Peter Sperry

The problem is exacerbated by perceptions among the political class that certain agencies lean left or right and the career staff cannot be fully trusted to implement policies of the opposite party, provide unbiased advice or refrain from leaking sensitive predecisional discussions. The perceptions are strengthened by the fact they are entirely too accurate entirely too often.

Rightly or wrongly, the Justice is perceived by many on the right as being a liberal enclave whose career lawyers still genuflect to portraits of Robert Kennedy and self perpetuate liberal bias in the hiring process. Consequently, political appointees of Republican administrations tend to provide greater “oversight” to the hiring process than may be appreciated by existing career staff.

Liberals tend to have mirror views of the career staff at DoD and the intel community.

As a current career employee, I strive for neutral objectivity in support of the administration’s agenda and have actually been cautioned about over compensating for my personal conservative views. One colleague told me I was a more effective advocate of White House policy than the political appointees in our agency. I took that as a complement but only during working hours.

As a former political appointee and Congressional staffer, I quickly learned that about 60-70% of government employees simply do not care one way or the other about ideology. About 15-20% care but can be trusted to put professional ethics ahead of personal ideology and about 15-20% consider government employment a vehicle for expressing their ideology. Political appointees of any party are always going to monitor the hiring process to limit the size of the last group or at least see that it leans in their direction. It is both human nature and good management.