Interior Department staffers churned out dozens of drilling permits despite an order for upper-level review. The U.S. Postal Service spurned green alternatives and bought tens of thousands of gasoline-powered vehicles. And across the government, Donald Trump loyalists remain in influential positions.


“It appears that on these particular permits, it was indeed the wheels of bureaucracy that were still turning,” said Jayson O’Neill, director of the Washington watchdog group Accountable.US.

Then there is the so-called “burrowing” of political appointees converted during Trump’s final weeks in office to career civil service positions, making them hard to dismiss. At least two-dozen such employees are in positions, according to Accountable.US.

The group cited Mark Brown, who, as the Education Department’s head of Federal Student Aid, came under fire from progressives. Under Brown, the department was sued for continuing to garnish wages from student loan borrowers during the pandemic and improperly seizing $2.2 billion in tax refunds, according to Accountable.Us. The Education Department announced Friday that Brown had resigned.

“The potential historic number of holdovers and hangers-on from the previous administration pose a serious threat to the will of the American people and President Biden’s efforts to get the pandemic and recession under control,” Accountable.US said in a statement.