Following-up on Patrick’s post, a recent Congressional Research Service (CRS) report offers some additional background on the practice of “burrowing”. Here’s a bit:

The term “burrowing in” is sometimes used to describe an employment status conversion whereby an individual transfers from a federal appointed (noncareer) position to a career position in the executive branch…. Conversions are permissible when laws and regulations governing career appointments are followed, but they can invite scrutiny because of the differences in the appointment and tenure of noncareer and career employees.

Burrowing is a time-honored tradition, but the report highlights post 9/11 security concerns that add a new wrinkle to the practice in the current transition.

In a January 2008 report to the DHS Secretary on the transition, the Homeland Security Advisory Council recommended that the department “consider current political appointees with highly specialized and needed skills for appropriate career positions.”

Here’s a copy of the report (CRS RL34706) on  Open CRS (a website dedicated to making available CRS reports typically are not released to the public).