Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry is so serious about changing the way Washington does business that he is vowing to retaliate against any federal worker who doesn't share his philosophy.
At a campaign event in New Hampshire Tuesday, the Texas governor told supporters that he would reassign civil service workers to "some really God-awful place" if they didn't go along with his ideas, like turning over the Medicaid program to the states.
"Having agencies of government that are there, are going to have individuals that are -- understand my core philosophy, that government should do a few things, but do those few things really, really well," Perry explained.
"Having men and women who share my philosophy, and then giving that clear instruction to those agencies, and if the bureaucrats in those agencies try to block -- for Health and Human Services is a great example," he continued. "If you have Health and Human Service bureaucrats that try to block our being able to block grant dollars back to the states so you all can decide how best to handle health care in New Hampshire -- I don't think you can fire federal bureaucrats, but you can reassign them -- so reassign them to some really God-awful place."
As The Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel noted, Perry was incorrect in stating that federal civil service workers cannot be fired.
More importantly, it would probably be illegal to punish workers who do not share his "vision." Title 5 of the United States Code bans discrimination against federal employees for personal conduct which which does not affect on-the-job performance.
Monica Goodling, the Justice Department’s White House Liason under President George W. Bush, admitted to Congress in 2007 that she had engaged in the "illegal" practice of making hiring decisions based on political ideology.
"With regard to requests from interim U.S. Attorneys to hire [Assistant U.S. Attorneys], we determined that in two instances Goodling considered the candidate’s political or ideological affiliations when she assessed the request," an Office of Inspector General special report found in 2008.
In one case, an experienced career terrorism prosecutor was rejected by Goodling "because of his wife’s political affiliations."
Goodling was never prosecuted because she was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony.