Thursday, April 26, 2007

Karl Rove's Disrespect for Hatch Act

Karl Rove and the White House need to brush up on the Hatch Act.

The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of executive branch employees of the federal government, District of Columbia government and some state and local employees who work in connection with federally funded programs.

The Office of Special Counsel is investigating 20 private briefings. Karl Rove conducted one such briefing at the General Services Administration. Rove briefed GSA staffers on GOP candidates that were vulnerable and targeted Democrats.

"Politicization of departments and agencies is a serious issue. We need to know more about these and other briefings," said Chairman Henry Waxman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

There are criminal penaties for using nonpartisan federal agencies for political gain under the Hatch Act.

Except as permitted by subsection (b) hereof, whoever, being an officer or employee of the executive branch of the United States Government, or of any independent agency of the United States, a Federal Reserve bank director, officer, or employee, or an officer or employee of the District of Columbia, including a special Government employee, participates personally and substantially as a Government officer or employee, through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation, or otherwise, in a judicial or other proceeding, application, request for a ruling or other determination, contract, claim, controversy, charge, accusation, arrest, or other particular matter in which, to his knowledge, he, his spouse, minor child, general partner, organization in which he is serving as officer, director, trustee, general partner or employee, or any person or organization with whom he is negotiating or has any arrangement concerning prospective employment, has a financial interest - Shall be subject to the penalties set forth in section 216 of this title.

The White House is busted on this. They aren't trying to deny the meetings. Their strategy is to downplay them and that little thing called breaking the law.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said that he was not familiar with the details of the briefings for other agencies, but that the projected fate of specific candidates was "certainly" discussed. He also said that in addition to the 20 briefings given in 2006-2007, "there were others throughout the last six years," making clear that this was a common Bush administration practice during each election cycle.

Stanzel said that Rove "occasionally spoke to political appointees at departments and agencies" but that his presentations were more "off the cuff" and were meant to convey "their importance to advancing the president's agenda."

These "off the cuff" meetings were also held with Environmental Protection Agency, Veterans Affairs, Department of Transportation, NASA, Housing and Urban Development, Office of Science, Technology Policy and several more. This was a wide spread plan by Rove to politize federal angencies. The damage is what we saw happen to the Juctice Department. There was a movement at the DoJ to hire 150 Regent University School of Law graduates. The school was founded by Pat Robertson and has the distinction of being the worst rated tire four law school in the nation. Many graduates have a problem passing the bar exam.

2004 - 52.5%

2002 - 48.4%

2001- 43.9%

The loyalists the Bushies placed throughout government are Michael Brown-level incompetents. They will be around long after Bush leaves the White House. The next President needs to clean house.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has put online the slides Scott Jennings was using to brief the different agencies. One must ask what the midterm election has to do with NASA's mission of space exploration? Was Rove worried about the GOP GOTV movement on Mars?

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