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‘Disappointed:’ Senator blasts Biden admin for cutting back union transparency site

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U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., blasted the Biden administration Wednesday for cutting back on a federal effort to increase union accountability and transparency.

The Center Square exclusively obtained a letter this week that was sent from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to 10 U.S. senators. In the letter, OPM Director Kiran Ahuja defended the agency’s decision to remove a webpage built to hold unions accountable.

The federal webpage in question included data on “official time,” a common practice where federal employees use work time to do union business and are therefore paid by taxpayers to do so.

That page was removed last year and in OPM’s latest letter responding to lawmakers’ concerns, the agency seems to have no plans to reinstate it.

After the accountability webpage disappeared last year, an OPM spokesperson told The Center Square “previous reports on official time are not currently available because OPM is reorganizing our website to improve navigation and customer experience.”

OPM has declined to comment since then despite multiple requests.

Congress and the Government Accountability Office has raised concerns about abuses of the practice since it was codified in 1978, but there still remains little public documentation available.

After receiving OPM’s letter, Blackburn said she was “disappointed” with the response.

“I am disappointed that OPM will not commit to publishing future reports critical to government oversight of taxpayer dollars,” Blackburn told The Center Square. “Americans have a right to know if federal workers are using their hard-earned dollars responsibly and not to advance the interests of President Biden’s labor union cronies.”

Biden has pledged to be the most “pro-union president in history” and worked in other areas to pad union membership at taxpayer expense.

In the letter, OPM defended its actions, pointing out it is not legally obligated to complete “official time” reports and saying that it did not coordinate with the White House or make the decision for political reasons.

“As part of modernizing and consolidating our webpages, we routinely remove or migrate information to ensure our web content is up to date and to improve the customer Experience,” the letter said. “In the course of updating our website, official time reports were taken down from their original location. The most recent of those reports, from 2019, was migrated along with numerous other documents to the Agency Reports page of OPM’s website.”

The most recent “official time” report on the site is from 2019, which means no report has been compiled since President Joe Biden took office.