"Burrowing" is a term describing efforts by an outgoing administration to sandbag an incoming one by moving political appointees at the top levels of federal agencies into protected career civil service positions. A Nov. 18, 2008, Washington Post article pointed to Bush administration efforts to leave political appointees at the Interior Department and other agencies. They included appointees at the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service who had pushed politically controversial decisions.
Now the Post is reporting that two top federal employee unions "want the government to release lists of political appointees who have been hired for career jobs and show whether agencies sought competition for the positions."
Moreover, reports the Post: "OPM Associate Director Kevin Mahoney declined last week to provide the Post with a list of political appointees his agency had approved to be moved into career jobs from March to Nov. 3. Though such hires and job titles are public, Mahoney said it was not the 'general practice' of the OPM to release them. The White House did not respond to a request for the same information."
- "Federal Workers Unions Want 'Burrowers' Lists," Washington Post, November 30, 2008, by Carol D. Leonnig.
- "Senators Urge Bush To Halt Job Shifts; Officials Deny Sheltering Appointees," Washington Post, November 19, 2008, by Carol D. Leonnig and R. Jeffrey Smith.
- "Administration Moves to Protect Key Appointees," Washington Post, November 18, 2008, by Juliet Eilperin and Carol D. Leonnig.