Joe Biden has nominated Neera Tanden to the head the Office of Management and Budget, an important position in the administration. She is an awful person for a multiplicity of reasons, as Max Blumenthal explains, but Democrats are likely to go along with her nomination while Republicans will focus on how mean she was to them, with both ignoring the very real and substantive reasons why she should be nowhere near high office.
Neera Tanden raked in whopping donations from repressive right-wing foreign governments while she advanced their hardline policy priorities in Washington. Will the Senate ask her about these sordid arrangements?
The US Senate will convene hearings on the confirmation of Neera Tanden to lead President Joseph Biden’s Office of Management and Budget this February 9. Tanden is a veteran Democratic Party operative best known for her intemperate online commentary, fanatical loyalty to Hillary Clinton, and visceral loathing of anything remotely affiliated with Bernie Sanders.
While Democrats are almost certain to support Tanden’s confirmation in lockstep, and Sanders might even raise an approving mitten, her long record of inflammatory attacks on the GOP will be a central source of Republican opposition.
Yet when Tanden appears before the Senate, members of both parties may ignore a much more salient issue stemming from her leadership of the Center for American Progress (CAP), the Democratic Party-affiliated think tank in Washington DC where she currently serves as President and CEO.
Under Tanden’s watch, CAP raked in hefty donations from foreign governments and their lobbying operations, while churning out policy papers and organizing events that furthered those donors’ interests inside the Beltway. In almost every case, the foreign states that pumped money into CAP’s coffers were right-wing US allies seeking a more militaristic line from Washington against their regional adversaries.
The donors included lobbyists for the apartheid regime of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who enjoyed a friendly public forum with Tanden; the permanent monarchy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), whose ambassador to the US publicly thanked CAP for a favorable report it published on the Middle East following a series of substantial donations; the right-wing nationalist government of Japan, whose former Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, gained an audience with Tanden; and the administration of Taiwan, which apparently used CAP as a vehicle to campaign for a more hostile US policy toward China.
These apparent pay-for-play arrangements were defining features of Tanden’s time at the helm of one of the most heavily funded Beltway think tank operations. But strangely, as her confirmation to Biden’s OMB moves forward, even her fiercest adversaries in the Senate have not signaled any intent to scrutinize the ethical baggage she accumulated while pushing the Democratic Party to adopt a decidedly neoconservative foreign policy.
Money talks loudly in US politics and even though Tanden raised it from the most unsavory of sources, that will not be of concern to the neoliberal Democratic party establishment.