Federal Eye: GAO: Some ‘burrowing’ during Bush Years

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 set for release 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.

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