President Obama’s transition team appears to have utilized a list of 32 “Hispanic names” when filling positions in the new administration after the 2008 election, leaked emails reveal.
Steve Phillips, a senior fellow at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, sent a spreadsheet titled “Top Latinos” in a November 2008 email with the subject line “Hispanic names” to current Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, who co-chaired the Obama transition efforts before serving as a White House counselor.
At least nine of the 32 “Top Latinos” listed ended up playing some kind role in the Obama administration and at least two of them became members of Obama’s cabinet, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller.
Phillips’ list includes people like Hilda Solis, whom Obama would tap as his secretary of labor, and Tom Perez, who replaced Solis after she left in 2013. Perez’s experience as secretary of labor lead to his name being floated as a possible 2016 running mate for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
Other people on the list include: Assistant Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) John Trasvina; Vilma Martinez, who served as the ambassador to Argentina from 2009 to 2013; Monica Lozano, whom Obama appointed to the President’s Economic Recovery Board; Cecilia Munoz, the Assistant to the President and Director of the Domestic Policy Council; George Munoz, whom Obama appointed to the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships; Ramona Romero, who served as general counsel for the Department of Agriculture; and George Sanchez, whom Obama recently nominated to be a member of the National Council on the Humanities.
Phillips’ email to Podesta didn’t come come out of nowhere.
In it, he references a meeting with Podesta that took place the previous day, and expresses his excitement about being “plugged in as tightly as possible to the hiring process to help with diversity issues.”
Phillips — who was not a government employee — even asks if then-incoming White House Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina would be “okay with my getting a desk in the building.”
The release of Podesta’s emails by WikiLeaks includes multiple other emails from Phillips indicating he was indeed involved in the hiring process for the new Obama administration. The WikiLeaks dump shows Podesta and Phillips remained in contact as recently as February 2016.
The “Top Latinos” list is just the latest indication that the Obama team pursued an aggressive (albeit unofficial) form of affirmative action that prioritized minorities for offices in the Obama administration. (RELATED: Leaked Email: Diversity To Obama Admin Means No Whites)
As originally reported by TheDC, for example, the Obama transition team sought out Muslims for “top jobs” in the administration and purposefully “excluded those with some Arab American background but who are not Muslim” from consideration. (RELATED: Obama Team Kept List Of Muslims For Top Jobs, Excluded Non-Muslims)