House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, has followed up his recent query to OPM regarding “burrowing in” by individually asking two dozen major agencies about any such conversion of political appointees to career positions.
The letters ask those those agencies to disclose all such conversions since last September 1, the outcome of each pre-employment review, an explanation for each proposed conversion not approved, any cases in which the agency did not provide sufficient information to justify the employment action, broken down by agency, title, type of position, date of conversion, salary, and political position being vacated, and any corrective action requested by OPM.
Chaffetz also has asked GAO to keep an eye on the practice, which typically involves relatively few persons but is highly sensitive.
Meanwhile, Chaffetz was joined by Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland in asking many of the same agencies about compliance with Hatch Act restrictions on political activities–another long-running issue that gains added attention during election years—focusing on the activities of political appointees.
They asked for information including: how does the agency ensure compliance with the Hatch Act’s restrictions on political travel; how do they apportion costs incurred during travel that has both official and political components; how they handle travel requests from other government officials or offices; what political events have Senate-confirmed appointees traveled to this year, what events are any of them scheduled to attend, and whether such events are expected to have mixed official and political purposes.