Panel approves Cobert as nominee for OPM director

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Beth Cobert as nominee for director of the OPM.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Beth Cobert as nominee for director of the OPM.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Wednesday approved Beth Cobert, Obama's nominee for director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). 

Cobert has been serving as interim director of the OPM, since the resignation of former OPM director Katherine Archuleta who stepped down last year after the massive OPM breach that compromised personal information of more than 22 million federal employees and other individuals requiring government security clearance.

During her nomination hearing last week, Cobert was questioned about the agency's strained interactions with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a relationship that Senate Homeland committee member Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) characterized as “toxic.”

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), was initially highly supportive of Cobert, calling her a “talented, qualified, and competent choice for OPM Director” in November, but has since reversed course.

“OPM, under Ms. Cobert's leadership, is not cooperating with the Committee's investigation,” said Chaffetz, in a statement last week, when the Committee subpoenaed Cobert one day ahead of her nomination hearing. “Despite assurances of cooperation, I'm disappointed Ms. Cobert is not working in good faith with the Committee.”

But others lauded Cobert as a good choice for the top spot at OPM. “I find her to be someone who is impressive, decisive, and well-respected on both sides of the aisle in Congress,” said Homeland Security ranking member Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), in a statement. “She is someone who can continue to help lead OPM through this challenging time.”

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