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 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.
Worst President Ever strikes again.
(You can see the report for yourself here)
This chapter addresses how OPA employees violated the Hatch Act by giving political briefings to agency political appointees during the Bush II administration. The briefings typically were given by the OPA Director or Deputy Director, who testified that the briefings were intended to boost morale among political appointees and provide an overview of the “political landscape.” However, witness testimony, e-mail messages, and PowerPoint slides used at some of the briefings indicate that the electoral success of the Republican Party, and
possible strategies for achieving it, were often on the agenda. As such, these briefings constituted political activity. Because most of the briefings took place during normal business hours and in government buildings, many of the briefings implicated the Hatch Act’s prohibition against engaging in political activity while on duty or in a federal workplace.