Pentagon halts Trump appointments to advisory boards

Source: Politico | January 28, 2021 | Lara Seligman

The move effectively prevents a number of Trump allies, including Corey Lewandoski and David Bossie, from actually serving on panels.

The Pentagon has suspended the processing of a number of former President Donald Trump’s last-minute appointees to defense advisory boards as the new administration looks to weed out loyalists to the former president.

The move effectively prevents a number of Trump allies, including his 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandoski and deputy campaign manager David Bossie, from actually serving on panels tasked with providing advice to the defense secretary, at least for the time being.

The news came in an email to advisory board members on Wednesday. The message was obtained by POLITICO and confirmed by two people familiar with the discussions.

The effort is aimed at scrubbing the members of the advisory boards “to determine if appointments were politically motivated vice professionally made,” said one of the people.

The freeze announced on Wednesday pertains only to appointees who have not yet been sworn in or have completed all the required paperwork, the people said. Several new board members, including Earl Matthews and Anthony Tata, were sworn in on Jan. 19 after pressure from the White House to push through as many appointees as possible before President Joe Biden’s inauguration. But others, including Lewandowski and Bossie, were still undergoing a lengthy financial disclosure and security clearance process that normally takes weeks or months, according to the people familiar.

It was not immediately clear whether the Pentagon planned to take any action against those who have been onboarded, but the Biden team is looking into whether it can replace dozens of Trump’s last-minute appointments to boards and commissions across the U.S. government.


Now the Biden team is reviewing the moves. The email that went out to advisory board members on Wednesday announced that effective immediately, “all appointments, reappointments and renewals” to the boards would be suspended “pending a thorough review by the new Administration.”

The announcement covered appointments to the Defense Business Board, the Defense Policy Board, the Defense Science Board, the Defense Innovation Board, and the Defense Healthcare Board, according to the email.


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