Today heralded the release of the Plum Book, which is the listing of all the 7,000-plus political appointment positions available in the U.S. Government; it’s a publication I never knew existed until I saw mention of it on the Presidential Transition website (which I, in turn, found out about via the Obama Administration’s website). It’s mostly mind-numbing, but paging through the PDF of it today, I was pretty shocked to see the existence of Appendix 5, entitled “Office of the Vice Presidency”. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the meaning of this appendix mentioned before: the Bush Administration someone appears to be using the Plum Book to push the mostly-ridiculed idea that the Office of the Vice Presidency is part-Executive, part-Legislative. Here’s the first paragraph of the appendix:

The Vice Presidency is a unique office that is neither a part of the executive branch nor a part of the legislative branch, but is attached by the Constitution to the latter. The Vice Presidency performs functions in both the legislative branch (see article I, section 3 of the Constitution) and in the executive branch (see article II, and amendments XII and XXV, of the Constitution, and section 106 of title 3 of the United States Code).

Looking at the historical Plum Books, this appendix appears to have materialized in the 2004 edition, well before Vice President Cheney made his claim to the National Archives that his office straddled the two branches of government (that certainly makes it seem like Cheney had that lie planned for quite a while before he found a need to invoke it, doesn’t it?). It’s all the more curious because the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is responsible for the contents of the 2008 Plum Book — this is the very same committee currently chaired by Joe Lieberman and the subject of much news this past week as Lieberman’s fate is being debated. Does the Committee really agree with this interpretation of the Office of the Vice Presidency’s position in the government, or did they just unknowingly carry the appendix over from the 2004 Plum Book (which was published by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, then chaired by Republican Tom Davis)? This seems like a good question to ask the current membership of the Committee… (which, incidentally, includes Senator Barack Obama until January 20th, when he takes another job).

(Incidentally, this interpretation of the Office of the Vice Presidency didn’t make it into the official U.S. Government Manual, which has the Veep’s office squarely in the Executive Branch in multiple places, and has as far back as one is able to browse.)


I’m personally looking for the deputy director of social media/blogging position.

• Posted by: M.Kelley on Nov 12, 2008, 8:36 PM

I was just looking last night at the Director of Web Design (now Director of Web Services) position underneath the Department of Agriculture. It has a GS pay level of 15 (the highest GS level), which I think has a minimum salary of $115K, if I’m reading this correctly It sounds like a real cushy job to ride out the recession. I wonder how one goes about applying (is there even an application process?) or are these appointment-only positions which is implied everywhere.

• Posted by: Cameron Barrett on Nov 13, 2008, 3:23 PM

Cam, I’d assume that you have to submit your info to the transition team, which you can do via the new site (see the top menubar, “Jobs”). I also assume that you’d have to relocate to DC…

• Posted by: Jason on Nov 13, 2008, 3:43 PM
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