President Donald Trump embracing cronyism has caused him to nominate Gordon Hartogensis, the brother-in-law of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, despite his lack of crucial experience, to lead the government organization which oversees millions of pensions.
The White House officially announced Hartogensis’s nomination for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) director.
The White House failed to uncover the familial relationships Hartogensis had with McConnell and Chao during the announcement. Hartogensis married Grace, Chao’s sister.
Hartogensis’s White House release bio and his profile on LinkedIn state he has worked with retirement and pensions. He definitely does not have the experience to head an organization as large as the PBGC.
The agency supervises and protects retirement incomes for almost 40 million Americans. It’s responsibility is to maintain private pension plans and help retirees relying on them.
In Hartogensis’ current and most recent job, he “managed a portfolio” of his relatives’ assets for the Hartogensis Family Trust. Prior to that, he worked as a trader and technology executive for Forex.
Besides his connections with Trump’s ally McConnell and Chao, his Cabinet member, Hartogensis’ resume and professional experience show no indication that he should take such a significant position.
To compare, Thomas Reeder, the current director who President Obama nominated, had years of professional experience at the Treasury Department. In addition, he was the senior benefits counsel for the Senate Finance Committee staff. He also worked at top-shelf law firms for over 20 years.
The White House omitting the family background of Hartogensis from their announcement shows they recognize the display of cronyism around his consideration.
Christina Wilkie reported on CNBC that the Trump administration “won’t answer questions” about Hartogensis.
The nomination proves again that Trump’s claim of “draining the swamp” is simply a self-serving lie.
At the highest level, the President has surrounded himself with members of his family including daughter Ivanka and his son-in-law Jared Kushner despite their lack of knowledge in responding to major domestic and foreign issues they now have control over. He’s also stocked like-minded thinkers into his Cabinet, even when they are ill-prepared for their positions.
Donald Trump nominating Hartogensis as a favor for McConnell and Chao reveals all he wants to do to the “swamp” is to make the water even murkier.