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For Immediate Release


Jayson O’Neill (406) 200-8582

Press Release

Dozens of Trump’s Political Appointees Have Already Burrowed into Career Federal Positions

Lame-Duck Burrowing and Hiring: Trump’s Tactic to Derail New Biden Administration

Yesterday, E&E News reported that dozens of Trump’s political appointees are “burrowing” into civil servant positions within the federal government. Burrowing is a term used to describe appointed political officials transferring to career positions. Trump’s controversial Bureau of Land Management appointee William Pendley also recently announced the hiring of an assistant director for the National Landscape Conservation System that begins only weeks before the new administration takes office.

“Trump’s corrupt political appointees are jumping headfirst into career positions across the federal government to delay and derail the new administration’s plans to clean up this administration’s mess. After four long years of corruption and mismanagement, it’s a concerning trend that Trump’s appointees are burrowing into career positions and staying on federal payroll,” said Accountable.US spokesperson Jayson O’Neill.
At least 42 Trump officials have applied to become career officials through the first three quarters of 2020, including former appointees moving into career positions within the Department of the Interior. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) produces quarterly reports on classification changes in the last year of a presidential term. ProPublica obtained and published these quarterly reports.
The number of Trump appointees that burrow into career positions is expected to jump precipitously in the fourth quarter. News broke in The Hill earlier this week that two high profile Trump appointees, Kellyanne Conway and Elaine Chao, had been moved into career government positions. A previous Government Office of Accountability report found that 78 former Obama appointees and 130 former George W. Bush appointees transferred into career positions.
Today, the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations will be holding a hearing on the truncated presidential transition after the Trump administration obstructed the Biden team due to the president's baseless challenges of the election results. The subcommittee is expected to review Trump appointees’ burrowing into career positions.


Accountable.US is a nonpartisan watchdog that exposes corruption in public life and holds government officials and corporate special interests accountable by bringing their influence and misconduct to light. In doing so, we make way for policies that advance the interests of all Americans, not just the rich and powerful. 

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