05-25-2011, 11:04 AM
A Superfluous Federal Agency Is Caught Discriminat
| A Superfluous Federal Agency Is Caught Discriminating — Again! |
This latest scandal involving ugly discrimination against a dedicated member of the military is just another outrageous example of why Congress should shut down the U.S. Election Assistance Commission.
Rep. Greg Harper (R-Miss.) has introduced a bill to eliminate one of the least known and most useless agencies in Washington: the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The fact that this supposedly temporary $18 million-a-year agency is apparently on the hook to pay damages for refusing to hire a military veteran provides another sound reason for shutting it down. This is the second time in less than two years that the EAC has discriminated in hiring a job applicant — and for the very same position no less.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) is the independent agency that investigates prohibited political activity by federal employees. On December 2, 2009, it announced that two EAC commissioners had discriminated against a job-seeker applying for the position of General Counsel, a career civil service post. Although OSC did not identify the discriminators, the two commissioners were Gracia Hillman and Rosemary Rodriguez.
After interviewing the applicant, Hillman and Rodriguez, both Democrats, had voted along with the two Republican commissioners to hire him. He was sent an offer letter. However, according to OSC, when Hillman and Rodriguez discovered the lawyer was a Republican, they refused to approve his appointment as General Counsel. The OSC concluded that Hillman and Rodriguez had engaged in a “prohibited personnel practice” — specifically, they discriminated against the prospective EAC employee “because of his political affiliation, in violation of civil service laws.”
The lawyer received a six-figure settlement from the EAC — all of it paid by taxpayers, not those who violated the law. Now the Labor Department has found that the EAC discriminated again. And it’s the behavior of one of the same commissioners, Gracia Hillman, that was the problem. Neither Hillman nor Rodriguez is on the Commission now, but Hillman was still a commissioner last August when the EAC tried again to fill the still-open General Counsel slot. One of the applicants was a lawyer with extensive experience in voting and election law, as well as election administration. He had perfect qualifications for the job with one exception, at least according to Hillman’s point of view — he is a reserve naval officer.
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