According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump and members of his inner circle have gone to extraordinary lengths to place appointees in positions in government agencies whose sole purpose will be to undermine the administration of incoming President Joe Biden.
While the president has complained that the “deep state” — in his mind, those people being government employees taking part in a grand conspiracy to ruin his presidency — he is reportedly has created his own with an eye on undermining Biden so he can run against the incoming president in 2024.
According to the report, “A higher-than-usual number of Trump administration political appointees — some with highly partisan backgrounds — are currently “burrowing” into career positions throughout the federal government, moving from appointed positions into powerful career civil service roles, which come with job protections that will make it difficult for Biden to fire them.”
While it’s not unusual for the White House to attempt to place highly competent staffers in positions of power to see initiatives through over multiple administrations, the choices Trump has been making have watchdogs concerned.
According to the report, an executive order signed by Trump has allowed some positions to be filled without proper oversight to allow “political appointees circumvent the usual merit-based application process for career civil service jobs, while moving career policymakers into a new job category with far fewer legal protections.”
“The Office of Personnel Management is required to report any conversion of political appointees into career positions to Congress on a quarterly basis — meaning lawmakers only know now what has happened through September of last year,” Politico reports. “But there are also gaps in terms of which agencies must be included in the reports, which are not required to be made public. The disclosures are also dependent on agencies identifying the employees shifting into career slots and reporting them to OPM.”
According to Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, “There’s real questions about whether OPM has served as a true guardian to stop bad conversions from happening.”
An aide close to Biden stated they are very aware of what Trump has done and they are working on remedies.
“We’ve identified some people already, but we don’t know how many there are in total, or where exactly they’re placed,” the person said. “The incoming administration will have to evaluate it and think about alternative placements [for the burrowers], and that will take time and create more distractions and burdens for them.”
You can read more here.
Image: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead
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