Good work if you can get it

Deputy secretary of defense made $13,400 a month doing nothing while waiting for confirmation.

By Tim Grieve
Published October 1, 2007 8:52PM (UTC)
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From the "Good Work if You Can Get It" Department comes word of Charles Riechers, who earned $13,400 a month from a nonprofit outfit called Commonwealth Research Institute during the two months he waited for Senate confirmation as a principal deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force.

What did Riechers do for CRI? Nothing, he says. "I really didn't do anything for CRI," he tells the Washington Post. "I got a paycheck from them."

Instead, the Post says, Riechers was actually working for the Defense Department on projects in which CRI wasn't involved. So why did Riechers draw a salary from CRI? To hear the Air Force and Riechers tell it, it all made perfectly good sense: Riechers needed a salary while awaiting confirmation, and CRI -- a subsidiary of the nonprofit defense contractor Concurrent Technologies -- was willing to pay it. "We needed some way to kind of gap me," Riechers says.

Don't we all?

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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