Friday, March 30, 2007

BUSH REGIME ADMITTING THE POLITICIZATION OF THE GSA IS NORMAL OPERATING PROCEDURE

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In the last couple of days I've tried to cover the Waxman hearings on the politicization of the General Services Administration (GSA) and how Rove illegally uses the federal bureaucracy to advance a narrow partisan agenda. Yesterday I reprinted the entire letter than Waxman sent to Rove demanding truthful answers. Today this escalating story of gross political corruption made it into the Washington Post.

Waxman and the congressmen on his House Oversight and Government Reform Committee were aghast at how blatantly the Bush Regime has been using the federal bureaucracy to push Republican Party electoral goals. This practice was made explicitly illegal by the Hatch Act. Keep in mind that this is not a reference to sleazy Bush Regime apologist Orrin Hatch (R-UT), but to principled Senator Carl Hatch (D-NM). The actual name of the law is officially "An Act to Prevent Pernicious Political Activities." It was passed in 1939 to combat a perception of Democratic Party corruption, although it was proposed by a Democrat, and passed by Democrats and signed by a Democratic President. The Republicans, in the Senate, a thoroughly discredited-- but still pesky-- minority party at the time, wanted a much tougher version than the Democrats and the Democrats went along with them and let them have their way. Their addition legislates that anyone below policymaking level in the executive branch of the federal government must not only refrain from political practices that would be illegal for any citizen but must abstain from "any active part" in political campaigns. The Hatch Act was challenged, unsuccessfully twice before the Supreme Court (1947 and 1974).

With that in mind, think about Rove and his political shop in the White House sending over slide shows to government departments targeting vulnerable Democratic congressmen and asking for help in shoring up the electoral fortunes of unpopular Republican incumbents. As the Post puts it:
Six political appointees at the GSA who participated in the videoconference said [GSA Director] Doan asked at the conclusion how the agency could help GOP candidates win in the next elections, according to a letter Waxman sent to Doan.

During the hearing, Doan said at least 10 times that she does not recall asking employees to help the GOP or does not recall details about the presentation.

The matter is being investigated by the independent Office of Special Counsel.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the presentation was not out of the ordinary.

"There is regular communication from the White House to political appointees throughout the administration," he said.

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