Another Obama nominee withdraws

Jonathan Cannon, slated to become deputy administrator of the EPA, said "scrutiny" of a foundation he'd served could become a distraction.


Alex Koppelman
March 26, 2009 1:35AM (UTC)

The list of high-level Obama administration nominees who've dropped out just keeps growing. The latest casualty, announced Wednesday afternoon, is Joseph Cannon, who was slated to become the number two man at the Environmental Protection Agency.

In a statement, Cannon explained:

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Today I am voluntarily removing my name from consideration to be Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. It has come to my attention that America’s Clean Water Foundation, where I once served on the board of directors, has become the subject of scrutiny. While my service on the board of that now-dissolved organization is not the subject of the scrutiny, I believe the energy and environmental challenges facing our nation are too great to delay confirmation for this position, and I do not wish to present any distraction to the agency.

So far, there's not much in the way of specifics about what kind of "scrutiny" America's Clean Water Foundation is under. But in 2007, the EPA's inspector general issued a scathing report on grants issued to the ACWF. Among other things, the report noted that in 2004 the ACWF's accounting firm had "discovered accounting irregularities and a potential embezzlement of funds," and listed a number of ways in which the foundation had violated EPA grant regulations.

In 2006, the ACWF suddenly and completely dissolved itself, according to the report, which says, "[A]ll members of the Board of Directors had resigned, the Foundation filed dissolution papers with the District of Columbia, and it no longer had any employees or an office location. The stated reason for the dissolution was the lack of program funding; the Foundation could no longer operate effectively or respond to Agency inquiries."

Cannon has been a professor at UVA's law school, and before that he was a longtime EPA staffer, working in various senior positions there.


Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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