Intimidating a public servant washington
At a recent celebration of Ink’s career, the 93-year old, who served seven presidents from Eisenhower to Reagan, was asked by a participant to name his model public servant. But the threat of a massive breakdown in computers across the economy because they were not programmed to handle the transition to a new millennium was real, and could have precipitated disruption in arenas from banking to air travel, and cost many billions.Koskinen served in the federal government and as deputy mayor of Washington, D.American public-policy wonks have an informal honor roll of model public servants—people who may have gone in and out of government service, but who put country ahead of personal ambition or gain, who care about making government function well, and who are known for their decency and commitment to those goals.I have been privileged to know many of those on the honor roll, including well-known figures like Paul Volcker and Elliott Richardson, and less well-known ones like Chuck Bowsher, Elmer Staats, and Dwight Ink. I met him when he was the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, one of the key posts filled by those most knowledgeable about how government works and how to make it work better; he took on the role of managing the government’s response to the looming Y2K crisis—a mention of which these days brings quizzical looks, because America did not have a crisis, thanks to Koskinen.Under Chairman Jason Chaffetz, the members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee just voted on a party-line basis to censure Koskinen, and are moving to impeach him.
C.; his last post in the federal government, one he assumed at the request of the George W.Bush administration, was as interim CEO and non-executive chairman of Freddie Mac at the time of the housing crisis.And, like most other executive-branch nominees, he had to endure delays and a filibuster before being confirmed in December 2013.His reward: an irresponsible, unprecedented, and politically motivated attack from Republicans in the House.
Koskinen took it for the reasons that Dwight Ink (and the wonk community) prized when he singled out Koskinen for praise.
He did it to make government work better for the American people.