Paul Light, an expert on the federal bureaucracy and a professor at New York University, describes the practice as “unseemly” and said that every administration does it.
“But nobody does these things with more politicization than Trump,” Light said.
The positions that Trump has filled in recent weeks are generally on advisory boards in which members go without a salary, though they get reimbursed for travel expenses. The positions have what Light describes as “gorgeous resume value.”
The number of advisory board positions has ballooned over the years. Light said that he believes past administrations have put in sincere work to match up people with the kind of credentials and experience Congress envisioned when it created those boards. He doesn’t see that same effort now.