days Tata will become eligible to become the acting deputy undersecretary should the post become vacant. Which it will.

Bet those Senate Republicans will be BIG MAD about Trump giving them the finger again.

JK, LOL. Those craven sumbitches will put on their happy faces and say that actually the Constitution's Appointments Clause is more of a suggestion, really. Case in point, Chairman Inhofe.

"While I have always stressed the need to have Senate-confirmed leadership in top Pentagon positions, I believe it is within the President's authority to appoint DoD officials when and as appropriate," he enthused over the president's blatant evasion of the Senate's constitutional authority. "These are clearly critical positions within the Department where a full bench is needed."

Just not a "full bench" of competent people who are worthy of Senate confirmation.

This is fine dot gif.


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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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