Electioneering On The Taxpayer's Dime
Starting in 2001, White House political aides gave at least a half-dozen briefings to top diplomats about key congressional and gubernatorial races and Bush's re-election goals, according to documents obtained by the Senate committee.
The diplomats were Bush appointees, several of whom had contributed heavily to the campaigns of Bush and other Republicans. Administration officials said Tuesday there was nothing surprising or inappropriate about the briefings. [Emphasis added].
It may not be surprising, given this administration, but it is inappropriate, and perhaps even illegal as a violation of the Hatch Act. The article points out that as recently as January, 2007, Karl Rove attended a luncheon for some of these diplomats and spoke about the Democratic incumbents being targeted in the 2008 elections. The implication is clear: keep the money coming, folks, we've got a campaign to run. This is precisely the kind of pressure the Hatch Act was designed to prevent.
As the article points out, these kinds of activities have been endemic in this administration:
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel recently concluded that General Services Administration head Lurita Alexis Doan violated the Hatch Act when she purportedly asked political appointees to help GOP candidates in tight races.
Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., recently criticized top officials of the Office of National Drug Control Policy for traveling to events designed to boost Republican lawmakers in tough re-election campaigns. Waxman chairs the House oversight committee.
And the official White House response to the discovery of the electioneering on worksites during work hours?
"You've got political appointees getting political briefings," White House press secretary Tony Snow said with sarcasm. "I'm shocked. Shocked."
You should be shocked, Mr. Snow, and you would be if you were any kind of real American concerned with the rule of law.
Labels: Election 2008