Following the outgoing administration’s “quiet push to salt federal agencies with Trump loyalists,” an Accountable.US review has found that, as of February 22, 2021, at least 24 Trump administration political appointees have “burrowed” into long-term civil service jobs in the new Biden administration. This includes at least four figures in the national security apparatus, nine figures with environmental regulators, three figures in the Department of Justice, two figures in the embattled Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and at least six other appointees elsewhere who have refused to step down in the transition.
Burrowing of this sort is not treated lightly, as officials who transfer from political appointments to career positions must undergo scrutiny by federal personnel overseers for a full five years—and some of these cases have been found to violate federal laws and have drawn congressional scrutiny.
However, there is a much wider slate of concerning Trump administration appointments that are not subject to such strict oversight:
During the Trump administration’s waning days following the 2020 election, it announced 187 last-minute appointments to various boards, commissions, and councils that don’t require Senate confirmation. While some of these appointments have already drawn alarm for going to campaign staffers, megadonors, and top administration allies, Accountable.US has unearthed even more troubling names in Trump’s outgoing deluge. Similar to how early Trump administration personnel picks were directly conflicted against the offices they served, many of these late Trump appointments are woefully underqualified or have histories directly at odds with the positions to which they were named—and they are likely to stay in long into the Biden administration.