April 5, 2024 

Government Accountability Project Applauds Biden Administration for Issuing Strong Protections for an Independent Civil Service 

WASHINGTON – Government Accountability Project applauds the new federal rule which will implement crucial steps to protect civil service workers. The rule, issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), will strengthen protections for nonpartisan civil servants across the country — the federal employees who serve the public regardless of the political affiliation of the President or partisan divides in Congress — from being replaced with political loyalists. 

In November, Government Accountability Project submitted a public comment voicing support for this bill, stating, “Nonpartisan civil servants have been the guardrails against abuses in every administration, sounding the alarm on every issue of public concern. We strongly support the expeditious implementation of this rule.” A public comment was also sent by 27 other organizations in support of the bill, including Government Accountability Project, Democracy Forward, Project On Government Oversight, and others. 

The Final Rule being issued by the Biden administration implements several safeguards for the civil service, including (but not limited to): 

  • Affirming that the status and civil service protections a federal employee has obtained cannot be taken away, unless that employee gives up their rights voluntarily. 
  • Clarifying that an exception to civil service protections for “confidential, policy determining, policymaking, or policy-advocating” positions only applies to political appointees, not to career civil servants who may be the target of future extremist attacks. 
  • Establishing procedural requirements for moving positions out of the competitive service (where the vast majority of federal employees are classified), or between excepted service categories, creating transparency and an appeals process if such moves would strip a federal employee of their civil service protections. 

Government Accountability Project Legal Director, Tom Devine, commented, 

“Schedule F was designed to openly do what President Nixon tried in secret with the Malek Manual exposed during Watergate: turn the non-partisan professional civil service into two million patronage troops. Their mission would be political victory rather than public service.  The stakes are survival of the merit system. The new rule is a much needed, strong defense. Congress should act to codify this safeguard.” 

Contact: Andrew Harman, Government Accountability Project Communications Director 
Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 202.926.3304 

Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.