Dan Levinson may be the most important Washington name you don't know. He's the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asked him to figure out how healthcare.gov came to be so screwed up.
That's a decision Sebelius and her boss in the Oval Office could come to regret because Levinson is nobody's partisan errand boy. If they expect a whitewash, they will almost certainly be severely disappointed.
And not just because Levinson was appointed to the HHS IG position by President George W. Bush in 2005. He's been in the job ever since because he's a thorough, tough and smart public servant.
Who is this guy?
The owlish Levinson did his undergraduate work at Southern Cal, then law school at the Georgetown University Law Center.
His first major job in Washington was deputy general counsel at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. That's the agency that manages the federal civil service. It's obscure but a key lever for reforming the federal government.
Levinson was appointed to that position by then-OPM Director Donald Devine, who was President Reagan's chief civil service reform proponent.
Keep Dan on your side
After OPM, Levinson was general counsel at the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. In 1986, Reagan appointed him as chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board, a quasi-judicial board that adjudicates allegations of civil service personnel regulatory violations.
In 2001, Bush appointed Levinson as IG at the General Services Administration where he served until going to HHS.
In all of these jobs, Levinson displayed the skills and temperament that since going to HHS have shown him to be among the most effective of the 78 federal IGs.
But is he up to this job?
At HHS, Levinson has saved taxpayers billions of dollars and sent legions of crooks to prison, especially in oversight of the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
But Sebelius has now handed him the biggest challenge of his career. He's about to expose what appears to be a uniquely putrid example of everything that is wrong with federal contracting.
There will be incredible pressure on Levinson to, if not to vindicate the politicians, bureaucrats and contractors responsible for the healthcare.gov disaster, to at least avoid implicating them. He is now on one of the hottest seats ever in Washington.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
Editorial: AARP should apologize for Obamacare.
Not-So-Friendly Skies, Day Four: Deregulation didn't fail, it was never really tried
Richard Pollock: Obamacare forcing major cuts in Medicare's home health program.
Mark Flatten: Long claims delays and appeals still haunt Veterans Affairs.
In other news
The Washington Post: Gun-control groups shifting focus to selected states.
The New York Times: Criminal action expected against JPMorgan in Madoff case.
The Guardian (UK): Forty patients had surgery on wrong limbs.
Talking Points Memo: Map shows how Obamacare enrollment is doing.
Mother Jones: No, the budget deal isn't a compromise.
American Thinker: Who the Democrats really are.
The Wall Street Journal: Norman Podhoretz on why striking Iran now will avert disaster later.
Washington Free Beacon: Obama White House has killed new Iran sanctions.
The Weekly Standard: Why 2014 looks surprisingly favorable for Republicans.