Johnson's Nomination Spurs Policy Review

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Admiral Jay Johnson's nomination to the Navy's top post appears safe in the Senate, but both the Armed Services committee and the Defense Department will review the policy which allowed Johnson to earn $33,000 a year for sitting on a corporate board. Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Strom Thurmond announced today that his committee will investigate policies on outside pay for both military and civilian appointees. Thurmond had raised questions about the Pentagon policy Wednesday, following President Clinton's selection of Johnson to replace Admiral Jeremy (Mike) Boorda as Navy chief of staff after Boorda's May 16 suicide. While there is no indication that Johnson had violated any regulations, to avoid becoming personally tangled in the debate Johnson resigned hours later from the board of USAA, an insurance and financial services company that sells primarily to military employees. Current policy allows military personel to take outside employment that does not conflict with their duties, and requires employees to avoid even the appearance of violating ethical standards. Civilian cabinet and sub-cabinet level employees may earn outside income equal to 15 percent of their base salary. The question for Thurmond's committee is whether such outside employment is potentially a conflict of interest. -->