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Connolly Statement on GAO Report on Political Burrowing

Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology, and Government Innovation, released the following statement regarding today’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) oversight of agencies’ hiring of political appointees into career positions, a practice known as “burrowing.”


“I remain committed to protecting the civil service from partisan attacks and attempts to replace qualified experts with political loyalists committed to destroying the very agencies they serve. Since 1883, our country has had a long and proud history of using a distinguished merit based system to select qualified employees to serve in our federal workforce. This workforce is the engine that provides every basic government service—from delivering the mail to helping families in the wake of natural disasters. Without the civil service’s tested and trusted experience and expertise, our country could not function the way the American people expect it to. I call on OPM to continue to work towards GAO’s recommendations to provide more public information on the hiring of political appointees.”


Congressman Connolly has led the charge to prevent politicization of the federal service, particularly by former President Donald Trump. He joined Democratic committee chairs in seeking an account of political appointees burrowing into career positions at the end of the Trump Administration. He is the author of the bipartisan Saving the Civil Service Act, which protects the federal workforce from politicization and political manipulation by ensuring no president could resurrect President Trump’s efforts to purge the civil service and replace career experts with partisan loyalists. Connolly outlined the importance of stopping Trump’s plans in an October 2022 OpEd for the Washington Post.

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