Watchdog report shows ‘the swamp’ protects its own, agencies defied Trump EO intended to identify bad actors

It seems impossible to believe that a government agency would elect to simply disregard a direct order from the President of the United States, but according to a recent report from a government watchdog group, that’s exactly what the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did when they intentionally ignored former President Donald Trump’s executive order that established “Schedule F,” a new classification of federal employees that sought to make it easier to discipline and even fire employees who felt they were entitled to ignore the elected leader’s policies.

The order, one made just prior to Trump leaving office, came after members of the GOP complained that there were too many rogue federal employees who were “resisting” Trump’s efforts to make good on his promise to “drain the swamp,” according to Fox News Digital.

In its examination of the implementation of Schedule F, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that only 15 federal agencies lifted so much as a finger to follow through on Trump’s order before President Biden pulled the plug on it during his first week in office.

The EPA’s excuse for defying the president? They didn’t want to “upset” their employees.

“EPA officials stated that they did not have time to do the extensive work required to finalize their petition, and did not know if the E.O. would be applicable under the new administration,” the GAO reports. They also said their employees would be upset if they learned that EPA was submitting a petition.

Under the E.O., federal agencies were directed to identify those federal workers who should be classified under Schedule F. They were then to petition the White House to change the classification. Under the new measure, as many as 50,000 federal workers were expected to be reclassified.

That, of course, never happened.

In addition to the EPA, four other agencies — including the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) — failed to submit a petition, claiming they were still reviewing potential employees when Biden revoked the order.

One agency founded by former President Bill Clinton — AmeriCorps — joined five other agencies in claiming they had no workers who fit the Schedule F criteria. According to AmeriCorps, an agency tasked with increasing civic engagement through “service and volunteering,” insisted it “did not need the hiring or removal exceptions provided under Schedule F.”

Also declining to submit a Schedule F petition for lack of employees who fit the criteria were the Federal Maritime Commission, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the National Transportation Safety Board, the National Labor Relations Board, and, perhaps most notable given recent developments with former President Trump, the National Archives and Records Administration.

“Only the White House Office of Management and Budget and the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) submitted formal petitions to reclassify workers under Schedule F. OMB suggested placing 140 employees into that schedule, and the IBWC suggested five employees, just 2% of that agency’s workforce,” Fox News Digital reports.

Should Trump once again occupy the White House in 2024, Schedule F will likely once again be an issue — one Democrats for some reason seem intent on avoiding.

After Trump suggested he’d implement a new Schedule F if reelected, House Dems wrote and passed legislation earlier this month that bans the White House from restructuring the federal workforce. It’s now up to Senate Republicans to ensure the restrictive — and clearly self-serving — legislation does not become law.

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Melissa Fine

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