Janet Napolitano's henchman gets a new university gig after being fired for corruption

The rot in higher education is spreading, thanks to solidarity among former sisters in the Obama Cabinet, both of whom have landed cushy, high-paying jobs as university presidents.

Seth Grossman used to be the chief of staff for Janet Napolitano, staying with her when she moved from secretary of homeland security to president of the University of California system.  In that position, he became a fall guy after getting fired for corrupting a state audit of the various campuses of that sprawling public university.  I have written about that corruption several times and will here cite the explanation offered two days ago by Dan Walter, the Sacramento Bee columnist, widely regarded as the premier journalist covering California state government.

Let's say you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company that's under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission for accounting irregularities.

And let's say that when the SEC's investigators sought information from other executives at your company, you insisted that their responses be funneled through your office and altered to reflect more favorably on your leadership.

Finally, let's say that your manipulations were exposed. You probably would be fired by your board of directors for exposing the company to legal penalties and quite possibly prosecuted for interfering in an official investigation.

That brings us to the University of California and its president, Janet Napolitano, whose top aides [Grossman and his direct subordinate –T.L.] intervened when the state's auditor confidentially asked leaders of individual UC campuses about how she was handling certain finances.

As State Auditor Elaine Howle said in a report revealing that Napolitano's office had $175 million in undisclosed reserves:

"We found it particularly troublesome that the office of the president intentionally interfered in our efforts to assess the types and quality of services it provides to campuses. Correspondence between the office of the president and the campuses shows that the office of the president inappropriately reviewed campuses' survey responses, which resulted in campuses making changes to those responses prior to submitting them to us – campus statements that were critical of the office of the president had been removed or substantially revised, and negative ratings had been changed to be more positive."

Howle's bombshell generated a torrent of criticism from the Legislature, which had ordered the audit, and was eventually reflected in legislation making it an offense to interfere in a state audit.

Grossman was a perp whose behavior was so egregious that his conduct was made a crime after it was discovered.  This move was taken by the Democrat-dominated state legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.  No vast right-wing conspiracy involved at all.  Even progressive Democrats were outraged.

In the corporate world, Napolitano and her two stooges would be radioactive, even if they escaped prison.  But in higher education, a little hanky-panky with hiding $175 million from the board of directors (the regents of the University of California) and intervening in an audit to prevent bad news from reaching them seems to be a job qualification, at least when it comes to another Obama Cabinet member who leads a university.  Grossman is a stand-up guy, after all, and he's made his bones by taking the heat off his boss.

His new boss, who found such a hatchet man an attractive proposition, is Sylvia Burwell, former secretary of health and human services in the Obama Cabinet and now president of American University in Washington, D.C.

This should be a major scandal, and questions need to be asked to Burwell about the propriety of her latest executive hire.  At a minimum, the trustees of American University should be asked how they allowed this to happen.  What makes them think Grossman won't short-circuit reports on Burwell's performance or hide a slush fund from the trustees, as he did for Napolitano?  Some of them, like Gina F. Adams, are senior officials of public companies like FedEx.  Among them is Thomas Gottschalk, a lawyer at D.C. powerhouse law firm Kirkland & Ellis.  How does an officer of the court allow such a hire?

Breaking the story is the campus newspaper at A.U., not the Washington Post or any of the national media that congregate in D.C.  Haley Samsel writes in The Eagle at A.U.:

University President Sylvia Burwell is standing behind her choice for chief of staff, Seth Grossman, after he and a colleague were found to have interfered with a California state audit into the office of his previous boss, University of California President Janet Napolitano. Grossman is set to start at AU on Dec. 4.

Burwell originally announced the hire on Oct. 30 [well after Grossman's firing –T.L.] , citing Grossman's experience as a top official in the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration and then as chief of staff to Napolitano. Napolitano oversees the UC system, which includes 10 campuses and nearly 240,000 students.

Were I an alumnus, I would not donate a penny to an institution run by someone who recruits a corrupt chief of staff.  Corporate donors must be aware of this situation before they commit any funds to American University.

A.U. is a private university but still benefits from many forms of public funding, starting with tax exemptions and research funding and also including Pell Grants and many other sources of money.  It is travesty to hear of former Obama Cabinet members cum employees scratching each other's backs and making sure a fall guy doesn't remain bitterly unemployed, perhaps tempted to spill the beans on whatever else he has witnessed.

The pretensions of nobility in higher education mask an enormous, greedy industry that has pushed up its prices to the point where its customers are incurring ruinous debt in order to obtain products (diplomas) that they feel required to own in order to have a satisfying career.  The industry is run for the benefit of its insiders, not shareholders, but the nature of the greed underlying it is exactly the same.  Reform is long overdue.

The rot in higher education is spreading, thanks to solidarity among former sisters in the Obama Cabinet, both of whom have landed cushy, high-paying jobs as university presidents.

Seth Grossman used to be the chief of staff for Janet Napolitano, staying with her when she moved from secretary of homeland security to president of the University of California system.  In that position, he became a fall guy after getting fired for corrupting a state audit of the various campuses of that sprawling public university.  I have written about that corruption several times and will here cite the explanation offered two days ago by Dan Walter, the Sacramento Bee columnist, widely regarded as the premier journalist covering California state government.

Let's say you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company that's under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission for accounting irregularities.

And let's say that when the SEC's investigators sought information from other executives at your company, you insisted that their responses be funneled through your office and altered to reflect more favorably on your leadership.

Finally, let's say that your manipulations were exposed. You probably would be fired by your board of directors for exposing the company to legal penalties and quite possibly prosecuted for interfering in an official investigation.

That brings us to the University of California and its president, Janet Napolitano, whose top aides [Grossman and his direct subordinate –T.L.] intervened when the state's auditor confidentially asked leaders of individual UC campuses about how she was handling certain finances.

As State Auditor Elaine Howle said in a report revealing that Napolitano's office had $175 million in undisclosed reserves:

"We found it particularly troublesome that the office of the president intentionally interfered in our efforts to assess the types and quality of services it provides to campuses. Correspondence between the office of the president and the campuses shows that the office of the president inappropriately reviewed campuses' survey responses, which resulted in campuses making changes to those responses prior to submitting them to us – campus statements that were critical of the office of the president had been removed or substantially revised, and negative ratings had been changed to be more positive."

Howle's bombshell generated a torrent of criticism from the Legislature, which had ordered the audit, and was eventually reflected in legislation making it an offense to interfere in a state audit.

Grossman was a perp whose behavior was so egregious that his conduct was made a crime after it was discovered.  This move was taken by the Democrat-dominated state legislature and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.  No vast right-wing conspiracy involved at all.  Even progressive Democrats were outraged.

In the corporate world, Napolitano and her two stooges would be radioactive, even if they escaped prison.  But in higher education, a little hanky-panky with hiding $175 million from the board of directors (the regents of the University of California) and intervening in an audit to prevent bad news from reaching them seems to be a job qualification, at least when it comes to another Obama Cabinet member who leads a university.  Grossman is a stand-up guy, after all, and he's made his bones by taking the heat off his boss.

His new boss, who found such a hatchet man an attractive proposition, is Sylvia Burwell, former secretary of health and human services in the Obama Cabinet and now president of American University in Washington, D.C.

This should be a major scandal, and questions need to be asked to Burwell about the propriety of her latest executive hire.  At a minimum, the trustees of American University should be asked how they allowed this to happen.  What makes them think Grossman won't short-circuit reports on Burwell's performance or hide a slush fund from the trustees, as he did for Napolitano?  Some of them, like Gina F. Adams, are senior officials of public companies like FedEx.  Among them is Thomas Gottschalk, a lawyer at D.C. powerhouse law firm Kirkland & Ellis.  How does an officer of the court allow such a hire?

Breaking the story is the campus newspaper at A.U., not the Washington Post or any of the national media that congregate in D.C.  Haley Samsel writes in The Eagle at A.U.:

University President Sylvia Burwell is standing behind her choice for chief of staff, Seth Grossman, after he and a colleague were found to have interfered with a California state audit into the office of his previous boss, University of California President Janet Napolitano. Grossman is set to start at AU on Dec. 4.

Burwell originally announced the hire on Oct. 30 [well after Grossman's firing –T.L.] , citing Grossman's experience as a top official in the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration and then as chief of staff to Napolitano. Napolitano oversees the UC system, which includes 10 campuses and nearly 240,000 students.

Were I an alumnus, I would not donate a penny to an institution run by someone who recruits a corrupt chief of staff.  Corporate donors must be aware of this situation before they commit any funds to American University.

A.U. is a private university but still benefits from many forms of public funding, starting with tax exemptions and research funding and also including Pell Grants and many other sources of money.  It is travesty to hear of former Obama Cabinet members cum employees scratching each other's backs and making sure a fall guy doesn't remain bitterly unemployed, perhaps tempted to spill the beans on whatever else he has witnessed.

The pretensions of nobility in higher education mask an enormous, greedy industry that has pushed up its prices to the point where its customers are incurring ruinous debt in order to obtain products (diplomas) that they feel required to own in order to have a satisfying career.  The industry is run for the benefit of its insiders, not shareholders, but the nature of the greed underlying it is exactly the same.  Reform is long overdue.

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