Just when you thought the public had heard most, if not all, of the misdeeds and politicization perpetrated by former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, he turns up in another Congressional report.
A draft report released today by the House Oversight Committee shows the White House Office of Political Affairs directed that taxpayer money be spent on trips for agency heads and other government officials to attend fundraisers for 99 Republicans running for office in 2006.
Such actions are a direct violation of the Hatch Act, which codified a 1907 executive order prohibiting members of civil service from taking “active part in political management or in political campaigns.”
Ken Mehlman, former director of the office, told the Oversight Committee that he was told by then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, that his idea of the Office of Political Affairs being “focused entirely on simply promoting, helping with the Presidents allies” was acceptable.
Moreover, Gonzales office helped the Office of Political Affairs compile an “asset deployment team” comprised of Bush Administration officials that would help Republicans get elected. Mehlman worked directly with the National Republican Congressional Committee to identify candidates that most needed the help of the White House.
According to the Hatch Act, travel expenses for such events must be paid by the campaign. The Bush Administration got around the law by deeming the events to be “official” government business. E-mails sent from the Office of Political Affairs show specific requests for the agency to pay for the travel in order to help the Republican candidates save money on their campaigns.
by Meg White, Buzzflash: New Oversight Report: Bush Administration Wasted Taxpayer Money Trying to Get Republicans Re-elected