Legislation Aims to Stop Political ‘Burrowing’

A recently introduced House bill aims to end the practice of “burrowing” by political appointees into senior-level civil service positions.

Legislation has been introduced in the House which aims to end the practice of “burrowing,” a practice by which non-career, political appointees into senior-level civil service positions.

The bill, known as the Political Appointee Burrowing Prevention Act (H.R. 1132), was introduced by Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) and is currently co-sponsored by Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Jared Polis (D-CO).

Buck says that the purpose of the bill is to ensure that federal civil service hiring standards remain solely merit based rather than becoming political in nature by being based on what the Congressman described as “political favors.”

The legislation would establish a two-year prohibition on certain non-career political appointees accepting career positions in the federal civil service.

Buck said in a statement:

A political appointment is a privilege that carries with it the responsibility of serving your country. Part of serving your country means stepping down at the end of your term of service, and this bill simply enforces that expectation. Without this bill as a safeguard, political appointees can embed across our bureaucracy, carrying on the agenda of their appointing president long after voters have chosen a new direction.

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Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.