Say It Ain’t So! “Cronyism seen in relationship behind White House state dinners”
Via the Washington Examiner:
When Bryan Rafanelli orchestrated an extravagant White House state dinner hosted by President and First Lady Michelle Obama for British Prime Minister David Cameron last March, the celebrity event planner’s business partner, Mark Walsh, was close by.
Walsh is deputy chief of protocol in the U.S. State Department and co-owner of the Boston-based Rafanelli Events Management firm.
The protocol office oversees and pays for all White House events involving foreign dignitaries, including payments to the Rafanelli firm. Walsh was appointed to the highly coveted position in 2011 despite a marked absence of international diplomatic experience on his resume.
The deputy chief of protocol oversees visits of heads of state and top diplomats who meet with the president, vice president or secretary of state.
Previous administrations “used only government employees” to plan and coordinate White House state dinners – probably because they wanted to avoid conflict of interest and the appearance of impropriety. Not so with the Obama administration.
As much as they talk about being ‘for the people,’ they act as if they personally own the White House and the functions of government.