Leandra English’s fight to be named acting director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has led the House of Representatives to pass a bill that would prevent political appointees from “burrowing in” and becoming career civil servants.
There were 78 such instances during a six-year period of former President Barack Obama’s administration, where an individual who was appointed to a position which carried a certain term length switched jobs before the end of the term to a job that allowed the individual to remain in the civil service, possibly for life.
The bill, which was passed earlier this week, would force a two-year “cooling off” period for appointees that wanted to come back and work in the federal government. After the two years have passed, the head of an agency seeking to hire a former political appointee must submit a written request to the Office of Personnel Management to explain why the hiring of the former political appointee is necessary to achieve the agency’s mission, according to the release.
Before joining the CFPB, English worked at the Office of Personnel Management. She left the OPM to join the CFPB shortly before former president Obama’s term ended and president Donald Trump took office. That conversion is being cited as an example of burrowing in, and the subsequent furor over English’s claim to be the CFPB’s acting director has only exacerbated the rhetoric over the practice.