Biggs Demands Answers on Holding Pro-Palestine Federal Employees Accountable

Biggs Demands Answers on Holding Pro-Palestine Federal Employees Accountable

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
May 22, 2024

The Israel-Hamas war has proven such a polarizing issue in the United States that even federal employees have taken action, protesting in support of Palestine at work despite violating the Hatch Act doing so. In a recent hearing, Representative Andy Biggs (R-AZ) grilled Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Rob Shriver about what OPM will do to hold these employees accountable.

"It was widely reported that members of the civil service organized and participated in strikes or misusing leave to protest the Biden Administration's policies with respect to Israel. What steps does OPM recommend for agencies dealing with employees who strike or misuse or abuse their authority to undermine the policies of the Biden Administration?" Rep. Biggs began.

Acting Director Shriver replied that policies were in place to punish such employees but that he needed to be more familiar with the hypothetical specifics.

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Rep. Biggs quickly replied that the situation was genuine, citing news articles of federal employees staging protests at work over the Biden Administration's support of Israel.

"This was not hypothetical. This is folks from NASA; this is folks from [the] staff of Congress. This is all across agencies of the federal government, where people were walking out [and] organizing letters of protest against Biden's policy. They are formally engaging in opposing this administration's policy. This is okay for us because we are elected officials. How is that okay for federal employees?" The Arizona Congressman asked.

Shriver said the Hatch Act binds all federal employees, but Biggs asked if OPM was doing anything to investigate these employees and hold them accountable.

They debated it until the Acting Director finally said the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) was the enforcement wing, as OPM's auditing ability was primarily in hiring employees.

"So it is not your job?" Biggs asked, to which Shriver replied, "Congress gave the Office of Special Counsel the authority to enforce the Hatch Act."

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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