Seven-page questionnaire for people willing to join Obamas team

November 13th, 2008 - 6:18 pm ICT by ANI  

Barack Obama

Washington, Nov 13 (ANI): A seven-page questionnaire being sent by the office of President-elect Barack Obama to those seeking cabinet and other high-ranking posts may be the most extensive some say invasive application ever.

The questionnaire includes 63 requests for personal and professional records, some covering applicants spouses and grown children as well, that are forcing job-seekers to rummage from basements to attics, in shoe boxes, diaries and computer archives to document both their achievements and missteps, The New York Times reported.

Only the smallest details are excluded; traffic tickets carrying fines of less than 50 dollar need not be reported, the application says.

Applicants are asked whether they or anyone in their family owns a gun. They must include any e-mail that might embarrass the president-elect, along with any blog posts and links to their Facebook pages, The NYT reported.

The application also asks applicants to please list all aliases or handles you have used to communicate on the Internet.

The vetting process for executive branch jobs has been onerous for decades, with each incoming administration erecting new barriers in an effort to avoid the mistakes of the past, or the controversies of the present, the paper said.

But Obama has elevated the vetting even beyond what might have been expected, especially when it comes to applicants family members, in a reflection of his campaign rhetoric against lobbying and the back-scratching, self-serving ways of Washington.

President-elect Obama made a commitment to change the way Washington does business, and the vetting process exemplifies that, said Stephanie Cutter, chief spokeswoman for the Obama transition office.

Jobs with the mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have served as lucrative incubators for Democratic and Republican administration officials.

But those affiliations have become potentially toxic since the government seized both companies after years of financial irregularities that have stoked the economic crisis.

Not surprisingly, then, Question 18 of the Obama application asks whether you, your spouse or any member of your immediate family have been affiliated with Fannie, Freddie, American International Group, Washington Mutual and any other institution getting a government bailout.

Under Domestic Help, the questionnaire asks the immigration status of applicants housekeepers, nannies, chauffeurs and yard-workers, and whether applicants have paid the required taxes for household employees.

The first question asks applicants not just for a resume, but for every resume and biographical statement issued by them or others for the past 10 years a likely safeguard against resume falsehoods, one Clinton administration veteran said.

For those who clear all the hurdles, the reward could be the job they wanted. But first there will be more forms, for security and ethics clearances from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Office of Government Ethics. (ANI)

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