Federal patent employees had no work, so they surfed the Internet, probe reveals

Patent office paralegals were idle for almost four years but got paid, and even received bonuses, probe finds.

The Federal Eye

Do feds have a problem with ‘runaway’ document classification?

Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have introduced a bill to slow the proliferation of document classification and security clearances.

The 2014 ‘Sammies’ finalists: Meet Jill Boezwinkle

The first in the Washington Post’s annual series of reports profiling finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America awards, which honor federal workers who made an impact.

How a Supreme Court ruling could increase the NLRB workload

EYE CATCHERS | Must-read federal news stories from The Washington Post and across the Web.

This fraud scheme targets the families of immigrant children

Scammers are pretending to be immigration officials and demanding substantial payments from relatives of the unattended immigrant children.

Senate confirms Robert McDonald as VA secretary

Former Procter & Gamble chief Robert McDonald will take over an agency rocked by a recent scandal involving records falsification.

Survey

Are veterans changing life at federal agencies?

The Obama administration is hiring record numbers of veterans to federal jobs. We want to hear from federal workers with and without military backgrounds about life in this new culture.

The Federal Diary

Readers speak out about IRS, VA and senior executives

Readers react to previous Federal Diary columns, speaking their minds on IRS,VA and senior executives.

House takes punitive action against all IRS executives

The House wants to spread mass punishment for senior executives from the VA to the IRS.

Critics: VA uses patient privacy to go after whistleblowers

The Department of Veterans Affairs hospital stands Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. The director of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System said Wednesday that it will soon receive as much as $15 million to address an audit showing long wait times for veterans. Juan Morales told reporters that the money will help pay for additional physician-support staff and fees that may be incurred if a veteran has to be sent to an outside provider. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, George Walker IV)

Managers have allegedly threatened employees or retaliated against those who complain about misconduct.

In the Loop

What word has Reid used more than any other member of Congress?

Majority Leader Harry Reid loves to repeat this one word (threat?) on the Senate floor.

AG Holder taps his deputy chief of staff to be acting chief of civil rights division

Although the nomination of Debo Adegbile to head Justice’s civil rights division is still on the Senate calendar, his confirmation is almost surely not going to happen.

BACKGROUND CHECK: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

Meet President Obama’s Interior Department head: a lover of all things outdoors -- and puzzles.

Fine Print

Fine Print: It’s time to look at military personnel benefits

Tough decisions have to be made to get Defense Department costs under control.

Fine Print: U.S. trying to seal cracks in Iron Dome deal

The Iron Dome defense

Congress wants more participation by U.S. contractors in production of Israeli air defense system

Fine Print: Civil liberties board reviews NSA data mining

FILE - In this June 6, 2013, file photo, shows plaques outside the National Security Ageny (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. When the NSA intercepted the online accounts of legally targeted foreigners over a four-year period it also collected the conversations of nine times as many ordinary Internet users, both Americans and non-Americans, according to an investigation by The Washington Post published on Sunday, July 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Panel fears volume of data risks citizens’ privacy, but found no abuse or disregard of federal law.

The High Court

This term’s key Supreme Court rulings, in the justices’ own words

This photo taken June 30, 2014 shows the Supreme Court in Washington. Conservative Republicans claimed victory this week in the Supreme Court ruling on religious freedom and the White House’s acceptance that an immigration overhaul won’t happen this year. Today’s victories could haunt the GOP in two years’ time, as the party’s presidential nominee looks for much-needed support among women and Hispanics in the 2016 election. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The justices’ writings offer fresh insights into the court’s important decisions from this past term.

High Court: Justice Anthony M. Kennedy and guns

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 8: Justice Anthony Kennedy pictured as the nine members of the Supreme Court pose for a new group photograph to reflect their newest member, Elena Kagan, October, 08, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Some see him as the middleman on the gun debate; neither side knows where he’s going to fall on the issue.

Bill Clinton papers reveal maneuvering on high court picks

In June 1993, President Bill Clinton introduces Ruth Bader Ginsburg as his choice for associate justice to succeed Justice Byron White.

They illuminate discussions about his choices of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer for the bench.

The Influence Industry

Influence Industry: U.S. Chamber of Commerce looks West

It hopes to woo Silicon Valley, but whether it can is an open question.

Federal Player of the Week

Making ambulances safer for patients and EMTs

James Green, a persuasive engineer with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health wants to make it safer for anyone in the back of an ambulance.

The Federal Coach

Labor Secretary Tom Perez on leadership

“Government can and should lead is in workplace flexibility.“

Leadership books for the beach

Here are some books that will improve your work life, yet are fun enough to read while on vacation.

Leading the Peace Corps

The world has changed a lot since the Peace Corps was founded 53 years ago.

Prospects

Job possibilities are growing again

In federal government, hiring is picking up; career-seekers must make an effort to keep pace.

Latest Federal News

Do feds have a problem with ‘runaway’ document classification?

Do feds have a problem with ‘runaway’ document classification?

Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) have introduced a bill to slow the proliferation of document classification and security clearances.

AG Holder taps his deputy chief of staff to be acting chief of civil rights division

AG Holder taps his deputy chief of staff to be acting chief of civil rights division

Although the nomination of Debo Adegbile to head Justice’s civil rights division is still on the Senate calendar, his confirmation is almost surely not going to happen.

BACKGROUND CHECK: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

BACKGROUND CHECK: Interior Secretary Sally Jewell

Meet President Obama’s Interior Department head: a lover of all things outdoors -- and puzzles.

The 2014 ‘Sammies’ finalists: Meet Jill Boezwinkle

The 2014 ‘Sammies’ finalists: Meet Jill Boezwinkle

The first in the Washington Post’s annual series of reports profiling finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America awards, which honor federal workers who made an impact.

How a Supreme Court ruling could increase the NLRB workload

How a Supreme Court ruling could increase the NLRB workload

EYE CATCHERS | Must-read federal news stories from The Washington Post and across the Web.

Labor Secretary Tom Perez on leadership

Labor Secretary Tom Perez on leadership

“Government can and should lead is in workplace flexibility.“

Column

A fast-moving Senate, for a change

A fast-moving Senate, for a change

No ambassador to Russia? Lawmakers agree that’s not a good idea right now.

Federal appeals court vacancy rates drop despite GOP success in blocking some nominees

Federal appeals court vacancy rates drop despite GOP success in blocking some nominees

Federal appeals court vacancies are at their lowest point since 1990, though some GOP senators have been able to block nominees

This fraud scheme targets the families of immigrant children

This fraud scheme targets the families of immigrant children

Scammers are pretending to be immigration officials and demanding substantial payments from relatives of the unattended immigrant children.

Column

In the Loop: Clock is ticking on nominees

Senators could use voice votes to help move things along, and the White House is pushing for action.

Senate unanimously confirms McDonald as VA secretary

Senate unanimously confirms McDonald as VA secretary

Former Procter & Gamble chief will take over an agency rocked by a recent scandal.

Senate confirms three ambassadorial nominees in minutes, but will there be time for more?

Senate confirms three ambassadorial nominees in minutes, but will there be time for more?

The Senate confirmed three administration nominees Tuesday, but 150 are hanging on the Senate floor, hoping to be confirmed before the Senate recess Friday.

Senate confirms Robert McDonald as VA secretary

Senate confirms Robert McDonald as VA secretary

Former Procter & Gamble chief Robert McDonald will take over an agency rocked by a recent scandal involving records falsification.

Making ambulances safer for patients and EMTs

Making ambulances safer for patients and EMTs

James Green, a persuasive engineer with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health wants to make it safer for anyone in the back of an ambulance.

Decision overturning Va.’s gay marriage ban is upheld

Decision overturning Va.’s gay marriage ban is upheld

A federal appeals court panel in Richmond rules that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed under the Constitution .

Column

In the Loop: Obama makes few speeches in the Oval Office

In the Loop: Obama makes few speeches in the Oval Office

When the president speaks to the nation from the White House, he’s taken to using other backdrops.

Column

Fine Print: It’s time to look at military personnel benefits

Tough decisions have to be made to get Defense Department costs under control.

GAO cites tax debt of DoD workers with security clearances

Employees and contractors owed $730 million in unpaid federal taxes as of June 2012, the report found.

Watchdog: DOD workers with security clearances owe $730 million in taxes

Watchdog: DOD workers with security clearances owe $730 million in taxes

The GAO said about 31 percent of the tax-delinquent workers already owed money to the government when they were issued security clearances.

Obama’s next career could be as a stock analyst

Obama’s next career could be as a stock analyst

The president has been sharply criticized for multiple alleged failures through his presidency, but when it comes to predicting the stock market. . .

Paul Ryan defends plan to overhaul social safety net

Paul Ryan defends plan to overhaul social safety net

Ryan last week proposed consolidating 11 safety-net programs into one block grant for states to distribute how they see fit.

Paul Ryan: Send the unattended immigrant kids back home

Paul Ryan: Send the unattended immigrant kids back home

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Sunday that the crisis at the border would worsen if the U.S. does not deport the children.

Shumer: U.S. should use WTO and World Cup to pressure Putin

Shumer: U.S. should use WTO and World Cup to pressure Putin

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday that stronger pressure is needed to change Russia’s course in the Ukraine crisis.

Official: Stronger U.S.-European sanctions likely against Russia

Official: Stronger U.S.-European sanctions likely against Russia

Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Sunday that European leaders are open to stronger sanctions.

Palestinians open to Egypt talks for peace deal, Abbas aide says

Palestinians open to Egypt talks for peace deal, Abbas aide says

The Palestinian Authority president is forming a delegation to meet with Israeli officials in Egypt, an adviser said.

House majority whip: No promise of delaying recess for immigration deal

House majority whip: No promise of delaying recess for immigration deal

The Republican on Sunday sidestepped questions about whether House Republicans would be willing to postpone Congress’s August recess.

Obama gives a lot of speeches, but not from the Oval Office

Obama gives a lot of speeches, but not from the Oval Office

President Obama prefers campaign-style speeches to the gravitas of an Oval Office address.

Survey: Does your federal job now require security clearance?

The Washington Post is seeking input from federal workers and contractors whose jobs now require security clearance.

Column

In the Loop: Saxby Chambliss is retiring in style

In the Loop: Saxby Chambliss is retiring in style

The senator may be a lame duck, but he can still fly to Europe.

Who knew Afghans don’t like soybeans?

Who knew Afghans don’t like soybeans?

The inspector general hits the Agriculture Department over a $34.4 million program to grow and process soybeans in Afghanistan