The Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee – HSGAC – Senator Ron Johnson has requested for more information about the approval to move the deputy Director, Leandra English from the Office of Personnel Management – OPM to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – CFPB on Wednesday.
In a letter addressed to the OPM’s acting Director – Kathleen McGettigan, Johnson had laid out his own concerns with English being converted from a political appointee at the OPM into more of a career position at the CFPB that had included a salary increase that is well over $11,000.
“After the election of President Trump but before his inauguration, Ms. English successfully turned a political appointment by President Barack Obama at OPM into a career position at the CFPB through the approval of the then-Acting Director of the OPM, to whom she served as the Principal Deputy Chief of Staff,” the letter reads.
With “less than eleven months after Ms. English’s conversion to a career position, former CFPB Director Richard Cordray appointed Ms. English as CFPB Deputy Director,” the letter further added. “A mere three days later, on November 27, 2017, Ms. English was fully prepared to file a lawsuit seeking an emergency temporary restraining order to serve in the capacity of Acting Director of CFPB.”
Johnson also went on to explain how a political staffer converts to be a career position by a practice that is popularly called “burrowing.” The method can be used to undermine the exact merit-based process that is found in the civil services.
“Burrowing is a practice whereby a non-career, political staff are ‘converted’ into career positions that are outside of their competitive hiring processes. Burrowing threatens to undermine all the merit-based principles that serve as the foundations of the civil service because they continue to allow political staff to be favored over the candidates that may be more qualified for the job,” Johnson had said in the letter.
English has recently been defended by the Democratic leaders who have continued to call her the “active director” even after a judge had ruled in favor of President Trump’s move to have Mick Mulvaney run the CFPB.
The House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, all have continued to back English through their social media accounts, cable news appearances, and press releases as she continues with her lawsuit.
Johnson has requested more information “to better understand OPM’s approval of Ms. Leandra English’s request to burrow into the CFPB” to be provided by December 12th.
The HSGAC also requested all information that is concerned with English’s move into the CFPB including all the documents, communications, and “the process that is used to approve Leandra English’s conversion”. “A description of the process used to approve Leandra English’s conversion to a career position, including the names and positions of those OPM officials who reviewed and approved the conversion; and the internal controls in place at OPM regarding personnel decisions that affect senior OPM officials,” the letter read on.
On top of English being appointed by Former President Obama to the OMB, she has also coordinated events with Warren in all the states during the senator’s push for the CFPB.