Senate Commerce Committee to Vote on NASA CFO Nominee; Bridenstine’s Nomination Remains in Limbo

Jeffrey DeWit (Credit: Gage Skidmore)

UPDATE: DeWit’s nomination is no longer on the schedule. His nomination does not actually require committee approval.

The Senate Commerce Committee will consider the nomination of the former CFO and COO of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to become NASA CFO on Wednesday.

Jeffrey DeWit currently serves as state treasurer of Arizona and chairman of the Arizona State Board of Investments. He was elected to a four-year term as state treasurer in 2014, and he said he did not plan to run for reelection this year.

If approved by the Commerce Committee, DeWit’s nomination would be sent to the full Senate for a vote.

In January 2016, Trump named him campaign chairman for Arizona. At the end of July, DeWit became COO of the national campaign.

The Trump campaign said DeWit would “focus on the operational aspects of the campaign including budgetary and logistical matters. He will create operational efficiencies as the campaign moves into the general election phase.”

Critics in Arizona questioned how DeWit would be able to serve as state treasurer and COO of the Trump campaign at the same time. DeWit refused to resign or take a leave of absence from his state job, saying the campaign position would be a part-time, volunteer gig.

“This (campaign job) is something I’m doing in my free time so truly the only part of my life that will suffer is my time with the family for the next three months,” he said at the time.

Here’s the rest of DeWit’s biography from the White House announcement of his nomination.

Prior to assuming office in January 2015, he was CEO of ECHOtrade, a firm he started in 1999 and grew to more than 500 licensed professional traders worldwide. Previously he was a market maker on the exchange floor in financial futures contracts as a full member of the Chicago Board of Trade and the CME in Chicago.  Treasurer DeWit began his nearly 25-year finance career at Smith Barney in 1992. In 2016 he served as the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the Donald J Trump for President campaign. He has an MBA from the University of Arizona and a BS in Business Administration with concentrations in Finance and Marketing from the University of Southern California (USC). He is also a National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Board Leadership Fellow. He is married to Marina and has three daughters, Delaney, Katie, and Jamie.

Meanwhile, the nomination of the man who is seeking to be DeWit’s boss remains in limbo in the Senate. There has been no vote scheduled on Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), whose controversial nomination was narrowly approved by the Commerce Committee on a party-line vote.

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) have both expressed opposition to putting a partisan politician without a scientific or technical background in charge of the nation’s space agency, which has enjoyed broad bi-partisan support over the years.

Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 advantage in the Senate, with ailing Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) unavailable for votes at times as he undergoes treatment for cancer.

This is the longest period in which NASA has operated under an acting administrator following a presidential transition.