General Services Administrator Lurita Doan has endured not one witch hunt, but a series of them, conducted by Rep. Henry Waxman, in an attempt both to slime Ms. Doan and, almost certainly, to use her to get at the man the left considers the Ultimate Bogeyman, Karl Rove. I’ve been blogging about this case for months now. Earlier this month, both Bob Novak and Stephen Moore (no link available), to their credit, came rushing to her defense. About nine days ago, Waxman’s committee again raked her over the coals. Never mind that two earlier allegations against her turned out to be utterly unfounded. Never mind that the current allegation wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans even if true. The idea is to punish Ms. Doan for daring (she’s an African-American) to actually be a Republican despite her supposed place in life as a vassal of the Democratic Party–and, while they are at it, use her as a stepping stone to Rove, because, well, the newest allegation against her involves a meeting conducted by an aide to Rove, and, well, all roads lead to Rove and of course the Dems all think Rove is evil, so, golly gee, there just MUST be something Roven in the state of Doanmark!
For the unitiated: a group of political appointees at GSA attended a brown bag lunch in January at which a Rove aide gave a report on the recent elections and what they meant for the long-term political outlook. (Political appointees talking politics: The horrors!!) At some point, Doan supposedly asked what “they” could do to “help our candidates.”
That’s it. There is no allegation that anybody used those words as a prompt to actually do anything political. No allegation that anybody was pressured to do anything. No nothing — just a question that, frankly, on its face, seems rather innocent.
But the Office of Special Counsel, led by a guy himself embroiled in controversy who is now making a name for himself sucking up to the Washington Post (could he hope that the Post will help him get off the hook for the allegations against him?), concluded that Ms. Doan violated the Hatch Act that forbids politicization of the bureaucracy.
Hence the Waxman hearing.
Well, when all the smoke cleared, Waxman had nothing more of consequence. It was a whole lot of hoo-rah over a whole lot of nothing. The committee’s ranking Republican, Tom Davis, put it all in perspective. Mind you, Davis is no partisan hatchet man. He’s about as moderate a member of Congress as you’ll ever find. But here’s what he said at the hearing:
“I cannot for the life of me figure out what we’re doing here this morning.” And: “No such retaliation [against ANY government employees] occurred.” And: “Today’s hearing is a gross misuse of Committee resources, built on an unprofessional and seemingly preordained report from the Office of Special Counsel. It is a farce premised on a sham.” And the OSC report “cites no evidence. There are not footnotes, no exhibits…The report fails to identify a single election or candidate Administrator Doan sought to assist.” And “There are so many flaws and injustices and fabrications here [in the OSC report and in the committee investigation], I hardly know where to begin.”
Hear, hear, for Tom Davis! It’s time for Republicans and conservatives of all stripes — indeed, time for all fair-minded people — to rally to Doan’s defense and keep her from being sacrificed. The truth is that she has done a great job streamlining GSA, saving money, improving agency services, etc. She is a boon to this administration and to the country. The administration ought to ignore any suggestions from Waxman or from the OSC, and give Doan some strong support and keep her on the job.