“Don’t worry, George – no one really cares about honesty”
The Bush White House, particularly before the 2006 midterm elections, routinely violated a federal law that prohibits use of federal tax dollars to pay for political activities by creating a “political boiler room” that coordinated Republican campaign activities nationwide, a report issued Monday by an independent federal agency concludes.
The report by the Office of Special Counsel finds that the Bush administration’s Office of Political Affairs — overseen by Karl Rove — served almost as an extension of the Republican National Committee, developing a “target list” of Congressional races, organizing dozens of briefings for political appointees to press them to work for party candidates, and sending cabinet officials out to help these campaigns…
The Office of Special Counsel, a relatively obscure federal agency, is charged with enforcing the Hatch Act, a 1939 law that prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity. Certain members of the White House political staff — including the top aides at the Office of Political Affairs — are exempt, as are the president, vice president and members of the cabinet. But the law still prohibits the use of federal money, even by these officials, to support political causes.
The report found that during the Bush administration, senior staff members at the Office of Political Affairs violated the Hatch Act by organizing 75 political briefings from 2001 to 2007 for Republican appointees at top federal agencies in an effort to enlist them to help Republicans get elected to Congress…
“These briefings created an environment aimed at assisting Republican candidates, constituting political activity within the meaning of the Hatch Act,” the 118-page report said…
The investigators also found evidence that the Bush White House improperly classified travel by senior officials as official government business, “when it was, in fact, political,” and the costs associated with this travel were never reimbursed.
A spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel said Monday that because the administration officials had left office, it no longer has jurisdiction to file any charges. It also said that it had not made a formal referral to the Justice Department to ask it to pursue any possible charges.
Obama’s version of the same Office of Political Affairs hasn’t conducted business with federal dollars – and has been moved to Chicago to assure functioning with political party funds. Just another area of “change” Republicans hate – and would reverse if they were once again in charge of the White House.
Corruption and deceit as a lifestyle is hard to leave. Just ask Dick Armey.