You Report to Me - Encounter Books

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You Report to Me

Accountability for the Failing Administrative State

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Available 5/9/2023
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Publication Details

Hardcover / 272 pages
ISBN: 9781641773300
AVAILABLE: 5/9/2023


Coming Soon
You Report to Me
Accountability for the Failing Administrative State

Only a short while ago, it was unimaginable that our nation would face a baby formula shortage facilitated by a bureaucratic delay, or witness the national massive embarrassment of flawed military and diplomatic action, such as the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Yet, our leaders and our federal agencies consistently fail the American people, despite the massive growth of these institutions.

When David Bernhardt became Secretary of the Interior in the Trump Administration, he witnessed the full dysfunction of our federal agencies and learned that America’s sprawling civil service was often unresponsive to the will of the nation’s chief executive. In fact, agency staff aligned with the ideology of one political party often worked to actively “resist” the other. Meanwhile, our elected officials in Congress happily punted significant questions of public policy to those unaccountable agencies.

In You Report to Me, Bernhardt provides a firsthand chronicle of how the bureaucratic swamp really works and reveals how unaccountable power has quietly concentrated in the administrative state over the last two decades. Drawing on his experiences working under two administrations, Bernhardt details how President Trump’s enabling leadership revealed a path for curtailing the administrative state in the future. You Report to Me calls on America’s leaders to turn off autopilot and retake control of this ever-multiplying, unaccountable federal bureaucracy before it completely destroys the Founders’ vision of a government based on the consent of the governed.


About the Author

DAVID BERNHARDT is the only person to ever be confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve as secretary, deputy secretary, and solicitor of the Department of the Interior in its 173+-year history.

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Excerpt

On a cold day in December 2018, while serving as the deputy secretary at the U.S. Department of the Interior, I received a directive to report to the Oval Office to meet with the president of the United States. This was the first time I had been called to the Oval Office, and the circumstances were not ideal.

I understood that my direct supervisor at Interior, Secretary Ryan Zinke, was in the process of resigning. The Washington Post had reported that Secretary Zinke was on the verge of being fired after the department’s inspector general made a criminal referral to the Department of Justice. Zinke, on the other hand, had told me that he was going to resign and that it was entirely his own choice. Given these divergent reports, I was unsure what to expect as I headed over to the White House.

When I crossed the threshold into the Oval Office, President Trump looked up from the Resolute Desk and told me to take a seat. Always a kind host, he asked if I wanted a Coke. He made a few comments regarding his perspective on the current situation with Secretary Zinke, then we briefly discussed the Department of the Interior’s priorities. The president appeared interested in our national parks, deregulation, energy activities, mining, outdoor recreation, forest health, and timber management. He then asked my perspective on a few people he was considering as replacements for Zinke. As the discussion wrapped up, he explained, “You’re going to be running the ship for a while. Do you have any questions?”

I cleared my throat, feeling like the backup quarterback about to be thrown into the game. I had many questions, in fact, but I settled on one: “Who do I report to?”

President Trump looked at me quizzically. “You report to me,” he said.

“I know that’s what the Constitution says,” I acknowledged, choosing my words carefully, “but who do I actually report to?”

“You report to me,” he repeated. He could not have been more clear. I reported directly to him and to no one else!

 

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