Waxman Calls GSA Chief Back for Encore

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May 24, 2007 6:19 p.m.

General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan was such a hit in her hearing with the House oversight committee last time around, Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) wants her back. You can read Waxman’s letter to Doan here (pdf).

Waxman wants to know if Doan tried to smear agency employees who testified against her in an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel. All the employees who were witnesses, she told investigators, were biased against her — they were poor performers who “will not be getting promoted and they will not be getting bonuses or special awards or anything of that nature.”

The Office of Special Counsel recently concluded its investigation of Doan and found that she’d violated the Hatch Act, a finding which could lead to her termination. On January 26th, Karl Rove’s deputy Scott Jennings gave a presentation at GSA headquarters about Republican political prospects. According to several witnesses, Doan asked “How can we help our candidates” at the conclusion of the presentation. After some participants offered suggestions, Jennings asked that the session be taken “off-line.” It’s against the law to use federal resources for political ends.

Now, Doan has testified that she doesn’t remember ever saying anything about “helping our candidates.” And she apparently tried very hard to convince investigators that all those witnesses were disgruntled. “There’s not a single one of those who did not have somewhere in between a poor to totally inferior performance.”

Except that wasn’t true, investigators found. So Waxman wants to know why she’d say such a thing. The hearing is scheduled for June 7.

Smearing employees who don’t toe the line seems to be something of a hobby with the Bush administration, Waxman notes:

Over the past five months, it’s become clear that the Justice Department falsely raised issues about the competence of the eight U.S. Attorneys who were dismissed last December. That tactic has been condemned across our country and by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. It would be remarkable if you adopted that same tactic in trying to discredit GSA employees who cooperated with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Office of Special Counsel.

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