Too Righteous?

Congress admits its new rules scare off public servants

Just since November, more than 30 top officials at the Defense Department, the Internal Revenue Service and NASA have announced their resignations rather than abide by tough new ethics laws designed to block federal employees from using their jobs as a fast track to riches in the private sector. Taken aback by the departures and complaints by defense contractors, Congress last week voted to delay the new measures for 60 days.

The sudden flight from public service highlights an already vexing problem. A score of people approached for the once coveted Pentagon job of Under Secretary for Acquisition have refused to...

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