No More Czars for the President


ACRU Staff


April 12, 2011

As a member of the Conservative Action Project, ACRU CEO Susan Carleson and leaders of 28 other organizations representing a broad cross section of the conservative movement are united in opposing the creation of more unaccountable "czars."

MEMO FOR THE MOVEMENT: Senators Schumer and Alexander want to reduce the number of presidential appointments subject to Senate confirmation. This process undermines Advice & Consent role and weakens congressional oversight responsibility.

No More Czars for the President—It is a Bad Deal!

RE: A proposal by Senators Schumer, Alexander and others to eliminate the confirmation process for hundreds of political appointees and basically create more executive branch “czars.” Eliminating the confirmation process removes the only check the legislative branch has over many presidential appointments.

ISSUE-in-BRIEF: Every President has approximately 400 senior level positions among the major cabinet departments & agencies to fill subject to confirmation by the United States Senate. The vast majority of these positions are confirmed by the Senate with little fanfare—but that is after a careful review of each nominee’s record by the Senate and in many cases a confirmation hearing. Here are seven reasons why this Schumer proposal (S.679) is a bad deal for the American people:

  1. The president already controls a little over 2,700 political appointees not subject to Senate confirmation. This would increase the number and expand the list to include positions with more responsibility and authority such as agency chief financial officers, assistant secretaries for Congressional Affairs and Public Affairs, bureau directors at Department of Justice, positions at the IMF and African Development Foundation and the treasurer of the United States–to name just a few.
  2. Aids in the Growth of Big Government. The single biggest reason there are more presidential appointees subject to Senate confirmation then there were 50 years ago is because of the growth of government. When President Kennedy was elected there were no presidential appointees at the Departments of Education, Energy, Housing & Urban Development, Transportation, the EPA, OSHA or the Peace Institute because none of these bureaucracies existed.
  3. Weakens the Appointments Clause of the Constitution. Advice & Consent is required by the Constitution–it should not be a discretionary matter left for presidents of either party to determine. The Congress should not decide by law to relinquish the Senate role in filing a federal office and leave filling the office to the president alone. Key positions at almost every major cabinet department and agency would be affected, including Treasury, State, Defense, Commerce, Education, Energy, Labor, Homeland Security and Justice.
  4. Reduces Opportunity for Congressional Oversight. The best time to fix a leaky roof is when the sun is shining–eliminating the possibility of a confirmation hearing allows for less transparency in the process. Once an individual is appointed, the oversight role of congress is an after-the-fact event. The confirmation process is a crucial part of the congressional oversight process. Do the names Van Jones and Kevin Jennings ring a bell?
  5. Takes Effect Immediately. Unlike past changes to executive branch governance rules, this proposal would be effective immediately rather than waiting until 2013 and the next administration. In effect, President Obama would be immediately free of the traditional Senate oversight of presidential appointments and could appoint individuals at a moment’s notice.
  6. Creates More Czars and Reduces Transparency. The problems of this administration with complying with the Freedom of Information Act are legendary, and just this past February, the House of Representatives voted to eliminate many of the “Czars” that the President had been appointing to circumvent the accountability and scrutiny that comes with Senate confirmation.
  7. Undermines Civility between the Branches of Government. The confirmation process ensures that individuals truly outside the constitutional mainstream are not appointed to influential positions in the executive branch without certain conditions placed on them by members of the Senate.




The Conservative Action Project, chaired by former Attorney General Edwin Meese, is designed to facilitate conservative leaders working together on behalf of common goals. Participants include the CEO’s of over 100 organizations representing all major elements of the conservative movement–economic, social and national security.

Members of the CAP opposing the creation of more unaccountable “czars” are:

Becky Norton Dunlop, former Deputy Assistant to President Reagan for Presidential Personnel

Al Cardenas, Chairman, American Conservative Union

J. Kenneth Blackwell, Chairman, Coalition for a Conservative Majority

Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General

William Wilson, President, Americans for Limited Government

Colin Hanna, President, Let Freedom Ring

Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council

Duane Parde, President, National Taxpayers Union

Mario H. Lopez, President, Hispanic Leadership Fund

Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness

Brent Bozell, President, Media Research Center

Kay Daly, President for a Fair Judiciary

Gary Bauer, President, American Values

Frank Gaffney, President, Center for Security Policy

Herman Pirchner, President, American Foreign Policy Council

Dr. Herbert London, President, Hudson Institute

Andrea Lafferty, President, Traditional Values Coalition

Tom Schatz, President, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste

David McIntosh, former Member of Congress, Indiana

Bob McEwen, former Member of Congress, Ohio

nny Nance, CEO, Concerned Women for America

James Martin, Chairman, 60 Plus Association

Richard Viguerie, Chairman,

Susan Carleson, Chairman & CEO, American Civil Rights Union

Mathew D. Staver, Chairman, Liberty Council Action

Alfred Regnery, Publisher, American Spectator

Bill Pascoe, Executive Vice President, Citizens for the Republic

Tom Winter, Editor-in-Chief, Human Events

Ambassador Henry Cooper, Chairman, High Frontier

(All Names for Identification purposes only)



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