Posted by Erick Erickson
Please see the update at the bottom of this post. — Erick
Via Instapundit comes word that the federal government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) intends to purge the federal government of Republican civil servants all in the name of purify the federal bureaucracy.
You can read the OPM memo here.
It is a typical Washington process that many political appointees are able to take jobs within the civil service once their political appointment expires — usually at the conclusion of one administration. What often happens as well is Congressional staffers, before an election or shortly thereafter, will move over to the Executive Branch placed into the civil service, in effect, by appointment.
So, for example, when George Bush became President in 2001, a number of Clinton political appointees became civil service employees. As a result, they became subject to civil service hiring and firing rules, which meant they could no longer be replaced simply for having been a Democratic appointee.
Barack Obama is changing that. He intends to purge all Republicans from the federal bureaucracy retroactive to five years ago.
Under his new rules, made retroactive for five years, the Office of Personnel Management will examine civil service employees who got their start as political appointees in the Bush administration and terminate those employees. The order is retroactive to 2004, that moment when a number of Republican congressional staffers and others sought to embed into the second Bush administration right after the election.
According to John Berry, the Director of OPM:
Beginning January 1, 2010, agencies must seek prior approval from OPM before they can appoint a current or recent political appointee to a competitive or non-political excepted service position at any level under the provisions of title 5, United States Code. OPM will review these proposed appointments to ensure they comply with merit system principles and applicable civil service laws. I have delegated decisionmaking authority over these matters to career Senior Executives at OPM to avoid any hint of political influence.
The memorandum goes on to apply this change to civil servants who were political appointees in the last five years, in effect freezing these employees out of other positions, denying them promotions, and forcing them out of their jobs.
No one is allowed to stand in the way of Barack Obama’s agenda, including his own bureaucracy. This is what happens in third world kleptocracies and totalitarian regimes.
This is scary stuff.
Just for perspective: remember the Democrats threatened to throw Bush administration people in jail for firing United States Attorneys who happened to be Democrats. In that case, it was clear as crystal that U.S. Attorneys serve at the pleasure of the President and he can fire them whenever he wants. In this case, these people are now civil service employees who do not serve at the pleasure of the President and cannot be fired just because they are Republicans. in fact, the law is very clear on that point.
UPDATE: Media Matters and the left came out quickly to deny this one. That in and of itself means we hit the nail on the head. But because it is painfully obvious the guys at Media Matters are ignorant about what’s happening and just feel the need to viscerally defend everything Obama does, let’s explain this.
The administration is going to review the merit qualifications of political appointees. What that means is that if the administration finds any irregularities in moving a political appointee into the merit based system, including not being the best pick for the job when they were put into the job five years ago, the administration can freeze them out and given them the boot. In every political system, political appointees are placed into the civil service based on who they know, regardless of their overall merit for the job. It just happens. So now the Obama administration will look at every minor technicality as a way to boot Republicans. And the Republicans will not be able to sue until after they have made their way through the administrative process, including administrative law judge types appointed by Obama. And then it’ll typically be an appeal with a record already built up under Obama appointees unfavorable to the terminated employee.