Zach Rausnitz

Biography for Zach Rausnitz

Zach Rausnitz is an Editor in the Government Publishing Group at FierceMarkets. He writes regularly for FierceHomelandSecurity, FierceGovernment and FierceMobileGovernment. He previously interned at the Washington bureau of BBC News, where he worked in the TV, radio and online divisions. While at Brown University, where he got a B.A. in English, he wrote for The College Hill Independent. He lives in D.C. You can reach him at

Articles by Zach Rausnitz

Temporary uses of public land 'remarkably durable'

Private uses of public land that are technically temporary often endure, even when policymakers have other priorities for the land, argues an article published in the Georgetown Law Journal. "Once established, these claims – of which there are hundreds of thousands – seem, in many instances, to take on a life of their own," writes Bruce Huber, a law professor at the University of Notre Dame, in the article.

OIG: FAA missing the big picture on airline safety

Despite having extensive data on airplane safety violations, the Federal Aviation Administration doesn't seek to understand their root causes or identify safety trends, a report from the Transportation Department office of inspector general says.

SBA may request $1.5B bump in lending authority

The new head of the Small Business Administration told lawmakers she may return during fiscal 2015 to ask them to raise the lending limit on its flagship loan program.

Routine leaks ubiquitous but poorly understood, law professor says

Routine leaks to Congress, the press and advocacy groups play a vital and underappreciated role in oversight and presidential power, says an article published in the Georgia Law ReviewAmanda Leiter, the article's author, writes that soft whistleblowing – her term for leaks about policy decisions, not about criminal wrongdoing – is ubiquitous but has received scant attention from academia.

GSA proposal for budget power meets skeptical appropriator

The chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee responsible for the General Services Administration said Tuesday he was skeptical of the agency's request for authority to reinvest the rent it collects back into building repairs. GSA asked for that power, called zero net budget authority, in its fiscal 2015 budget proposal. Currently, when GSA collects rent payments, congressional appropriators decide whether or not to reinvest it in public buildings.

OIG tallies $6B in missing, incomplete State Dept. contract files

Six years of audits and investigations by the State Department office of inspector general turned up $6 billion worth of contracts with missing or incomplete files. In a March 31 report (pdf), the OIG says contract management is a major challenge for the department and "creates conditions conducive to fraud."

Retirement backlog, federal employment both shrink

The Office of Personnel Management processed 11,812 retirement claims in March, more than in any month since April 2013. The agency received only 6,831 claims in March, so its claims backlog declined by about 5,000 during the month. The backlog had grown in both January in February.

As IRS customer service struggles, healthcare provisions loom

The percentage of taxpayers who call the Internal Revenue Service's toll-free line and reach a customer service representative has sagged in recent years – just as the agency expects an upswing in confusion over the Affordable Care Act's tax provisions.

ACA exchanges enrolled 7 million before deadline

More than 7 million people signed up for health insurance through or state exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama announced Tuesday.

Stier: Reform the Senior Executive Service

The head of the Partnership for Public Service urged lawmakers to enact new requirements for entry into the Senior Executive Service and reduce the number of political appointees during a Senate hearing Monday. Before they join the SES, federal leaders ought to have worked outside the public sector, in a different level of government, or in multiple federal agencies, said Max Stier.