Report: Bush Aides Violated Hatch Act During 2006 Elections
I’m not sure if this will end up going anywhere but it sure sounds serious:
During the 2006 midterm elections, White House political aides to President George W. Bush engaged in widespread violations of a federal law which limits partisan political activity by government employees, a long-running federal investigation has found.
A 118-page report issued Monday by the little-known Office of Special Counsel cites numerous violations of the Hatch Act by staffers in the White House Office of Political Affairs. The report concludes that federal taxpayers footed the bill for improper activities that were intended to advance Republican political candidates.
“The entire [Office of Political Affairs] staff was enlisted in pursuit of Republican success at the polls and many OPA employees believed that effort was part of their official job duties,”the report concludes. “Based on the extent of the activities described below, OSC concludes that the political activities of OPA employees were not incidental to their official functions, and thus U.S. Treasury funds were unlawfully used to finance efforts to pursue Republican victories at the polls in 2006.”
The report also finds that, during the 2006 election cycle, Office of Political Affairs staffers “tracked the amount of money raised at fundraisers held by Republican candidates and national, state and local Republican groups.”
The Office of Special Counsel also found “a systematic misuse of federal resources” in 2006, when Bush administration cabinet members traveled to the districts of members of Congress whom the White House designated as priority candidates. The inquiry found that many of the trips that had been designated as official business and billed to the Treasury were primarily political and part of a White House-directed effort called the “final push.”
Violations of the Hatch Act can result in criminal charges. The Office of Special Counsel probe was reportedly delayed at one point so the Justice Department could examine some of the same issues; neither the Justice Department nor the Obama administration had immediate comment Monday on the investigation.
Even if there aren’t criminal prosecutions, it would seem clear that the RNC, the NRCC, the NRSC, or the individual campaigns should reimburse the Federal Government for the costs the taxpayers paid that they shouldn’t have.