EEOC Nominee Biding Time as Veteran Adviser at Labor Dept.

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By Jacquie Lee and Ben Penn

Daniel Gade is serving the administration in a lower-profile capacity as he waits to be confirmed as a commissioner for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Without fanfare or announcement, Iraq War veteran Gade was appointed as a senior adviser at the Labor Department’s Veterans Employment and Training Service in November, according to public records compiled by ProPublica.

VETS provides employment resources for veterans and their spouses. It’s a small office that rarely, if ever, is at the center of political controversies.

Nominees waiting for Senate approval tend to avoid potentially controversial positions that could damage or complicate their confirmation process. That means Gade camping out at VETS while waiting for the Senate majority leader to call his name to the floor suggests nothing improper or abnormal. It does indicate that the nominee is willing to wait out the lengthy Senate scheduling process by serving the administration in a different role.

Gade taught political science and leadership courses at West Point before accepting the EEOC nomination.

The EEOC declined to comment, and the DOL didn’t respond to a request to provide details about the nature of Gade’s role at VETS.

Commissioner, Chair Slots

Both Gade and Janet Dhillon have been waiting since October for a full Senate vote to become commissioner and chair of the EEOC, respectively. Dhillon was the general counsel of Burlington Stores Inc. If they’re confirmed, the agency would have a Republican majority for the first time in nine years.

Their stalled confirmations have roused ire from Republicans such as Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, who said the nominees are being “held up by Democrats who don’t want us to go forward.”

“One strong way to deal with discrimination on civil rights is to fully staff the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,” he said at a HELP panel hearing April 10.

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