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FOIA RequestPress Release | September 1, 2020

Revolving Door Project Seeks to Uncover Politicization of Career Hiring Under Trump

Ethics in GovernmentGovernment Capacity


Contact: Jeff Hauser, hauser@cepr.net, (202) 957 – 9719

Today, the Revolving Door Project is introducing a new initiative to uncover and draw attention to the ways the Trump administration may be seeking to interfere with the federal government’s ability to effectively serve the public interest over the long-term. RDP has issued Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the resumes of new hires at 10 federal departments and agencies. We seek to determine if hiring for career positions has been subjected to political influence. It is our hope that, by identifying potential instances of politicization, we can build political support for efforts to reverse any damage. 

Many of our society’s most basic functions depend on the tireless work of over 2 million career officials who ensure that the federal government fulfills its mandates, no matter the party that occupies the White House. One need only look to the chaos that has resulted from this administration’s attacks on the Postal Service – from prescription drugs delayed, to small businesses’ suffering doubly from the pandemic and slowed delivery services – to understand how essential these people and structures are to our daily lives. Any partisan effort to overtake corners of this workforce represents a troubling threat to good governance, now and into the future. 

From its earliest days, the Trump administration has made clear that it respects neither the norms nor the legal safeguards that make effective, responsive, expert governance possible. When it comes to political appointments, it has consistently trampled these standards in the open for all to see. This should lead to serious concerns about what the administration has done to career hiring out of the public eye.

And yet Congressional Democrats have been, with rare and appreciated exceptions like Chairwoman Maxine Waters, slow to fulfill their oversight responsibilities. Rather than turning a blind eye to clandestine attacks or merely guessing at their scope and threat, the Revolving Door Project is working hard to bring the existence and nature of any such assaults to light. Only by fully understanding the damage that President Trump’s administration has wrought will lawmakers be prepared to reverse it.


Ethics in GovernmentGovernment Capacity

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