The top General Services Administration official who’s blocking President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team from accessing government resources ahead of his inauguration appears to be looking for a new job, according to a message obtained by ABC News.
Emily Murphy, head of the GSA, recently sent that message to an associate inquiring about employment opportunities in 2021, a move that some in Washington interpreted as at least tacitly acknowledging that the current administration soon will be gone.
Murphy has the power to decide — or “ascertain” — when election results are evident enough to trigger a transition of power, allowing the winning team access to career staff at federal agencies and internal government information including national security matters and plans for administering a COVID-19 vaccine.
Gee, I wonder why Murphy is refusing to perform her legal obligations?
Here’s another little thing to keep an eye on, in the context of the looting that’s undoubtedly taking place right now all over the Trump administration:
The Former Presidents Act, provides, among other things, that former presidents can rent office space at taxpayer expense after leaving office (This is a terrible law, which ought to be revoked or significantly reformed, but that’s a discussion for another day).
The way this gets negotiated is that in their last days in office former presidents submit requests to the GSA regarding suitable space, and this creates the baseline for annual requests going forward. (The FPA specifically allows the rented space to be privately owned).
Currently there’s an informal understanding that it’s OK for a former president to spend around a half million per year renting office space at taxpayer expense. Figures for FY2019: Clinton $513K, GWB, $500K, Obama, $542K (Again this is absurd, but leave that aside for the moment. Typically, Jimmy Carter is spending only $117K on office space).
Hey, I wonder who will be the landlord taking in the rent for Donald Trump’s taxpayer-provided post-presidential offices, and what that rent will be? I bet you can come up with some creative guesses as to exactly what cosy little arrangement Emily Murphy is going to approve, before she’s scuttles off to whatever wingnut welfare sinecure will offer her shelter from the storm.
For idiosyncratic research-related reasons I just happened to be following this little mini-saga before Emily Murphy got famous, so imagine how many other questions of this sort need to be asked in the coming weeks and months and years, as the Trump crew busts out the federal government.