When talking points are created or written, they seem to be automatically rejected by the opposition. Using the term “Deep State” will set a liberal’s hair on fire and cause them not to listen. The question is whether federal employees act in a manner of their choosing as opposed to following the wishes of the President and the presidential appointees. If there are government employees who act as though they are “above” supervision (by the person for whom you voted) you should be steamed. There are and it happens frequently.
I previously wrote about the Federal Government’s Senior Executive Service (SES). The government website states: “Members of the SES serve in the key positions just below the top Presidential appointees. SES members are the major link between these appointees and the rest of the Federal workforce. They operate and oversee nearly every government activity in approximately 75 Federal agencies.” Think Dr. Fauci. Not stated, however, is that they make a lot of money and cannot be fired. If they do not like what the presidential appointee says they can just nod their head, smile, walk away and do what they wish.
A study recently came out from the America First Policy Institute by James Sherk. See it here.
The study details how our public employees decided to do what they want. If you are a “never-Trumper” you may be celebrating this, but then you are just deluding yourself regarding how much of this goes on during Democrat administrations. Yes, most Washington federal employees are Democrats. Mostly they believe they are smarter and more knowledgeable than those of us in the big wasteland of America and we should follow their lead.
The relationship between the number of positions that an administration can control versus the overall workplace is minuscule. There are an estimated 3,800 positions under presidential control out of 2.2 million federal employees. This situation is made worse by the Senate confirmation process, which regularly drags on as operated today. As of this column’s timing, President Biden has named 516 appointments with 332 confirmations out of a total of 1,200 requiring Senate approval. This is over a year into his term.
Though the report repeatedly states that many of the staff “diligently and impartially” do their jobs, there are still a substantial number of miscreants. Their tactics are outlined as follows:
• Withholding information.
• Refusing to implement policies.
• Intentionally delaying or slow-walking priorities.
• Deliberately underperforming.
• Leaking to Congress and the media
• Outright insubordination.
There are many tales in the report supporting the above points. The personnel in two areas were significantly hostile. The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division and the EPA are the most obstreperous. As the reports cites, career employees treated Trump Administration appointees not as their bosses, but more “like an occupying army to be resisted.”
Under the category of withholding information, the report states this is a common tactic. “Career staff have agency-specific expertise. Career employees can frustrate that agenda simply by withholding their expertise or knowledge.” During the Trump years this was done frequently. National Labor Relation Board (NLRB) career staff presented case precedents to support their own positions as opposed to presenting cases supporting the Administration’s position or cases for both sides or the argument.
As a tangent to this there are documented cases of staff misrepresenting facts causing political appointees to circumvent them and do their own research. The report cites a particularly egregious case of the FDA doing this about COVID.
Then there are staff who just will not work on projects they ideologically disagree with. The report cites a case during the Obama Administration where DOJ staff refused to work on a case looking into Ivy league schools discriminating against Asians. Some perceive their employment positions are to advance their own political ideology.
Another trick up the sleeve of employees pursuing their own agenda is to produce a report that is so deficient it is junk. As stated in the report, “Draft regulations are complex documents with many legal facets. Sophisticated career staff can draft regulations that formally comply with their directives but are unlikely to withstand judicial review.” They waste our money in multiple ways pursuing their own needs. The report cites a case where experienced staff lawyers and top-level staff spent 30 days producing a report that had to be junked resulting in political appointees having to draft their own document.
Leaking information is a frequently used technique that a compliant press eats up, then refers to the source as “government experts.” Though the report identifies many cases of this, you lived through it yourself. Whenever reporters write “experts say,” whatever follows should be perceived as suspect.
And then there is the last bastion of the disloyal employee – outright intransigence or insubordination. If you cannot be fired and you think the department is your domain to be manipulated with your own political agenda, you resort to just saying “take a leap into the ocean” to your political appointee superior. Or simply ignore them.
The best case of this is that President Trump issued a hiring freeze when he came into office. At HHS, some staff just erased hire dates and changed them to January 19, 2017, the day before Trump took office.
We can go on and on and on, but you get the point. The report is easy to read and not that long. It is essential to understand how some federal employees have taken over major swathes of our government for their own means. Major civil service reform is in order, but doubtful, because Democrats receive so much money from federal employee unions. The idea of them being “public servants” has been thrown out the window.