Forms bring relief for nominees
- By Graeme Browning
- Feb 21, 2002
Nomination Forms Online
As anyone who has ever completed a complicated tax return, a series of college
applications or a set of employment forms knows, having to fill out the
same information repeatedly can be irksome.
Presidential nominees, who must complete a multitude of personal and
financial forms as part of the appointment process, know the rigors of that
repetition all too well but information technology is coming to their
Nomination Forms Online (NFO), a software package released Feb. 6 by
the White House 2001 Project, a research initiative funded by the Pew Charitable
Trusts, enables nominees not only to complete all required forms electronically,
but also adds basic information, such as the nominee's name, address, Social
Security number and marital status to every form automatically.
The time saved could be significant, according to G. Calvin Mackenzie,
a professor of government at Colby College and senior adviser to the Presidential
Appointee Initiative, a project of the Brookings Institution, which, with
the American Enterprise Institute, supported the development of NFO.
A nominee for a position requiring Senate confirmation typically must
file several consent forms authorizing background and credit investigations
and fill out four forms asking for extensive personal and financial histories.
The White House also requires a questionnaire that covers 23 points, including
such items as a description of the nominee's health, a list of the household
help he or she has employed, and every book, article, or column he or she
If the new package sounds a lot like the many tax-return applications
so popular this time of year well, it is, Mackenzie said. The package
is available free for download from the Project's Web site (whitehouse2001.org/nfo.html).
"I had been studying the presidential appointments process and I was
struck by the anxiety that [nominees feel] at having to fill out all these
forms over and over again," he said. "I was doing my taxes on my computer
at home several years ago, and suddenly I said to myself, 'We need something
just like this for the appointments process.' "