Chalk up another casualty in the Obama administration’s attempts to staff federal agencies.
Jon Cannon, nominated to be the deputy director of the Environmental Protection Agency, pulled his name from consideration today, citing questions over a non-profit where he once sat on the board — and which EPA auditors accused in 2007 of mismanaging $25 million in taxpayer funds.
Cannon sat on the board of America’s Clean Water Foundation, which won some $25 million in federal contracts to identify environmental risks at beef, poultry and pork plants, and to help states and tribes comply with the Clean Water Act. EPA auditors questioned the accounting on almost all that money, charging that the group could not support some costs, included duplicate transactions on others, and did not complete several required audits. The IG report, which does not mention Cannon, also alludes to allegations of embezzlement in the foundation, which dissolved in 2006.
Senate Republicans apparently raised the report — which appears on the first screen of a Google search on the foundation’s name — in questioning Cannon, but they said Wednesday the questions would not have affected his nomination.
The bigger issue, for a young administration that has faced many questions on its vetting process, is whether Team Obama knew about the report, and if so, how much it cared about it.
Remember: These are the folks who derided the vetting process that gave us Sarah Palin as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee. Their own multiple and chronic vetting problems make Team Obama’s past smugness over the vetting issue laughable.