At a recent hearing of the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) was among those asking the questions, and witness Kiran Ahuja, who leads a White House office dedicated to federal hiring policy, adeptly shut down some of her nonsense.
“You’re a big supporter of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Greene said. “But on January 31, 2023, Director, you released a proposed rule to update federal hiring procedures for determining suitability and fitness.” The proposed rule from which Greene subsequently read evidently would put participation in insurrectionary activity or acts that would block the expression of certain rights by others into the list that could weigh against prospective staff members. The latter category would include something like the threats to the effective right to vote reflected by attempts after the last presidential race to essentially undo its results, but Ahuja repeatedly emphasized that individual cases are considered in just such a manner — individually, despite Greene’s later false characterization of her as evasive.
“Director, in your opinion, is a person who participated in the riot at the Capitol on January 6 fit to serve in the federal workforce?” Greene asked, getting to the point it was obvious was coming.
“I can’t speak to that specific instance, but what I can tell you is, we look at the whole conduct case by case, and we are, with this particular revision of the questionnaire, seeking to balance the First Amendment rights and also the conduct that would be of concern by individuals coming into the federal government,” Ahuja said. “So it is a balance.” It’s easy to imagine Greene would’ve taken Ahuja simply answering in the negative as evidence of some kind of conspiracy against conservatives, since Greene remains among those on the side essentially of participants in that riot. She recently called, for instance, for a particular rioter to receive a new trial.
Greene repeated a version of her original question, to which Ahuja gave much the same response. Greene then asked about the prospects for federal employment of a participant in so-called riots associated with protests for racial justice, to which Ahuja gave another similar reply. Greene may have been hoping to at least potentially show some kind of special treatment for those involved in those so-called riots, a descriptor some on the Right have used very broadly.
Ahuja also faced questions during the same hearing from Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who tried to insist there was some kind of potential problem with federal staff secretly going on vacation under the guise of telework and maybe not even doing their work at all. Ahuja noted that in contexts of which she was aware relevant documentation of employee hours was still required, so it wasn’t entirely clear what Boebert was talking about. Check out Greene’s exchange with Ahuja below: