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GAO: Some 'burrowing' during Bush Years

By Ed O'Keefe

Democrats and Republican kick and scream during presidential transitions about the dangers of political appointees from the outgoing administration "burrowing" in to career agency positions, potentially derailing the well-laid plans of the new party in power. A Government Accountability Office report released today found 139 political appointees did just that between May 2005 and May 2009.

But just seven of them did so improperly and none of them occurred during the 2008 presidential election cycle, GAO said.

Most of the burrowing occurred at the Justice Department, where 32 officials converted to career positions. Another 17 did so at the Homeland Security Department. Most burrowers -- 117 -- followed "fair and open competition" rules, GAO said. Auditors couldn't compile enough information about 18 officials and then found the seven bad actors.

The seven Schedule C officials found career positions at the departments of Justice, Treasury and Veterans Affairs, the Air Force and Office of Special Counsel, GAO said.

(h/t TPM Muckraker)

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 29, 2010; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  Oversight, Revolving Door  
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none at the MMS?

Posted by: edismae | June 29, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

Seven "bad actors" is seven too many.

Knowing how many political appointees there are in total would give us a better perspective on how egregious (or not) 139 appointees switching over to career appointments is.

Posted by: pumor | June 29, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

no surprise here since the bushies are a bunch of rodents anyway, it is what they do

Posted by: calif-joe | June 29, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

If Barry the incompetent boob Obama is such a weak sister that he still does not have control of his own administration after 17 months in office, it demonstrates that Barry the inept bungler is unfit to lead our nation.

Miserable failure Obama

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 29, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

You're talking to non-insiders, please explain this issue in mainstream English.

@screwjob16: Are you older than 6?

Posted by: tjconnor | June 29, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Makes sense; chimpie always WAS fond of small, burrowing mammals like armadillos and the like.

Posted by: BattleOffSamar | June 29, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Oh, this is just terrible! I'm sure the Obama plants, I mean, appointees have no plans to do this! Oh, yawn! Yawn! Yawn! I think I'll stop reading the Post. It's all in my head anyway. Every article is all about blaming Bush! Yawn! Yawn!

Posted by: georges2 | June 29, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

So imagine when I saw the headline on Bush "Burrowing" Uncovered.

Wow! It's a scandal!

Then I read the story and it seems that only 5% of burrowing cases followed improper procedures. Seems like a vindication of 95% of Bush's officials to me.

The Post should be more careful with their headlines. Sensationalist headlines may be good for business, but it's not becoming of a "top tier" newspaper.

Posted by: diehardlib | June 29, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

All the Bush bashing will come back to get the WaPo one of these days.

Posted by: annnort | June 29, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Wow, what a bunch of knee-jerk crybabies commenting here. Using facts presented in the article you're reading to claim the article itself is unfair and biased the other way? Yeah, that's logical and not at all histrionic. All this article did was relay the findings of a GAO report, and nothing, including the title, was inaccurate. It states that some burrowing occurred during the Bush years, and it did. The very first sentence even begins with the caveat that this happens in administrations from both parties. So quit whining about bias and grow up.

Posted by: scabby | June 29, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

"Burrowing" (of Clinton plants) was blatently obvious throughtout the 8 years of Bush ... but I cannot remember outrage - or even an article uncovering it. They regularly sandbagged the Bush Administration plans from anything from releasing documents (even after the statute of limitations passed - we still cannot get results Clinton's physicals) to prosecution of the obviously Guilty in DOJ (remember William Jefferson and the $10,000 in his freezer). However, there is nothing illegal about filling a legtimate federal vacancy.

Posted by: IQ168 | June 29, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

They are all
bad actors" if they are bush appointes. Acording to every source pro and con the bushies chose people on ideology not qualifications. Just becase they followed rules to burrowin and try to undermine the Obama administration does not make them any less malfeasant. And the seven who sheated should have their feet held to the fire to see if they could possibly implicate any higher ups in the bush team. It is a travesty that none of the bush inner circle are in prison for their nefarious crimes.

Posted by: John1263 | June 29, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Funny, whe one uses the historical record about the bush administration it is called "bush bashing." Because one cannot talk about the conservative republicon presidency and the congress that was complicit in its policy agenda without it coming off negative, because it was.

However, there is a truely deranged group out there that rants and raves about socialism, Kenya, shredding the Constitution blah blah bvlah without a single shred of anything to back those claims, and THAT is blind and partisan bashing, and truely psychotic. You righties just can't stand the Barack Obama and the Democrats pulled the nation out of the burning building you set ablaze and left to burn, and you are depserate for a can of gas and a new pack of matches to finish the job.

Posted by: John1263 | June 29, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

I propose a little revolution in our thinking. Let us do away with Civil Service. It is now a tool to get your good old boys into office and keep them there to foul up the works for the opposition. Oh Wait! We tried that. It worked just as badly.

So here is another suggestion. Anyone signed on by the old administration, and not there as a career employee of any governmnet department should be fired at ... Oh dear. We tried that, too! Didn't work.

So, here's my new suggestion. Gather all the Bushies still in governmnet, ship them t Afghanistan, give the Taliban gack the stadium for a month, and let them torture and kill all the Bush holdovers. Osama bin Laden will come as a spectator, and we can kill the SOB at the same time. There. Two birds with one stone!

You can send your congratulations and money (Mexican Pesos only) to my PO box, just as soon as create one.

Posted by: agrossman1 | June 29, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Department of Justice? There no longer is a department of justice since Holder took over. He refused to prosecute the Blank Panthers even though there is documented proof; he wants to give terrorists rights; Holder refused an investigation into the Sestak and Romanoff bribes; Holder violated department protocols and colluded to keep the Justice Department out of the pardon deal with commodities trader Marc Rich. He apologized for that one.

Instead of worrying about "burrowing" Holder and the justice department need to be investigated.

Posted by: elby | June 29, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Justics Department -- Wanted to make sure they didn't get prosecuted for anything, and if anybody had any intent to try, they have their people in place so they'll be the first to know.

Posted by: lindalovejones | June 29, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Fire and prosecute all 7!

Posted by: witchofwestghent | June 29, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

WILL the seven Schedule C officials face CONSEQUENCES??

Posted by: concerned-one | June 29, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

This is the same Barack Obama who just two days after being elected created the fictitious Office Of The President-elect to show that Barry was large and in charge and not even going to wait until Inauguration Day. Here we are 17 dismal months into his presidency and Barry the inept stumblebum is still blaming his string of failures on the shadowy hand of George W. Bush, private citizen.

Miserable failure Obama

Posted by: screwjob16 | June 29, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's too much of Democratic cheerleader O'Keefe to discuss burrowing by Clintonites. Oh, no, that would not fit O'Keefe's agenda.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 29, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

This is just one more of the legacy items left by Dumbya to be a pain for us for years to come. NO, DUMBYA, YOU AIN'T BEING MISSED AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: ronjeske | June 29, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

It is truly sophomoric that so many comments are disrespectful in the addresses regarding our President. If President Obama had been "to the manner born" as was GHW Bush and GW Bush, or his hair was blond and eyes blue, would the anger and insults be so constant???

Posted by: janetal2004gmailcom | June 29, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

What I find scary is that above all other Professions, Professional Standards, and presumed professional competency, Lawyers seem to rate each other highest.

I always thought the Bard was right - "First, let's kill all the lawyers" - but I never quite connected that to "the banality of evil" before.

Posted by: gannon_dick | June 29, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

How does anything reported above by O'Keefe relate to the bashing of the Clinton, Bush (II), and Obama administrations by the majority of the commentors? Relevance obviously is not significant to these individuals. That said, it is good to know attention is given to such improper conduct, indicating transparency in the process. It is noteworthy however that no mention is made as to what the consequences will be for these seven "bad actors." Hopefully, they will be removed from their positions.

Posted by: TheghostofLennyBruce | June 29, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse


It is truly sophomoric that so many comments are disrespectful in the addresses regarding our President. If President Obama had been "to the manner born" as was GHW Bush and GW Bush, or his hair was blond and eyes blue, would the anger and insults be so constant???

Posted by: janetal2004gmailcom | June 29, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse "


Actually, the posters here are quite respectful compared to the posters who habitually referred to George W. Bush as a "chimp" or "Hitler." You have a short memory.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | June 29, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Government is too large. Time to trim the size of the Justice Department. Too bad for these recent hires. Smaller government and all that jazz.

Posted by: gjcomm | June 29, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Good job, fellas !! Now that you know how to do it, start finding them in the current administration(when the timing is right)!!!

Posted by: genefitzhugh | June 29, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh my gosh. When are you going to let Bush rest. Geez! Shall we talk about the latest allegation about Al Gore. :) He sure is quiet.

Posted by: Mimi21 | June 30, 2010 12:26 AM | Report abuse

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