A new government report shows conclusively that there were at least 78 political appointments to “career positions” under former President Obama. The report states that these appointments “burrowed” themselves into position. “Burrowing” is a process by which those who are connected politically with the sitting President are (upon request of the President) given high-level government jobs that are career positions. These career placements are not among those NOT typically replaced when a new Administration takes over (hence the term burrowing).
Burrowers are generally frowned upon, as they are thought to be actively engaged in working against the new administration and in favor of the previous leading party. Barack Obama was not the only president to appoint burrowers. Under George W. Bush, 135 political appointees were given career jobs. Though not automatically assumed to be Deep State Burrowers, such appoints raise questions.
South Dakota Sen. John Thune was the man who requested the Government Accountability Office report in an effort “to make sure executive branch employees knew they were being watched for improper burrowing.” He said:
“Still, GAO determined that one out of every five attempts to move a political appointee into a career position was rejected as improper. Watchdogs need to stay vigilant, and I intend to seek more information about the individuals who may have led improper hiring initiatives.”
As reported on Fox News:
“Obama was warned in his final year against assigning political appointees to career jobs and was asked by Republicans to implement a hiring freeze to avoid keeping workers who opposed President Donald Trump’s policies.”
“Not only is ‘burrowing in’ unfair to applicants without an inside connection, it further contributes to the possibility that federal workers may attempt to undermine the policies of the new president,” Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Ron Johnson, R-Wis., wrote to then President Obama.
The “Obama Holdovers” case has been made time and time again, with many suggesting that these people are behind the almost unprecedented leaking taking place in the halls of government. Reports have been leaked about private conversations, documents leaked, and even cases of documents being tampered with and then released in an effort to frustrate President Trump’s agenda.
It is, as yet, unknown what kind of an impact these Burrowers have had, but all sides of the political spectrum should rightly be concerned that there are people who may be working against the democratic mandate of any administration. Critics suggest that evaluations be performed independently to ascertain if individuals appointed to career positions have been effectively carrying out their roles without undue bias.
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.