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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.

No One Will Want a Federal Leadership Job After What I've Been Through, IRS Chief Warns

A man who has spent decades in and out of government is worried the recent Republican crusade against him will discourage others from following in his footsteps, potentially viewing his professional arc as a cautionary tale of the perils of public service.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen said in a visit to an agency facility in Utah that a recent push by House Republicans to impeach him would deter individuals from entering the federal government and seeking leadership roles.

"If this is the signal we are sending to people thinking about coming to take a senior position in government, it's going to make it harder for good people to come in," Koskinen said Wednesday, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

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Koskinen was speaking in the home state of the man leading the charge to oust him from government, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz. The committee has deemed the commissioner unfit after accusing him of failing to comply with subpoenas and destroying evidence relating to former IRS official Lois Lerner and the targeting of certain tax-exempt groups.

The former Y2K...

Good Luck With That 100-Day War on Waste, Mr. Trump

It was almost an afterthought in Donald Trump’s GOP nomination acceptance speech Thursday night, but in the midst of a law-and-order, America-first, no-more-bad-trade-deals address, there was a promise for a good old-fashioned war on waste in government.

“We are going to ask every department head in government to provide a list of wasteful spending projects that we can eliminate in my first 100 days,” Trump said. “The politicians have talked about it; I’m going to do it.”

It’s worth examining that pledge in a little more detail, because it says a lot about how Trump would actually try to run government — and the huge challenge he would be up against.

For starters, Trump’s plan presupposes that heads of federal departments (who would by and large be acting officials in the first 100 days, until Trump’s appointees were confirmed), have control over eliminating projects. They don’t, and neither does Trump himself. By and large, ending federal programs is up to Congress. And historically, lawmakers have shown little interest in cutting projects that, after all, they approved at some point.

Trump’s plan also assumes that agency heads have an interest in cutting the programs they...

Petition Asks Obama to ‘Do What Is Right’ and Grant a Bigger 2017 Pay Raise

So far federal employees have been letting lawmakers and advocacy groups do their bidding when it comes to demanding a higher pay raise in 2017.

On Wednesday, however, an individual joined the chorus asking for a pay hike more than triple President Obama’s proposed 1.6 percent boost by filing a petition on the White House’s We the People website.  The petition by “R.C.” doesn’t explicitly ask Obama for a bigger raise, but it makes a statement in support of the Federal Adjustment of Income Rates (FAIR) Act (S. 2699), introduced by Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii.

Schatz’s bill, and a similar measure introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., in the House (H.R. 2699), would give federal employees an across-the board pay raise of 5.3 percent in 2017. The measure has the support of the Federal-Postal Coalition, a collection of more than 20 unions and associations representing employees across government. The coalition wrote a letter to lawmakers last month imploring them to support the bigger raise.

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The We the People petition outlines the reasoning for demanding a 5.3...

Exactly How 'Sophisticated' Is Hillary Clinton on Email Use and Classification?

Amid the fireworks at Thursday’s House hearing featuring FBI Director James Comey came a dispute—largely along partisan lines---about the sophistication of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The Republican agenda on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was to grill Comey on whether politics tinged his decision not to prosecute Clinton for sending classified information on a private email system. The Democrats’ agenda was to portray the hearing itself as Republican political theater.

Each made their case differently when addressing what Comey called the key to his decision not to prosecute: What was Clinton’s intention and thinking when she set up the private server?

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Republicans repeatedly noted that Clinton was an attorney, first lady and U.S. senator before becoming secretary of State, upon which time she would be expected to be briefed and understand the ins and outs of handling classified material.  Clinton “would be sophisticated enough to understand what a “C” in parentheses means,” said Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., referring to the State Department manual’s label for identifying classified material in the text of an email.

Rep. Ron...

FBI’s Balancing Act on Clinton Email Decision

It’s not surprising that FBI Director James Comey went through a long wind-up before delivering his pitch to the world on Tuesday morning: the announcement that his agency would not recommend criminal charges against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email server as secretary of State.

Comey for months had been insisting that the FBI would take as much time as needed to be thorough in its investigation, despite political pressure from friends and foes of Clinton in this election season that his team fish or cut bait. He was in an unprecedented situation.

Comey’s wind-up Tuesday was not flattering to Clinton or the to the State Department. “Although we did not find clear evidence” of intentional misconduct,” he said, “there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.” The FBI also found no evidence of outsiders breaching Clinton's email, though Comey said investigators concluded “that the security culture of the State Department in general, and with respect to use of unclassified e-mail systems in particular, was generally lacking in the kind of care for classified information found elsewhere in the government.”


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