Background Checks for Politicians
Ever wonder if the high-ranking politicians and government officials also undergo background check just as the cashier at your bank, especially in the midst of a scandal? According to a recent article in Washington Post, the D.C. office of the Chief Financial Officer has improved their background screening process after they were hit by theft, embezzlement due to fraudulent hire and falsified credentials.
The case in discussion was that of Saamir Kaiser, who was appointed as the agency’s general counsel. It was only later that people realized that he was not even a lawyer. This man was convicted for embezzling $250,000 from the city’s fund and using it for his lavish wedding, honeymoon, and a Mercedes Benz. This was not the first time he was able to the wool over hiring managers as he worked in a law firm in D.C. earlier.
The problems continued in the D.C. area when in 2008, the DC tax office was slapped with a $48 million tax refund embezzlement scandal. Stephen Cordi, who was hired to revamp the background screening process in the tax office had stated that “without some pre-employment screening, bad hiring decisions are made…”
After such a comment was made, it came to light that background checks were being conducted only after an employee was hired. Cordi defended the office’s practices by saying that they had addressed all the past issues that had been haunting them and that they were taking measures to continuously review and improve the process. He did not delve into the details of the process and checks in place to avoid such situations in future.
This leaves the taxpayers wondering how much of their hard earned money went into buying that Mercedes or having an extravagant wedding: If only thorough background checks by a professional organization were in place for people in high-stake government roles.