WASHINGTON — The White House has added hundreds of people from other government agencies to its staff and illegally failed to report many of the transfers to Congress, a congressional report released today said.
The White House has also failed to reimburse the agencies for the salaries of many of the transferred workers, which is also against the law, the study said.
"The White House tried to create the appearance of doing more with less," said Rep. Gerry Sikorski (D-Minn.), chairman of the House human resources subcommittee. "In reality, they were sneaking federal employees from other agencies in through the back door in violation of the law."
"The White House has diverted funds appropriated to other agencies and has misled Congress and the American people about it," said Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.), chairman of the House civil service subcommittee.
White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater declined comment on the report, saying he had not seen it, but added, "I'd be glad to discuss the Carter years with you." He did not elaborate.
Many of the workers were hired by government agencies expressly to work in President Reagan's White House, the report said, which the investigators said is not illegal but is "an inappropriate use of . . . (hiring) authority."
The study, prepared by the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative arm, examined the fiscal years of 1980 through 1985. Reagan succeeded Carter at the White House early in the 1981 fiscal year.
The report said that during those six years, 518 employees of other federal agencies were detailed to work at the White House. Of those, 484 of the transfers were required to be reported to Congress because those employees stayed at the White House beyond 30 days. But the report said 125 of them were not reported to Congress--all but seven of them during the Reagan years.
In addition, the investigators found that from 1982 through 1985, of $1.5 million in reimbursements to agencies the White House reported making, only $661,000 was actually paid. Figures for the earlier years were not available.
The laws in question do not carry penalties for violations.
The report did not include Pentagon employees.