Accountability in the Deep State
10 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2018
Date Written: April 9, 2018
In October of 2017, Joel Clement – a federal civil servant who had headed the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Policy Analysis since 2011 – wrote a stinging resignation letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. In it, Clement accused Zinke and President Trump of having “waged an all-out assault on the civil service by muzzling scientists and policy experts like myself.” The story behind Joel Clement’s resignation – a story still unfolding as of this Article’s writing in early 2018 – provides a window into the relationship between the political leadership and the civil service at the Interior Department in the first year of the Trump administration. It also serves as a jumping-off point to revisit the value in having a civil service with some independence from politics, and to consider mechanisms to protect that independence. In this Article, I explore those questions through the lens of Clement’s resignation.
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