House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday told reporters that GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz (Fla.), who’s under federal investigation for sex trafficking allegations, is “innocent until proven guilty” and that Gaetz will not be punished unless charges are filed.
Asked during a Thursday press conference whether the scandal-racked Florida congressman would keep his seat on the House Judiciary Committee due to its oversight of the Justice Department, the House GOP leader said: “Matt Gaetz is the same as any American, he’s innocent until proven guilty. There’s no charges against him yet. If a charge comes forward, that will be dealt with at that time.”
MORE ON REP. GAETZ: ‘Women’ of Gaetz’s office sign letter defending congressman
The House GOP leader has previously vowed to strip Gaetz of his committee assignments if the allegations against the embattled congressman are proven to be true—specifically, that he had allegedly engaged in a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, potentially facing federal sex trafficking charges if found to be true.
Gaetz has denied the allegations against him, and refuses to resign from Congress.
MORE ON REP. GAETZ: First GOP lawmakers calls for Gaetz’s resignation
“I’ve spoken to Mr. Gaetz about the accusations. He’s told me he’s innocent of the accusations,” McCarthy also told reporters Thursday, adding: “I explained to Mr. Gaetz the rules inside our conference. If there was something to come forward, we would take action.”
“As of right now, Matt Gaetz says he is innocent, there’s an investigation going on and I’ll let the investigation take care of itself,” McCarthy said at another point during the press conference.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @DouglasPBraff.
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Biden Administration Proposes Rule to Fortify Federal Bureaucracy Against Republican Presidency
In a strategic move, the Biden administration has unveiled a proposed rule aimed at reinforcing the left-leaning federal bureaucracy, potentially hindering future conservative policy implementations by Republican presidents. This move has raised concerns about the efficacy of democratic elections when a deep-seated bureaucracy remains largely unchanged, regardless of electoral outcomes.
Key points of the situation include:
Presidential Appointees vs. Career Bureaucrats: Of the 2.2 million federal civil workers, only 4,000 are presidential appointees. The vast majority, made up of career bureaucrats, continue in their roles from one administration to the next. This continuity is facilitated by rules that make it exceedingly difficult to discipline or replace them, resulting in a bureaucracy that tends to lean left politically.
Union Political Affiliation: A striking 95% of unionized federal employees who donate to political candidates support Democrats, according to Open Secrets, with only 5% favoring Republicans. This significant political skew among federal workers raises questions about the potential for political bias in the execution of government policies.
Obstructionism and Challenges for GOP Presidents: Some career bureaucrats have been accused of obstructing Republican presidents’ agendas, leading to policy delays and challenges. For example, during the Trump administration, career lawyers in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division declined to challenge Yale University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants, prompting Trump to seek legal counsel from other divisions. The case was subsequently dropped when Joe Biden took office.
Biden’s Countermeasures: President Biden has taken steps to protect the bureaucracy’s status quo. In October 2020, Trump issued an executive order aiming to reclassify federal workers who make policy as at-will employees, but Biden canceled it upon taking office.
Proposed Rule and Congressional Actions: The rule unveiled by the Biden administration seeks to further impede a president’s ability to reinstate Trump’s order. Additionally, some Democrats in Congress are pushing to eliminate the president’s authority to reclassify jobs entirely. This has been referred to as an attempt to “Trump-proof the federal workforce.”
Republican Candidates’ Pledge: GOP candidates such as President Donald J Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, and Ron DeSantis have pledged to address this issue. According to reports from Fox News, Ramaswamy has gone further, advocating for the elimination of half or more of civil service positions, emphasizing the need for accountability.
Debate on the Merit of the Civil Service: While Democrats and their media allies argue that civil service protects merit over patronage, critics contend that the system has evolved into a form of job security for federal workers with minimal accountability. Federal employees often receive higher salaries and more substantial benefits than their private-sector counterparts.
In summary, the Biden administration’s proposed rule and broader actions to protect the federal bureaucracy have sparked a debate over the role of career bureaucrats in shaping government policy.
Republican candidates are vowing to address these concerns, highlighting the need for accountability and ensuring that government agencies work in alignment with the elected president’s agenda. This ongoing debate raises important questions about the relationship between the bureaucracy and the democratic process in the United States.
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