The Trump administration has withdrawn the renomination of Carolyn Lerner to head the Office of Special Counsel, while whistleblower advocates in Congress have been pushing for her to continue in the job.
The OSC’s has several functions in federal personnel law, including to investigate and potentially bring disciplinary charges against employee for violating the Hatch Act limits on political activity. However, a more visible function is to do the same regarding allegations of whistleblower reprisal, and Lerner has received bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill in that area.
The bipartisan House Whistleblower Caucus recently urged the Senate to support her continuing in the position, and at a recent hearing bipartisan House leaders on civil service issues similarly recently lauded the OSC under her tenure.
Lerner began a five-year term in mid-2011 and President Obama administration, just before leaving office, proposed to continue her for another term. However, the Trump administration has withdrawn that nomination. That could turn out to be a routine step and she could yet be renominated again.
Legislation to strengthen OSC’s investigative powers also is pending in Congress.