The story floating on Capitol Hill is that they did. According to Politico:
Kathryn Rexrode, the House Judiciary Committee’s communications director, declined to comment about the aides’ work. A Judiciary Committee aide said Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) was not “consulted by the administration on the executive order.”
President Trump’s executive order on restricted immigration was a surprise to just about everyone, including the Department of Homeland Security, which according to various sources was not consulted prior to its signing. That became obvious after the confusing and conflicting implementation orders caused a train wreck.
As for what to do with Congressional staffers who moonlight for the executive branch? Leon Wolf offered the consensus view.
If I'm a MOC and one of my staffers worked for the executive branch w/o notifying me on literally anything I'd fire them immediately
— Leon Wolf (@LeonHWolf) January 31, 2017
I'd do it without a second thought. And I don't like firing people.
— Lando Calridian (@miyridian) January 31, 2017
@_Drew_McCoy_ without hesitation
— The H2 (@TheH2) January 31, 2017
Kick them to the curb. Literally.
— Drew McCoy (@_Drew_McCoy_) January 31, 2017
Were they fired? No. (Not yet, at least, and certainly not publicly.)
In fact, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) covered for his committee’s staff, claiming he “allowed them to provide their expertise to the Trump transition team on immigration law.”
The next sentence reads: “To be clear, while they gave advice to the new Administration, they did not have decision making authority on the policy.” All of this is certainly true.
But let’s read between the lines. The staffers were allowed to provide expertise to the transition team. That indicates it was before the inauguration. Then, they gave advice to the new Administration. That’s after the inauguration. They had permission to work with the transition team, but not with the Administration. Both things can be true, and a press release can be crafted in just such a way to paper over what wasn’t said.
The staffers did not have permission to work with the Administration, and they did it without informing their committee chair. That’s pretty serious stuff. My guess is that Trump White House people contacted them, since they were working with those individuals beforehand. They must have said “don’t tell anyone, but…” Totally unkosher, and if this wasn’t the highlight reel of government amateur hour they’d be fired.
Apparently the Trump Administration is getting a lot of grace from people who know better.