June 12, 2013

POLITICAL BIAS: The Problem Is Not Just IRS Lawyers; The Problem Is All Federal Government Lawyers.

The results for the IRS were striking. Of the IRS lawyers who made contributions in the 2012 election, 95% contributed to Obama rather than to Romney. So among IRS lawyers, the ratio of Obama contributors to Romney contributors was not merely 4-to-1 as previously reported, but more like 20-to-1. The ratio of funds to Obama was even more lopsided, with about 32 times as much money going to Obama as to Romney from IRS lawyers.

So has the IRS gone off the rails into hyper-partisanship, leaving behind other more balanced federal agencies? … The data show, however, that the partisanship of the lawyers in the IRS is not unusual or even particularly extreme among federal agencies. In fact, the lawyers in every single federal government agency–from the Department of Education [100%] to the Department of Defense [68%] — contributed overwhelmingly to Obama compared to Romney. The table below shows the results for all agencies with at least 20 employees who contributed to either Obama or Romney. . . . The root of the problem is the rule by a class of career government employee lawyers who lack the diversity of opinion that is found in the non-lawyer private sector. The IRS inquiry, rather than focusing narrowly on “who knew what” within the agency, should lead to a top-to-bottom rethinking of who’s doing the administration in the modern bureaucratic administrative state.

This makes the notion of a “nonpartisan” civil service ring rather hollow.

UPDATE: Reader Brenda Schoer writes: “Given the job market for lawyers, is it really possible that not a single Republican lawyer applied for a job at the Dept of Ed? Do these government agencies have to put ‘REPUBLICANS NEED NOT APPLY’ on job postings to warrant an EEOC or DOJ investigation?”

Well, J. Christian Adams has documented highly politicized hiring at the Justice Department, so don’t expect much from that quarter.

MORE: Here’s the original post on this, from Rob Anderson at Pepperdine.