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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Consumer Bureau Rebuffs Critics Who Deny It Broke Wells Fargo Scandal

Who deserves the credit for unmasking the Wells Fargo fraud debacle, under which bank executives pressured underlings to meet sales quotas by opening accounts customers didn’t authorize?

On Wednesday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which had unfurled the blockbuster story with its Sept. 8 announcement of a record $100 fine against Wells Fargo, told Government Executive that the government’s newest agency deserves credit for forcing the corporate abuses into the limelight.

But the agency’s self-congratulation is undeserved, according to some Republican senators and the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, which must be counted among the critics who have long sought abolition of the agency created in the 2010 Dodd Frank post-recession re-regulation act.

Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, at a Sept. 20 hearing said, “The 2013 Los Angeles Times articles led to the L.A. City Attorney's Office investigation into Wells Fargo's sales practices. Thousands of man-hours by a dozen dedicated L.A. city attorneys culminated in a lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo in May of 2015,” he said, as recounted by Cleveland.com. “This timeline begs the question: Where were the federal regulators during...

Hillary Clinton Sits for an Awkward 'Between Two Ferns' Interview

Within the first 20 seconds of his interview with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Zach Galifianakis learned the power of the Secret Service. The Funny or Die host entered wearing a grim reaper mask and was quickly tackled by two agents. He explained he was "just trying to scare" Clinton, prompting the former secretary of State to tell him it was "not a good idea around the Secret Service." 

Clinton -- whose on-screen description simply read "Had pneumonia" -- seemed up for Galifianakis' humor, telling him that he needs to "get out more" and that a pantsuit "would be a good look on you." But her deadpan stare during the show's awkward moments was the highlight of her performance. She perhaps used it best when Galifianakis ended the video by asking, "What's the best way to stay in touch? Email?" and playing an old AOL sound effect.

Maybe he was just trying to scare her.

Between Two Ferns With Zach Galifianakis: Hillary Clinton from Funny Or Die

Trump Takes Aim at 'Food Police,' Excessive Government Regulation

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has said he wants to cut down on government waste, and it now appears that the Food and Drug Administration's food safety regulations will be one of his first targets.

In a fact sheet distributed to reporters Thursday and reported by The Hill, the Trump campaign took the food safety agency to task for regulating the way food for public consumption is prepared and packaged. The campaign referred to the FDA as the "food police" and criticized the agency's rules on the nutritional content of pet food.

 The FDA Food Police ... even dictates the nutritional content of dog food. The rules govern the soil farmers use, farm and food production hygiene, food packaging, food temperatures and even what animals may roam which fields and when. [The FDA] also greatly increased inspections of food 'facilities,' and levies new taxes to pay for this inspection overkill.

According to the USDA, the agency's Food Safety and Inspection Service "employs 8,000 in-plant and other frontline personnel who protect public health in 6,200 federally inspected slaughter and processing" facilities.

The campaign's fact sheet was distributed during Trump's speech at the Economic Club of...

9/11 Documentary Recalls How Pentagon Employees Stayed On The Job During Disaster

Disasters teach us painful but valuable lessons about survival, leadership and community. They also reveal truths about the government agencies and employees tasked with protecting us.

On Sept. 11, 2001, American Airlines 77 flew into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., at 9:37 a.m., killing 184 people – one of four airplanes hijacked by terrorists that day. The new documentary 9/11 Inside the Pentagon offers moving first-person interviews of Defense Department personnel and emergency responders along with raw footage vividly recounting the horror and heroism born from that act of terror. Even 15 years after 9/11, those stories aren’t well-known outside of the Pentagon or the Washington, D.C., area.

The hour-long special, which PBS broadcast on Sept. 6 and Lone Wolf Media produced, reminds us that Pentagon employees not only tried to save each other, but they also kept working -- both during and immediately after the deadliest terrorist attack to date on American soil.

“The Pentagon had to keep functioning,” said Steve Vogel, an author and veteran journalist who covered the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon for The Washington Post. During the documentary, Vogel recalls that Arlington County fire officials wanted National Military Command Center...

Trump Revives Familiar Plan to Cut Federal Workforce

Donald Trump on Wednesday brought back a familiar Republican proposal to achieve deficit reduction: federal employee attrition. 

In a speech laying out his agenda to devote more resources to the military and defense-related programs, Trump said allowing civilian federal workers to leave without hiring replacements would help fund a build-up at the Pentagon. The Republican presidential nominee called for an end to the defense side spending cuts in place since 2013 that resulted from the 2011 Budget Control Act, saying the military has been depleted and left unready to fight due to insufficient funding.

Congress has staved off the full impact of the reductions since 2014 and through next year thanks to two budget deals, but the cuts are set to kick back in in full force in fiscal years 2018 through 2021.

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The law requires Congress to offset any spending over the set caps, or an automatic sequester would kick in. To pay for his funding surge, Trump plans to target the federal workforce.

“We can also reduce the size of the federal bureaucracy through responsible workforce attrition -- that is, when employees retire, they...

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