According to a report from NBC News, a substantial number of Donald Trump political appointees attempted to secure permanent hard-to-fire jobs in the government following the former president’s loss to now-President Joe Biden.
The report notes that it not unusual for such requests to be made when administration’s change, but the number of requests by Trump appointees “outpaced” requests under previous presidents.
According to the report, “Fifty-eight Trump administration appointees sought conversion from Jan. 1, 2020, to Jan 20, 2021, according to the Office of Personnel Management documents. Of those, 31 conversions were approved, six were denied, 15 were returned or withdrawn, and six remained pending,” before adding, “All but one of the 13 Trump administration political appointees who sought permanent civil service jobs in the weeks between President Joe Biden’s election and inauguration were not approved, according to the OPM reports obtained by NBC News for the last quarter of 2020 and the first 20 days of January.”
According to Max Stier, CEO of the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, “You can see in the number of non-approvals by OPM that there are a bunch of political appointees [who sought career jobs] that are clearly problematic. Why are these people only coming into these jobs only after the candidate who wanted them there has lost?”
The answer to that, the NBC report suggests ,is what is called “burrowing.”
“The latest disclosures reveal the extent to which Trump’s political appointees sought, in the former president’s final months, weeks and even days in office, to stay on in career government positions — a process some government watchdog groups called “burrowing.” Successful conversions would give Trump a legacy of influence in parts of the federal government that would endure far past his time in the White House,” NBC reports. “Experts interviewed by NBC News expressed concerns over the numbers and timing of political appointees seeking conversion to permanent jobs after the election in particular, as well as about the number of appointees who had previously applied for and were granted conversions after the election.”
“It’s a red flag when there are multiple people being converted to jobs at a single entity. It really raises an even larger concern,” Stier explained. “The process is supposed to be that a political appointee in no way has a leg up on the competition for a career job, but when you see multiple go to the same agency, you really have to wonder how it can be possible that the best qualified individuals are not once, but multiple times, people who are political appointees.”
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