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Transition briefs: FBI searches former office of Obama appointee

The FBI yesterday searched the former office of Vivek Kundra, appointed as U.S. chief information officer last week by President Barack Obama, as part of a corruption investigation, authorities said. Agents raided the D.C. government's Office of the Chief Technology Officer, which Kundra formerly headed. He isn't a target of the probe, said Feras Sleiman, a spokesman for Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty. Katherine Schweit, a spokeswoman for the FBI's Washington field office, would not disclose whom the bureau is investigating. She did say the FBI had arrested two people in connection with the matter. One is an employee of the technology office and the other was a contractor, according to the city.

The Senate began filling the Justice Department's leadership ranks, confirming David Ogden to be deputy attorney general and preparing to approve Thomas Perrelli's nomination for the No. 3 post. Ogden's confirmation and Perrelli's expected approval as associate attorney general will provide reinforcements for Attorney General Eric Holder, who has run the department without the aid of other politically appointed leaders since he took office Feb. 3.

The Senate Finance Committee has approved former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk to be the next U.S. trade representative, the person in charge of steering the country's trade policy. Kirk's confirmation hit a bump last week when it was revealed that he, like several others nominated by Obama, had a problem with underpaid taxes. But he was approved by voice vote.

The White House is taking offense at UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's comment that the United States is a "deadbeat" donor to the world body. Press secretary Robert Gibbs said yesterday that Ban's word choice was "unfortunate," given that the United States is the largest contributor to the United Nations. The United States pays 22 percent of the organization's nearly $5-billion operating budget, though it is perennially late paying its dues. Ban made the "deadbeat" comment Wednesday during a private meeting with lawmakers at the Capitol.


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