House Republicans question the SEC’s hiring and pay practices
The chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee wants to know more about the agency’s use of a program designed to bring on skilled hires for short-term rotations.
The Securities and Exchange Commission may be using a program meant to bring in skilled hires for short-term rotations to get around the federal government’s regular competitive hiring practices and pay restrictions, the chairman of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee said Tuesday.
Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., sent SEC Chairman Gary Gensler a letter seeking more information on the agency’s use of the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, which establishes an exchange program that allows agencies to lend or bring in talent from state and local governments, colleges and universities, and other organizations for up to two years. This time frame can be extended an additional two years “when the extension will be to the benefit of both organizations,” a program description from the Office of Personnel Management states.
“The [personnel act’s] intent is to allow agencies to hire individuals for short periods of time,” Comer wrote. “The SEC’s hirings appear to undermine the [act], raising concerns that the SEC is using the [flexibilities in the act] to avoid normal federal hiring practices and circumvent federal wage restrictions. Additionally, these hirings raise concerns about potential conflicts of interest for individuals who maintain their prior employment relationships.”
The letter lists four SEC division heads who have been in their positions since 2021 and remain simultaneously listed as professors at law and business schools. It asks for information since the beginning of the Biden administration on the number of hires the SEC has made through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act; any outside employment of those individuals; their comings and goings from the SEC’s offices; a breakdown of their compensation, including aggregate compensation from any source; and the costs of employing the individuals outside of base salary, such as travel and lodging expenses.
The letter seeks a reply by Aug. 15.
When asked for comment on the letter, an SEC spokesperson said: “Chair Gensler will respond to members of Congress directly, rather than through the media.”
Democrats on the oversight committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether they supported Comer’s investigation.