Plum Books may show potential Trump appointees
November 17, 2016
Are you wondering who President-elect Donald Trump will appoint at the Agriculture Department, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department and elsewhere in the government?
The 2008 Plum Book, published as President Barack Obama took office, lists the names of people serving in politically appointed positions under outgoing President George W. Bush. And the 2004 Plum Book shows who was serving in those positions during Bush's first term.
The Plum Book, officially known as "U.S. Government Policy and Supporting Positions," is a presidential transition directory published after each presidential election.
Both the 2008 and 2004 books may be guides to potential higher level appointees in a Trump administration, since they include appointments made by the last Republican administration. Usually appointees who have served in a low- or medium-level capacity in one administration return at a higher level when that party retakes the White House.
That pattern might not be followed in the next administration because Trump has been so controversial in Republican circles and because the transition team on Wednesday announced unexpected restrictions on transition and appointed officials lobbying in the future.
But when the dust settles, administrations usually turn to people with experience to run the government, particularly at mid-level appointments such as undersecretaries and division heads.
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At the very least, the books are a fascinating walk through history.
In the 2004 book, when Ann Veneman was Agriculture secretary, Dale Moore, now with the American Farm Bureau Federation, was chief of staff.
Mike Torrey, now in charge of Trump transition at USDA, is listed as deputy chief of staff, and Chuck Conner, president and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives — who is often mentioned as a potential secretary — was listed as a special assistant to Veneman.
Conner later had another role in the Bush administration.
In the 2008 book, when former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer is listed as Agriculture secretary (he had succeeded former Nebraska Gov. Mike Johanns who left to run for the Senate), Conner was the deputy secretary.
–The Hagstrom Report