Maine Governor Paul LePage Ignores Line Between Civil Servants And Politics

by Stuart Shapiro

A civil service that is politically neutral has a proud history in this country (and pretty much any developed country).  It dates back to the 1880s when the Pendleton Act was passed in reaction to the assassination of James Garfield by a disappointed office seeker.  Since then, there have been strict prohibitions on the political activities of federal and state employees.  Enter Dan Demerritt, communications director for new Maine Governor Paul LePage:

I’d like to connect the week before Christmas with you and key staff.  If you are not in town, we can hopefully get some of your staffs putting together some of the resources / information we are going to need to get rolling.  Once we take office, Paul will put 11,000 bureaucrats to work getting Republicans re-elected.

I understand that the class on the Chester Arthur Administration is not the most exciting one in an American history course; but I thought everyone that rose to the level of political officeholder (and all civil servants) understood the separation between politics and civil service.  Someone needs to teach the Tea Party these American history basics.

About Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

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