Officials at the Department of Homeland Security attempted to subvert federal hiring rules to help former Obama campaign officials land jobs, a government watchdog said this week.

According to The Washington Post, the Office of Special Counsel has charged that the department's human resources offices tailored job descriptions for jobs at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to help a trio of staffers who worked on the president's 2008 campaign.


The report alleges that the staff was warned that their efforts would violate laws designed to keep federal hiring merit-based but pressed ahead anyway. The candidates were reportedly favored by Alan Bersin, the former commissioner of the border protection agency.

Ultimately, the former campaign staffers were not interviewed or hired after officials at the DHS and the Office of Personnel Management stepped in.

“Human resources officials are on the front lines when it comes to upholding our merit system and preventing improper political burrowing into the career civil service,” Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said in a statement obtained by the Post.

“They should be the last people breaking civil service rules, especially after being warned not to do so repeatedly.”

The agency has vowed to work with investigators as they examine whether hiring rules were violated.