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OMB staffer intimidated OPM's watchdog, will face disciplinary action

By Ed O'Keefe

An Office of Management and Budget staffer intimidated staffers for the Office of Personnel Management's top watchdog in violation of federal law, according to an OMB investigation completed late last week.

OMB Director Peter R. Orszag informed the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Friday that the career staffer will soon face disciplinary action concurrent with civil service laws.

OPM Inspector General Patrick E. McFarland alleged in January that OPM's budget office received a "not so veiled threat from OMB" against telling Congress of concerns about its budget.

Such guidance would violate a 2008 law that allows federal watchdogs to inform Congress if they believe their proposed budgets would inhibit oversight duties. The law was designed to protect watchdogs from top agency officials who might slash their budgets in retaliation for hard-hitting investigations.

"Such communication is unacceptable at OMB," Orszag said in a letter to lawmakers.

OMB's investigation and the Council on Integrity and Efficiency for Inspectors General determined that the incident appears to be isolated, Orszag said. CIGIE represents the more than five dozen federal watchdogs and is chaired by OMB Deputy Director Jeffrey Zients.

By Ed O'Keefe  | March 8, 2010; 5:27 PM ET
Categories:  Oversight  
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Is there anything more pathetic than a Bureaucrat Fight?

Posted by: member5 | March 8, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I surely don't know what is going on here and each news report makes it harder to understand. A OMB staffer threaten to slash OPM budget because OPM refused to release what information about their budget. So confusing!

"...believe their proposed budgets would inhibit oversight duties." So OPM may have been asking for funds for their oversight duties? We have a law that allows agencies to HIDE budget fund requests because it is related to oversight duties?

I am so confused with this... I realize I am not an attorney. But I sure wish some reporter would explain what this issue is all about. A OMB staffer threaten to slash OPM oversight funds because of what? Because OPM refused to reveal what it was for?


Posted by: darbyohara | March 9, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

No, there is nothing more pathetic than a bureaucrat fight! What a bunch of crybabies....

And I had trouble with all the initialling too. Government loves their acronyms because then nobody knows what they hell they're talking about most of the time! I know; I work for a government agency.

Posted by: janeflaherty1 | March 9, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

What about the naked, shouting, threatening Rham Emanuel - who pointed his finger in to the chest of the congressman who resigned?

Isn't that coercion or threatening?

Oh, I forgot - anything goes if you are Obama's right-hand man.

Posted by: easttxisfreaky | March 9, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

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