Just a typical Obama appointee

President Obama's pick to oversee export controls at the Commerce Department, Eric Hirschhorn, seems a typical Obama appointee; well connected, smooth talking, a former lobbyist - and a guy with ethical problems:

Mr. Hirschhorn's financial disclosure form lists more than two dozen recent law clients, including railroad company Pan Am Systems Inc., telecommunications manufacturer TranSwitch Corp. and Philip Morris. But three clients in particular appear to have strong interests in activities at the Commerce Department.According to the ethics form, Mr. Hirschhorn provided legal services for the company previously known as DHL Holdings, a U.S.-based unit of the international shipping company. Last year, DHL agreed to pay $9.4 million to settle a federal investigation into shipments to Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Under the settlement, the company also agreed to comprehensive audits this year and next year in compliance with export laws to be sent for review to the Commerce Department.

Two other recent clients of Mr. Hirschhorn's are TLG Electronics and United Sources Industrial Enterprises, both of Hong Kong. They've been placed on the Commerce Department's "entity list" of companies subject to strict export licensing rules.

According to government records, both companies were put on the list because of suspected ties to Dubai-based Mayrow General Trading, a company that federal officials tied to manufactured parts found in improvised explosive devices (IEDs), roadside bombs used in Iraq.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke singled out Mayrow in a speech last fall on export controls, saying that through work with the United Arab Emirates, "we successfully targeted Mayrow General Trading, which was forwarding U.S.-made goods to Iran that ended up in bombs in Iraq."

Administration officials said Mr. Hirschhorn's work for TLG and United Source began after the companies were placed on the entity list.

Ed Lasky:

With the vast resources available to the US government, couldn't they do the same vetting job that a newspaper that has been gushing red ink does? In a world of lawyers , was there not a better candidate with "cleaner hands"?

Let me get this straight; Obama came into office pledging not to hire lobbyists. He then hires this Hirschhorn fellow - a lobbyist - who not only represented firms placed on our terrorist watch list of companies doing business with Iran, but did so after they were targeted?

It helps that Hirschhorn contributed personally or through his family to many Democrats - including Barack Obama. Rewarding friends - even if they break the law - seems to be a pattern with this administration.

Something we'll just have to put up with until Congress puts its foot down. Senator Shelby has had this guy's nomination on hold for a while but it he can't do so forever. And the president is in no hurry to withdraw Hirschhorn's nomination.

In the end, he will probably be confirmed. And one more Obama appointee who appears to be ethically challenged will take their place in the most honest and transparent administration in history.




President Obama's pick to oversee export controls at the Commerce Department, Eric Hirschhorn, seems a typical Obama appointee; well connected, smooth talking, a former lobbyist - and a guy with ethical problems:

Mr. Hirschhorn's financial disclosure form lists more than two dozen recent law clients, including railroad company Pan Am Systems Inc., telecommunications manufacturer TranSwitch Corp. and Philip Morris. But three clients in particular appear to have strong interests in activities at the Commerce Department.

According to the ethics form, Mr. Hirschhorn provided legal services for the company previously known as DHL Holdings, a U.S.-based unit of the international shipping company. Last year, DHL agreed to pay $9.4 million to settle a federal investigation into shipments to Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Under the settlement, the company also agreed to comprehensive audits this year and next year in compliance with export laws to be sent for review to the Commerce Department.

Two other recent clients of Mr. Hirschhorn's are TLG Electronics and United Sources Industrial Enterprises, both of Hong Kong. They've been placed on the Commerce Department's "entity list" of companies subject to strict export licensing rules.

According to government records, both companies were put on the list because of suspected ties to Dubai-based Mayrow General Trading, a company that federal officials tied to manufactured parts found in improvised explosive devices (IEDs), roadside bombs used in Iraq.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke singled out Mayrow in a speech last fall on export controls, saying that through work with the United Arab Emirates, "we successfully targeted Mayrow General Trading, which was forwarding U.S.-made goods to Iran that ended up in bombs in Iraq."

Administration officials said Mr. Hirschhorn's work for TLG and United Source began after the companies were placed on the entity list.

Ed Lasky:

With the vast resources available to the US government, couldn't they do the same vetting job that a newspaper that has been gushing red ink does? In a world of lawyers , was there not a better candidate with "cleaner hands"?

Let me get this straight; Obama came into office pledging not to hire lobbyists. He then hires this Hirschhorn fellow - a lobbyist - who not only represented firms placed on our terrorist watch list of companies doing business with Iran, but did so after they were targeted?

It helps that Hirschhorn contributed personally or through his family to many Democrats - including Barack Obama. Rewarding friends - even if they break the law - seems to be a pattern with this administration.

Something we'll just have to put up with until Congress puts its foot down. Senator Shelby has had this guy's nomination on hold for a while but it he can't do so forever. And the president is in no hurry to withdraw Hirschhorn's nomination.

In the end, he will probably be confirmed. And one more Obama appointee who appears to be ethically challenged will take their place in the most honest and transparent administration in history.




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