10.19.2018 0

Treasury ‘resistance’ proves need for MERIT Act to fire the swamp

By Natalia Castro

Employees at the Treasury Department are not just subverting the Trump Administration, they are actively building a media narrative against the President to further their own political ends. The indictment of Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards is further evidence of the “resistance” thriving within the federal civil service. These employees feel untouchable, and it is the job of Congress to remind them they are not.

This week, Edwards, a senior advisor for the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network was charged with leaking financial activity reports related to President Donald Trump’s former campaign advisers, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, to BuzzFeed News in an attempt to further the resistance’s narrative on the Russia investigation.

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. noted in a Department of Justice press release, “In her position, Edwards was entrusted with sensitive government information.  As we allege here today, Edwards violated that trust when she made several unauthorized disclosures to the media.  Today’s action demonstrates that those who fail to protect the integrity of government information will be rightfully held accountable for their behavior.”

Edwards has been put on administrative leave from her duties while under investigation and while she is innocent until proven guilty, the handling of this case so far demonstrates a level of accountability not often seen within the federal workforce.

Individuals like Edwards actively resist President Donald Trump while working for the federal government because they believe they will not be caught and fired.

In a three part video series by Project Veritas, James O’Keefe uncovers many civil service workers who purposefully neglect their responsibilities to prevent the Trump Administration from implementing its agenda.

The employees, many of which are members of the Democratic Socialists of American (DSA) group, boast of their ability to work on DSA material while on the job, use their department resources to track down targets for protests, delay their work to prevent the agenda goals from being met, and leak information to reporters to skew public opinion.

Alison Hrabar, a now former Department of Justice employee was caught on camera saying, “There’s a lot of talk at work about like how we can resist from the inside… We have a member who works for the people who distribute food stamps, and they can like take that away, and they’re slowing what they do… what they’re doing means that people are going to be able to stay on food stamps for another month or two, which is like really important.”

All of the individuals in the videos share a common assumption that they “cannot be fired” from their jobs. And they are not completely wrong. While some employees have now been removed for obvious acts of partisanship and disruptions like Hrabar and Edwards, most employees are never dismissed or it can take several years for them to be removed once negative action comes to light.

According to data retrieved from the Office of Personnel Management’s FedScope, only 0.53 percent of federal employees are terminated for cause. This means that federal employees have a 99.5 percent chance of never being fired for cause. No wonder they are so comfortable leaking information and subverting the Trump agenda.

In the last year, President Trump has tried to crack down on leakers but even when these obstructionists are uncovered, the removal process is quite difficult.

A 2015 Government Accountability Office report estimates it takes between 170 and 370 days to fire a poor performing federal employee. Even once they are dismissed, unions engage in lengthy litigation processes to prevent the employee from actually being removed from office.

To help solve this problem, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) and Senator David Perdue (R-Ga.) have introduced the MERIT Act in their respective chambers to expedite the removal timeline for federal employees and provide managers with simpler, more direct pathways to expel bad actors.

The Act mirrors the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act which was signed into law last year with bipartisan support and significantly improved termination rates within the agency.

In an exclusive interview with Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning, Wesley Denton of the Conservative Partnership Institute explained, “Every incentive in Washington [is] to let bad liberal bureaucrats burrow in and never have to face any kind of responsibility for their actions. It’s time to drain the swamp, it’s time to get rid of the deep state, and we need to give the same ability that the private sector has to get rid of underperforming employees or to hold them responsible. We need the MERIT Act to do that.”

Natalie Mayflower Sours Edwards’ alleged actions at the Department of Treasury further demonstrate how pervasive the resistance movement working against the President is; but resisters were not elected to lead this country, Donald Trump was. Congress must help restore accountability to every area of the federal government so that more liars and leakers can be dismissed and hardworking civil servants can do their jobs.

Natalia Castro is the multimedia manager at Americans for Limited Government.

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