In what appears to be a politically motivated rebuff, the Bush administration has indicated it will not approve the appointment of a key staffer to Rep. John LaFalce, the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, to serve as NCUA board member Deborah Matz's top aide. The appointment of Dean Sager, well- known to credit union officials for his work drafting HR 1151, the 1998 CU Membership Access Act, has languished at the White House for three months. By comparison, the appointment of Julie Starnes as top aide to newly confirmed Republican board member JoAnne Johnson, was approved in barely two weeks. It is the first time in recent memory that an NCUA board appointment has been rejected by the White House. Nicholas Owens, the NCUA board's White House liaison, would not comment on the matter, saying personnel issues are confidential. The White House personnel office would not return phone calls seeking comment. Sager said he was surprised by the rebuff and insisted there was nothing in his 30 years serving on Capitol Hill that would technically disqualify him from the NCUA position.