Monday, June 1, 2020: Senate Hearing Scheduled for OFCCP Director Leen to be OPM Inspector General
The rumors are true. Craig Leen has been making the rounds in the Senate, shaking hands with Republican Senators on the Senate Homeland Security & Government Affairs Committee in preparation for his big event. On Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at 2:30 p.m. EST via video conference, the Senate will hold a nomination hearing to consider Director Leen to become the next Inspector General (IG) of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
OPM is, in effect, the largest civilian Human Resources Department in the world and manages the employment of the federal government’s over 2 million civilian employees. Inspector Generals are political appointees and “inferior officers” (to use the language of Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution) of the Executive Branch of the federal government subject to the “advice and consent” of the U.S. Senate.
Inspector Generals exist in most major federal departments. Often called “watchdogs” or “junkyard dogs,” IGs are typically not well-liked within the agencies they serve since they are charged to root out “fraud, waste, and abuse.” This often puts them at odds with agency managers and employees. Inspector Generals have recently become newsworthy and threaten to become a Presidential political campaign issue as Democrats have very recently criticized President Trump for firing Inspector Generals and leaving 14 positions unfilled, including 11 for more than a year. Movement on the Leen appointment may signal Republican strategy to blunt the criticism and force the hand of Democrats in the Senate to provide Floor Vote time to allow more appointments of IG positions. The rumor is that Republicans will now create a “bundle” of IG nominations to go to the Senate Floor together to obtain their confirmations ahead of many other nominees waiting for Floor Vote time to complete their appointments. NOTE: Two EEOC nominations are in this pending “hold” status. See DE WIR March 2, 2020.
The Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee will complete the hearing and vote on Director Leen’s nomination. Then it’s up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) to schedule a precious Floor Vote in the Senate. Since the Senate is in session all of June (before heading to a recess during the first two weeks of July), it very much appears Senator McConnell is shooting for a June Senate Floor vote. Director Leen could be “General Leen” and on the job at OPM after the Fourth of July.
Fun Fact: The view of the Fireworks on the Fourth of July in downtown Washington D.C. is MUCH better from the roof of the OPM building than from the roof of the USDOL, although both are superb venues!
As soon as the Senate approves Mr. Leen’s appointment (if he first gets the Committee approval, as he should, given the commanding control Republicans enjoy) and then wins the Senate Floor vote (as he should), Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia will then likely issue a Press Release announcing Leen’s departure from USDOL and OFCCP, and the appointment of his successor at OFCCP. Robert (“Bob”) J. Gaglione, the political appointee Deputy Director at OFCCP supporting Director Leen, is currently the heavy favorite to become the Acting Director of OFCCP upon Director Leen’s departure.