Sites give glimpse of political grilling

Brookings' Appointee Resource Center

Consulted a mental health professional in the past seven years? Left a job under unfavorable circumstances? What do your friends, neighbors and colleagues really think of you?

The FBI will ask those questions and many, many more if you are nominated for a job in the new administration.

Before you apply, it might be helpful to find out more about what investigators, Senators and the president's headhunters will want to know about you. The Internet turns the task into a quick study.

The Brookings Institution, a political think tank located near the White House, has developed an Appointee Resource Center that offers insight, advice and even copies of forms political job-seekers will have to fill out.

And the man who hopes to be your next boss, George W. Bush, has also created a Web site — — for the edification of appointment-seekers. The Bush site makes it clear that working for the administration won't be everyone's notion of the ideal job:

    * The hours are long and the pace intense.

    * There is much public/press scrutiny.

    * Most applicants under serious consideration will go through a full FBI background check.

    * Financial holdings and sources of income for most applicants must be disclosed and any conflicts of interest must be remedied.

    * During and after working for the administration, dealings with the federal government will be significantly restricted to prevent possible conflicts of interest.

If you're still interested, the Brookings site offers a useful chart of agencies and how many jobs they have to fill. The departments of Justice and State have the highest number of jobs requiring presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. The Defense Department has the greatest number of political jobs overall, and Agriculture, Energy and the Department of Veterans Affairs each have hundreds of political vacancies to fill.

The site includes a link to the Plum Book, which lists thousands of appointee positions. And there are links to the 13-page questionnaire that must be filled out for national security jobs, the 43-question White House personal data form and the 18-page financial disclosure report.


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