Analysis of Political Appointee Demographics
This repository contains data and analysis supporting the BuzzFeed News article, "The Agriculture Department Hired More Than 50 Political Appointees. They All Say They're White.," published November 15, 2017. See below for more details.
The data in this repository comes from the Office of Personnel Management's FedScope tool. The data on racial/ethnic diversity come from FedScope's "Diversity Cubes", and the data on gender come from the "Employment Cubes".
The files in the
data/raw directory were obtained by using each of those "cubes" to cross-tabulate the employment counts for each "Type of Appointment" by demographic.
A few relevant links:
- OPM's definitions of "Minority" and "Non-minority"
- OPM's list of the possible "Type of Appointment" classifications
- An explanation of the difference between permanent and temporary employees
The files in the
data/processed calculate the proportions of employees who identified as minorities/female, for each fiscal quarter, for two aggregated groups:
- "Permanent" employees (see link above for definition)
- Mid-level political appointees (see below for definition)
The Python code used to make these calculations can be found here.
Defining "mid-level political appointees"
According to correspondence with the Office of Personnel Management, there are two "type of appointment" categories that are composed entirely of political appointees:
- "Senior Executive Service - Non-Career," which is composed of employees who "serve in the key positions just below the top Presidential appointees"
- "Excepted Service - Schedule C," which is composed of policy advisers, confidential assistants, and other political staff.
When the analysis refers to mid-level political appointees, it refers to the combination of these two categories.
Note re. other political appointees
In addition, according to OPM, there are four other "type of appointment" categories that may, at times, include political appointees:
- Permanent "Excepted Service - Executive"
- Non-permanent "Excepted Service - Executive"
- "Senior Executive Service - Limited Term
- "Senior Executive Service - Limited Emergency"
Unfortunately, among these categories, it is not possible to distinguish between political appointees and non-appointees in the FedScope data.
To reproduce the calculations, you'll need to do the following:
- Ensure that you have installed Python and the Python libraries listed in
- Clear the
data/processeddirectory. (Shortcut: run
- Re-run the
data-processingnotebook in the
notebooks/. (Shortcut: run
make reproduce; requires Python 3.)
Feedback / Questions?
Contact Jeremy Singer-Vine at email@example.com.
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