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Thursday, April 11, 2019

GAO urges more transparency of political appointments, compliance with agency ethics programs

Nicole Ogrysko
Originally posted March 15, 2019

The Government Accountability Office is urging Congress to require more transparency of agencies in collecting and publishing information on political appointees in the executive branch.

A new GAO study describing agencies’ struggles to track political appointees and their compliance with ethics programs reads, in a sense, like a greatest hits album of typical challenges pestering many facets of government.

Agency data tracking the appointments and departures of political officials, for example, is inconsistent and scattered across multiple systems and organizations. And challenges in recruitment, retention and training have led to persistent vacancies at departmental ethics offices.

“The public has an interest in knowing who is serving in the government and making policy decisions. The Office of Management and Budget stated that transparency promotes accountability by providing the public with information about what the government is doing,” GAO wrote. “Until the names of political appointees and their position, position type, agency or department name, start and end dates are publicly available at least quarterly, it will be difficult for the public to access comprehensive and reliable information.”

The info is here.