Sending hacked emails aside, Padma is fairly amateurish. I tend to think she lost a family member in the plane crash, or she's the daughter of one of the terrorists trying avenge him in some way.
If she really is working for the initiative, then I'd be disappointed as there's already too much initiative in this story - I want more on real people. At least they are making fun of it in a way - all very Bondish. I did like that Emily clued in immediately that Crawley was spying on them. She will use that to her advantage.
What REALLY annoys me is the impossibility that someone like Padma - young, never an executive - would EVER be the CFO of a company worth hundreds of millions of dollars if not more. The CFO is in some ways the most important person in a company of that size, and they are privy to every deep dark secret. Nolan may be an emotional mess in his personal relationships, but he's smart in business, so there's no way he should have given someone with no resume and no background check that level of responsibility. And we know how easy it is for him to look people up for heaven's sake. I can see him wanting to trust someone - but not in that position.
Similarly Marco - while it's possible that Marco was at his side when the company was an upstart, at some point in its growth, every tech startup that hits the big time hires a few seasoned executives - they have to. I guess Nolcorp was never public and doesn't have a board (although I thought this was mentioned at some point, no?), because Nolan's choices for CFO would have never been allowed.
As for Conrad - my favourite character these past few eps! - I think his toying with public office is completely realistic. Men with shadier pasts have succeeded, and let's also remember that men like that have such huge egos that they think they can get away with a lot. Keep in mind he hasn't said what office he wants to run for either - could be a simple as mayor of Montauk, or a position in the state legislature, where people often want to support a local guy who's going to look out for their interests. Plus, he's only putting out feelers - again realistic to see what his opportunities might be. Plus he's bored - this is a way of keeping busy, an excuse to stay in the thick of things, and to mess with everybody, Conrad style.
Also, did everyone notice that Stonewall or whatever, that Crawley says is going to be very valuable in what was it? a few months? is a salvage company. Sounds like they are planning another terrorist strike, and want to have a company lined up to do the clean up who is on their side and will help cover up their involvement - and why not make some money along the way when they get the huge contract and triple their value?