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February 14, 2018

WHATEVER ELSE THE ROB PORTER SCANDAL MIGHT CAUSE: It’s prompted new attention to a huge problem that has been around for decades. Every federal civil servant must clear a comprehensive background check before being allowed to work for the taxpayers. Most of these checks are done by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) National Background Investigations Bureau.

LifeZette’s Jim Stinson reports that Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats told the Senate yesterday that an estimated 700,000 background checks have yet to be completed. On checks for jobs that require access to classified information, the wait can be a year or more before its completed. These realities may or may not shed light on why former White House staff secretary Rob Porter was able to remain on the job for so long.

When I served at OPM as a Reagan political appointee from November 1982 to June 1985, the backlog was in the thousands and growing despite heroic efforts by political and career employees alike. Things have only gotten worse, much worse. But at least the public now knows of yet another illustration of Big Government getting so big it can’t competently do even the most basic tasks competently and efficiently.