WASHINGTON, D.C. – Government watchdog Accountable.US released a new report spotlighting the at least 24 Trump administration political appointees that have burrowed into long-term civil service jobs in the Biden administration in positions that could undermine the president’s recovery efforts. This includes at least four figures in the national security apparatus, nine figures with environmental regulators, three figures in the Justice Department, and two figures in the embattled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In addition, during the Trump administration’s unceremonious final days following the 2020 election, it announced 187 last-minute appointments to various boards, commissions, and councils that did not require Senate confirmation. The appointments followed the outgoing administration’s reported “quiet push to salt federal agencies with Trump loyalists.”
“When Donald Trump wasn’t busy undermining democracy in his final days in office, he was packing the government with far-right extremists and industry stooges eager to pursue an agenda of obstruction,” said Accountable.US president Kyle Herrig. “Because many of these positions fly under the radar, having them filled with antagonists of the Biden administration could sabotage progress on the many crises we’re grappling with.”
This is the first major report of government watchdog Accountable.US’s new project bringing attention to Trump administration holdovers and burrowers in government. The effort includes a database of FOIA requests to federal government departments and agencies for correspondence with the Office of Personnel Management seeking conversion for government employees in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, letters were sent to key Congressional committees calling on them to release the names of the individuals seeking more permanent civil service positions, in the name of transparency and accountability.
Following the Trump administration pattern of personnel picks directly conflicting with the offices they served, the report found many of the late Trump appointments are woefully underqualified or have histories directly at odds with the positions to which they were named. These figures include:
- Marcus Bachmann—The Husband Of Former Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) Accused Of Running “‘Pray Away The Gay’” Clinics And Cited For Failing To Keep Patients’ Developmental Condition Records—Was Named To The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- Ezra Cohen Watnick—Who Rose To Power By Being A Loyalist To Michael Flynn And Helped Trump Combat Russian Collusion Allegations By Developing Conspiracy Theories—Was Named To The Public Interest Declassification Board, Which Helps Declassify Intelligence Information
- Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s Controversial Former Senior Advisor, Was Appointed To The U.S. Air Force Academy Board Of Visitors
- Elaine Chao, Former Trump Treasury Secretary And Wife Of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Was Appointed To The John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts Board Of Trustees
- Russ Vought, Former Trump OMB Director And Pro-Trump Ideologue, Was Appointed To The U.S. Naval Academy Board Of Visitors
- Douglas MacGregor—Who Has “A History Of Making Xenophobic And Racist Comments About Immigrants,” Who Called On The U.S. To “‘Shoot People’” At The Mexican Border, And Who Sided With Russia In Its Illegal Annexation Of Crimea—Was Named To The Board Of Visitors To The United States Military Academy (West Point)
- David Legates—An Academic Who Has Called Climate Change Scientists “Alarmists And Charlatans” And Is A Member Of The Fossil Fuel Friendly Heartland Institute—Was Named To The President’s Committee On The National Medal Of Science
- John Yoo—Trump Adviser, Ardent Trump Supporter, And Author Of The George W. Bush “Torture Memos”—Was Named To The National Board for Education Sciences Board Of Directors