Don Benton tapped to lead U.S. Selective Service System

By Andy Matarrese, Columbian Breaking News Reporter and Lauren Dake, Columbian Political Writer

Published:

 

Don Benton, a former state lawmaker from Vancouver who reportedly frustrated officials in his current role as the Environmental Protection Agency’s senior White House adviser, is being tapped to oversee the U.S. Selective Service System, according to a press release from the White House.

The selective service has about 125 full-time equivalent employees, according to the agency’s website. If confirmed, Benton would be responsible for mobilizing and expanding the agency to ensure the military meets manpower requirements by conducting a draft, should Congress and the president authorize one.

Benton apparently clashed with officials at the EPA.

Last month, the Washington Post reported Benton “piped up so frequently during policy discussions that he had been disinvited from many of them.” More recently, Politico reported, “Benton has repeatedly butted heads with Ryan Jackson, (EPA Director Scott) Pruitt’s chief of staff. Multiple sources speculated that Benton might soon leave the agency.”

History of conflicts

Benton, who ran Trump’s state campaign, has a long history of local conflicts. As the chairman of the state party more than a decade ago, he lasted less than a year before being voted out by the party. While serving in the state Senate, he told a colleague she was acting as a “trashy trampy-mouthed little girl.”

The press release from the White House notes Benton served in the Legislature for two decades, served as an elected college trustee on the Santa Clarita Community College District Board of Trustees and started his first company when he was 17 years old.

Benton also served as the Director of the Clark County Environmental Services Department.

After he lost the job due to a county reorganization, he filed a lawsuit against the county.

The current interim director of the selective service, Adam J. Copp, was appointed in March 2016, according to the Selective Service. Benton’s resume to the county makes no mention of any military service.

Copp served in the Marines for more than 30 years, and retired as a colonel in 2015.

The last year when anyone was drafted was 1973, as part of the Vietnam War. More than 1.8 million people were inducted for Vietnam.