May 16, 2021

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NCAA leader nominated for VA deputy secretary post

President Joe Biden has the secondary officer at the National Collegiate Athletic Association serve as those second highest official in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Donald Remy, an Army veteran with longstanding ties to Biden and former President Barack Obama, was named deputy secretary of the VA on Friday.

If this is confirmed, he will only be the second black veteran to hold this leadership role. VA Secretary Denis McDonough has promised over the past few weeks that his leadership team will underscore the President’s “seriousness about diversity and inclusion” in the department.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough speaks during his hearing before the Senate Veterans Committee on January 27, 2021. (Sarah Silbiger / Pool via AP)

He will also be the first Senate-approved holder of the post in more than a year. Carolyn Clancy has been an actress since the beginning of the Biden presidency. The last MP confirmed by the Senate was James Byrne, who was dismissed by then Secretary Robert Wilkie in February 2020.

Remy is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Howard University School of Law and served four years in the Army. While in uniform, he was assistant to the Army General Counsel and handled a variety of legal and political issues. He later worked as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Ministry of Justice.

Remy worked for the Federal National Mortgage Association (better known as Fannie Mae) for six years in the early 2000s before the company was acquired by the government after the 2007 recession and mortgage crisis.

In 2009, Remy was selected by Obama as General Counsel for the Army but was forced to withdraw his nomination after failing to include his experience with Fannie Mae on official government forms.

A few years later, he joined the NCAA, where he held various roles, including Chief Legal Officer. That has put him at the center of a number of widespread legal disputes for the sports association, including whether college athletes should get more compensation for their work.

Andrea Goldstein (right), senior officer of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee's Women Veterans Task Force, speaks with the chairman of the committee, Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif.  (Left), before a press conference at the Washington DC VA Medical Center on Sept. 26, 2019. Goldstein says she was sexually assaulted at the facility a week earlier.  (Courtesy House Veterans' Affairs Committee)

Remy’s nomination marks the second major announcement by the VA White House leadership this month. Earlier, officials cited retired Maj. Gen. Matthew Quinn as the choice to make as VA Commemorative Undersecretary.

Two other important departmental posts – the Undersecretary for Health and the Undersecretary for Social Services – remain without official nominations. The department conducts a formal search for the health post as required by federal law.

A confirmation hearing for Remy and Quinn is expected later this spring.