Politics

Rogue Federal Bureaucrats Threaten Trump’s Agenda

from – The Daily Signal – by Fred Lucas

Recent scandals in the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Internal Revenue Service demonstrated that it’s almost impossible to fire federal employees, many of whom reportedly intend to go rogue by not implementing President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Conservatives are hopeful the time has come for civil service reform that would rein in this permanent class of government workers who have voiced outright hostility to the new administration. Some have even called it the “fourth branch of government” or “alt-government.”

“This is a situation where people voted and elected a president who is lawfully trying to complete those tasks [he promised in the campaign], while unelected bureaucrats are willing to overturn the will of the people,” Ben Wilterdink, director of the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) Task Force on Commerce, Insurance and Economic Development, told The Daily Signal.

Among federal employees, about 95 percent of political contributions went to Democrat Hillary Clinton during the presidential race, according to an analysis by The Hill.

Some of those federal workers are now in consultation with departed Obama administration officials to determine how they can push back against the Trump administration’s agenda, The Washington Post reported last week.

At the State Department, for example, nearly 1,000 government workers signed a letter protesting Trump’s executive order on refugees. A few days later, Trump had to fire acting Attorney General Sally Yates after she announced she wouldn’t defend the administration’s refugee policy.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said State Department employees who oppose the policy “should either get with the program, or they can go.”

“If a federal employee doesn’t like the ideological foundation or likely outcomes of a presidential directive, it doesn’t mean that the directive is not legal. It means that the views of the federal employee are in conflict with the views of the president who runs the federal government,” said Neil Siefring, vice president of Hilltop Advocacy and a former Republican House staffer, in a column for The Daily Caller.

“In that instance,” Siefring added, “the solution should not be to resist the actions of the president in their professional capacity as a career civil servant in the workplace. The solution is for that federal employee to honorably resign, not actively or passively hamper the White House.”

What if an employee won’t resign? Addressing the problem with the federal workforce won’t be easy, according to experts interviewed by The Daily Signal.

“You can fire federal employees, it’s just that nobody wants to put up with the process,” Don Devine, former director of the Office of Personnel Management during the Reagan administration, told The Daily Signal.

Multiple appeals can be made through the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the National Labor Relations Board.

“It’s almost impossible to discipline employees because it can be appealed to through the merit system, the labor relations systems, or through the EEOC,” Devine said. “We don’t have a civil service system; we have a dual civil service-labor relations system.”

During the Obama administration, two of its biggest scandals involved the IRS and Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2013, a Treasury Department inspector general report determined the IRS had been targeting conservative groups. In 2014, a VA inspector general’s report revealed falsified appointments in which some veterans died while waiting for care.

Years later, conservatives remain frustrated that federal workers weren’t held accountable.

“I will take your IRS employees and raise you the EPA, where story after story, a worker was viewing porn on work time and couldn’t be fired because the process is fraught with appeals,” Wilterdink said. “It’s hard to argue we have an accountable government when someone can’t be fired for years at a time.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. House revived the Holman Rule, named after a Democrat congressman who introduced it in 1876. It would allow lawmakers to cut the pay of individual federal workers or a government program.

There are other proposals for holding federal workers accountable. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, introduced a bill in January to hold seriously tax delinquent people ineligible for federal civilian employment, federal contracts, or government grants. This bill was proposed in response to IRS data that found more than 100,000 federal civilian employees owed more than $1 billion in unpaid taxes at the end of fiscal year 2015.

Adding to the challenge is the process commonly known as burrowing. Frequently, political appointees from one administration convert to a career position that comes with civil service protections, allowing them to continue implementing policy—or resisting the new administration’s approach.

The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 was passed to stop raw political party appointments from securing federal government jobs, or a spoils system. The law introduced the merit system into hiring practices and made numerous civil service positions untouchable after they were filled.

However, burrowing has caused a de facto spoils system, Wilterdink said, because, “the pendulum has swung so far to protecting federal employees” that it allows administrations to keep their people in office long term.

Significant reform doesn’t mean recreating a spoils system, according to Robert Moffit, a senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation who was an assistant Office of Personnel Management director during the Reagan administration. Moffit said a balanced approach would be more desirable.

“You need to have strong managers in each agency to make sure the president’s agenda is properly executed,” Moffit told The Daily Signal. “You must also have a bright line between career and non-career staff so there is no politicization of the merit system.”

Moffit also supports legislation to allow the president to order the firing of career officials who either “broke the law or severely undermined the public’s trust.”

“Even President [Barack] Obama referred to what IRS officials did as outrageous and nothing happened,” Moffit said. “The VA matter is still unresolved. The people responsible for those waiting lists aren’t accountable and people died.”


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Pamela Azar
5 years ago

Lincoln fired 1,500+ (DEM) gov workers + cut down buerocrcy by 80pct when he entered office because he knew they would frustrate implementing his agenda. Trump should consider doing the same thing. Like the Wall it will take time / money but it fed gov needs to be pruned of socialists and worse to make lasting changes to secure the Republic.

Felix Guerrera
5 years ago

What does it take to make true GOD fearing people to understand that we live under the power of darkness ? Which just happens to be the Devil ( Lucifer). Why do you , if you believe in the Blessed Trinity that is GOD THE FATHER , GOD THE SON , GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT , continue to leave the ALMIGHTY out of the equasion of eternal life ? Are you not aware that you may be a child of GOD ? If you are not aware , that even though he loves you , he gave you the choice to choose RIGHT from WRONG ! When we first opened our eyes at birth we were BRAINWASHED by the continual EVIL and SATANIC surroundings we even today live under ! DAY IN AND DAY OUT WE CONTINUALLY ENDURE THE EFFORTS OF THOSE THAT CHOOSE TO BE DECIPLES OF THE DEVIL! THIS IS REASON WE IN ARE IN CONFLIICT TODAY ! FOR YEARS NOW, I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET THE PEOPLE TO REALIZE WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR WORLD AND WHY BUT IT WAS ALWAYS REMOVED IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, THE DEVIL IS FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE ! NO ONE WAS PRIVLEDGED TO KNOW WHEN THE SON OF MAN WOULD APPEAR HERE ON EARTH , NOT EVEN JESUS HIMSELF KNEW ! HOWEVER , WE HAVE NEVER WITNESS WHAT WE ARE EXPERIENCING TODAY AND THE LORD SAID “i COME QUICKLY” I BELIEVE WE ARE ASOUT TO WITNESS HIS COMING ! GET READY ! ATTACH YOURSELF TO ALL THAT IS GOOD AND WORTHY ! PRESIDENT TRUMP, THOUGH MANY ARE NOT SATISFIED WITH HIS WORDS OF REPLIES ,HIS INTENT TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD FOR ALL WE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE TOLERATED UNTIL TO WE SEE THE FRUITS OF HIS LABOR ! WE CAN LEAD A HORSE TO WATER BUT CAN’T MAKE IT DRINK UNLESS IT IS TO HIS OR HER SATISFACTION ? THANK YOU AMAC FOR ALLOWING THIS MESSAGE TO REACH THE PEOPLE. MEMBER 259706-1 12/6/2013 TO 1/6/2018

Big Deal
5 years ago

The VA scandal is the best anti-government healthcare argument there is, but I don’t hear anyone pointing it out. We do not need some fat bureaucrat sitting behind a green desk making decisions as to which Doctor we will see or what procedure will be allowed. Repeal and do not REPLACE Obama care because any government involvement will just be creating another VA mess. Remember “He who pays the piper calls the tune.”

Ronald Lee
5 years ago

Most government agencies are bloated with overhead people. Downsize all overhead areas and the people will be automatically ‘fired’. This is a win-win situation.

General Bull Krapper
5 years ago

Why can’t these hacks be given assignments, in writing, that ya know they’ll refuse to carry out. First time = a warning. Second = a suspension. Finally, a third would be termination. That’s the rule used in my 30 years as a commercial printing supervisor. Either get on board, or get the boot!

STAY WELL, SAFE, FREE & BRAVE!

Earl Belz
5 years ago

I just retired from a job at the largest defense contractor in the world. After 35 years I retired and my number one reason for leaving was that I was tired of dealing with un-managed dysfunctional federal government DCMA ( Defense Contract Management t Agency) employees. They are rogue employees that come and go as they please. They sit at their desks surfing the Internet, reading the paper or what ever they please even though in many cases we we at a stop on the aircraft production line waiting for one or more to mozy out and look at the installation before we could proceed. It may be hard to terminate one of these Mavericks but it just takes a supervisor with some leadership and ethics to start the process. The supervisors are selected by length of service (that includes active military duty ) and not necessarily by past performance or leadership qualities. Because they are Federal Government employees extra bonus points are scored on the promotion process if you are one of the now multiple groups designated as special interest. In addition to all of the Federal Government holidays they observe, they are given two hours a week to ” exercise”, which includes golf. Their shift is eight hours total and within that 8 hours they take breakfast and lunch so the contractor might get a six hour window in which to conduct business with the government workers. They have no accountability within their ranks. Just like the Federal Government. Disfunction is acceptable.

Jarhead
5 years ago

FED/GOV employees do NOT go to prison for crimes……they can be transferred, or sent home on FULL pay for YEARS, can receive huge cash bonuses, higher than going rate for job, numerous enormous perks and job security continue, etc., etc. just look at the massively corrupt VA for evidence that CRIME DOES PAY !

JAMES SMITH
5 years ago

Why can’t you assign the bureaucrats that won’t do their job to a less authoritative position where they can’t cause harm? The VA administrators that knowingly and willfully altered records and procedures to cause the death of veterans, should be charged with manslaughter and prosecuted. There needs to be some protection for civil employees, but what is going on now is DAMN ridicules.

Jim
5 years ago

I believe that this is what is meant as Draining the Swamp eliminating unnecessary bureaucrats especially those who obstruct. If not terminated they can be assigned to an office with a window and no authority, no phone, no computer, and no cellphone reception !!

Felix Guerrera
5 years ago

OK AMAC, This is the second reply I tried to send to benefit you , the PRESIDENT, and the People! You choose to ignore anything Spiritual before reading the ending that would benefit you! SO BE IT ! Your success is on your head ! Not mine !

Sharon H
5 years ago

It seems to me that appointees in positions other than the judiciary should go with the administration that appointed them! If they want to continue as a federal employee, they should go through the process of submitting applications and resumes. It just doesn’t make sense to have people in positions of policy making who are antagonistic to current administration. I think many of the appointed positions could, and should be, eliminated!

Teri Smith
5 years ago

Privatize is the way to go with the VA. The government inertia is just plain evil. President Trump is a clever man. Perhaps he will have a unique strategy that can be considered from his business experience. It is getting more and more difficult to get people to do their jobs. Very alarming

John B
5 years ago

Very good article. I’m sure President Trump is frustrated by the DEMs stalling and their extensive hold-ups of candidates for his assigned positions. DC is getting to be nothing more than a kindergarten whining pen…

Bob L.
5 years ago

If President Reagan could and did fire air traffic controllers, there is no reason why any other federal “employees”, be they hired or appointed can’t be fired as well.

Part of “draining the swamp” should include eradicating the vile creatures lurking there.

Teri Smith
5 years ago
Reply to  Bob L.

I agree and was thinking about when Reagan did that. It was brilliant

Sharon H
5 years ago
Reply to  Bob L.

Don’t forget the power of the communist and Soros backed unions. FDR was right about civil service employees being unionized. But lazy people who feel entitled to a paycheck without Having to do the work keep the unions going. And government employees who don’t want to join the union still have union dues deducted from their pay….this helps to keep the union coffers full so they can promote their agenda and their political hacks!

Peter J Barillaro
5 years ago

Could it be that the time has come for a secretary of federal employee management? The entire job description would be to find and eliminate employees who intentionally defy the president’s directives and authority. Maybe just stop paying them and eventually they’ll stop showing up. Wishful thinking… I guess

John Degges
5 years ago

Another secretary? God forbid; there are entirely too many already.

PaulE
5 years ago

Excellent article outlining, for those currently unaware of how rampant this issue is, as to how those dedicated to ensuring the advancement of the progressive agenda have been using the federal civil service system for decades. All to create a permanent, taxpayer-funded opposition group embedded in our government designed to subvert any attempts to rollback the gains Socialists have made over the last century of American Progressivism and, in the cases of the IRS and other federal agencies, use the power of the federal government against any American citizen or group that potentially might be viewed as a threat to the progressive agenda.

For anyone who erroneously believes this situation started with the Obama administration, they would be wrong. While Obama certainly stepped up the overt actions used by various federal agencies to advance socialism and punish those in opposition to the progressive agenda, all the federal employees identified and involved in these actions have been in the employ, in many cases, of the federal government for decades. So it would be safe to assume that the number of like-minded Progressives (Socialists) that exist in the federal government, under the protection of civil service, would number in the tens or even hundreds of thousands.

Hen3ry H
5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

I lived in DC during the 70’s. Enjoyed it then. Not too big. Lots to do. Manageable traffic.
Now. Crazy Over Built Up.
Must be our taxpayer money, lobbyist influence and entrenched bureaucratss.
They will of course defend and expand their turf.
At our expense.

Sandy
5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

So, is this the so called “secret” government I have seen reported by some actual news media? Just wondering considering this has been going on for so long.

Hen3ry H
5 years ago
Reply to  Sandy

The unelected 4th branch of the leviathan
Way Too Much Power

Lee McQuillen
5 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

In essence then, this is another form of tenure. Both need to be ended. Merit is all that counts, not even seniority. Again, you beautifully explained the problem as well as how the system works.

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