Former civil servant might head Obama USDA transition team
Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner Bart Chilton and Carole Jett, a retired USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service civil servant, are top candidates to head the Obama transition team at the USDA, several lobbyists and a department source said late Wednesday.
Transition lawyers must still determine whether Chilton can head the USDA transition effort while he remains a CFTC commissioner, one lobbyist said. Chilton was sworn in as a CFTC commissioner in 2007 and has been nominated for a second term, but the nomination is pending in the Senate.
In recent months, Chilton has split with other commissioners to call for stricter regulation of the commodities markets, particularly over-the-counter transactions. Chilton served in several capacities at USDA during the Clinton administration, rising to deputy chief of staff to Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman. He was an aide to former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota from 2001 until Daschle was defeated in 2004. He was an executive assistant at the Farm Credit Administration in 2005, then a National Farmers Union lobbyist until his appointment to the CFTC.
Jett retired in May after a 33-year career at NRCS, where she rose to associate deputy chief for programs and farm bill coordinator. Jett is a self-employed policy adviser and was an active member of the private-sector agriculture advisory group for Obama coordinated by attorney Marshall Matz and headed by FCA board member Dallas Tonsager, a lobbyist said.
Through Oct. 15, Jett had given $2,300 to the presidential campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.; $3,200 to Obama's presidential campaign; $1,000 to the Indiana Democratic Congressional Victory Committee; and $1,000 to the Democratic National Committee, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.