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House Chairs Seek Accounting of Political Appointees Burrowing into Career Positions at Dozens of Agencies

Today, House Committee Chairs sent a letter to 61 federal agencies requesting information on conversions of political appointees to civil service positions during the Trump Administration.

“Protecting the nonpartisan expertise of the career civil service is essential to the safety and security of the American people,” the Chairs wrote.  “The merit system principles of the federal workforce put in place guardrails to ensure that competitive service requirements are not bypassed to inappropriately place political appointees in permanent career service positions.” 

Federal law requires that personnel actions are carried out in a way that the “selection and advancement” of employees in the civil service are “determined solely on the basis of relative ability, knowledge, and skills, after fair and open competition,” rather than on the basis of “partisan political purposes.”

In accordance with civil service protections, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) requires all agencies to seek its “approval prior to appointing any current or former political appointee to a permanent position … in the civil service.”  Following such requests, OPM reviews proposed selections to determine whether conversions are appropriate

“We are also seeking a full accounting of any positions converted, or being considered for conversion, under the new Schedule F recently created though Executive Order 13957,” the Chairs added.  “The creation of this schedule would be a dramatic change in the composition of the civil service and expose it to undue political influence and intimidation.   It is critical that Congress receive timely information about any potential and actual conversions made pursuant to this Executive Order.”  

Today’s letter was signed by:

Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Carolyn B. Maloney

Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters

Agriculture Committee Chair Collin Peterson

Appropriations Committee Chair Nita M. Lowey

Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith

Budget Committee Chair John Yarmuth

Committee on House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren

Education and Labor Committee Chair Robert C. “Bobby” Scott

Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone, Jr.

Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel

Homeland Security Committee Chair Bennie G. Thompson

Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chair Adam B. Schiff

Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler

Natural Resources Committee Chair Raúl M. Grijalva

Rules Committee Chair James P. McGovern

Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson

Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Chair Kathy Castor

Small Business Committee Chair Nydia M. Velázquez

Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair Peter A. DeFazio

Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chair Mark Takano

Ways & Means Committee Chair Richard E. Neal

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Al Green

Subcommittee on Government Operations Chair Gerald E. Connolly

Click here to read today’s letter.

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