Civil Servants Under Fire
Here’s Alice Ollstein’s look at a critical issue we’re going to be closely focused on in the months and (unfortunately) years to come: the effort to purge the federal bureaucracy of experts, non-Conservative loyalists and, today, those who are not personally loyal to Donald Trump. The story has taken on a distinct coloration today under Donald Trump since his war against the ‘deep state’ is so tightly focused on protecting himself from personal prosecution. But it has decades’ old roots. And a central player is Newt Gingrich, who was at this thirty-plus years ago and now is closely advising and egging on Donald Trump to force or in many cases simply allow purges across the board. Trump isn’t an ideologue like Gingrich. But he only understands loyalism and he will do anything to protect himself from the law. So he’s a perfect partner for Gingrich’s quest to make the federal government more corrupt, ideological, ineffectual and stupid. Give this a read; and if you’re part of the federal workforce and you see things we want to hear.
Yesterday morning, we published a scoop by Alice Ollstein: Congressional Democrats, she reported, are demanding an investigation into Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s order last summer to reassign dozens of top-level DOI career employees. His choice of who to reassign, Democrats allege, may have been racially discriminatory, in addition to being politically motivated. Government investigators are also currently looking into whether these reassignments may have broken laws protecting civil servants.
Alice’s reporting is part of TPM’s longterm focus on how the Trump administration treats civil servants, and whether the administration is choosing who to fire and reassign with political objectives in mind. That would be illegal.
Thinking big picture, why does this story matter? In a Prime post, Alice digs into one reason: If investigators uphold Zinke’s decision to reassign and marginalize DOI employees, one whistleblower told her, it could give the green light for a government-wide purge.