Sunday, January 14, 2001

Jumping through the hoops

        So you want to work for the White House? Prepare for a round of intense scrutiny into your private life.

        As Robert Burnham, special agent in charge of the FBI's Cincinnati Division, says on this page, the background inquiries the FBI routinely does on potential White House nominees are “long and exhaustive,” including 50 to 60 interviews with those who are acquainted with the nominee.

        The Bush-Cheney transition organization, while inviting interested Americans to apply for positions, warns that “government service is not for everyone. Anyone thinking about applying should be aware that:

        “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 . . . The financial holdings and sources of income for most applicants under serious consideration must be disclosed . . . Most appointees' dealings with the federal government . . . will be significantly restricted to prevent possible conflicts of interest.”

        Here are the specific steps detailed by the transition team:

        • Fill out a brief, four-page application to let them know you're interested.

        • If you're actually considered for a post, you then must fill out a Personal Data Statement, detailing possible conflicts of interest and “all aspects of your personal and professional life,” with an emphasis on “anything that might embarrass the President or you.”

        • If the White House is seriously interested in hiring you, then you must fill out FBI and financial disclosure forms.

        • Finally, if your position requires Senate confirmation, the Senate will ask for additional information.

        For a look at some of the actual federal forms that job seekers must complete, visit the Enquirer's Web site. You'll need the Adobe Acrobat reader (also available through the site) to view the forms. More information is available at


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