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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.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    I understand algore did the very same thing. Manbearpig should go to jail, but I doubt it will be for that. I think fraud will be the charges that finally catch up to him.
    How is your friend Francis Fox Piven doing, Doug? Has she incited any riots or encouraged Greece like problems? When you have the time away from your obviously busy law practice, please list the ways Beck endangeded Piven by repeating what she advocates?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. Mithras says:

    Obama has covered up for the Bush administration so far; doubtless this too will be swept under the rug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. IP727 says:

    Obummer dare not say a word, or his buddies within the federal employees unions will have to
    be given immunity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. IP727 says:

    Obammer and his boy toy rahm tried to use influence to have bagdonovich (sp) appoint the hack they wanted in obammer’s slot whe he was elected pres. Hatch act anyone??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. Gustopher says:

    For an assault on our democracy –which this clearly is– can’t we treat it more seriously than just a slap on the wrist?

    How about jail, or the death penalty?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. tom p says:

    >>>When you have the time away from your obviously busy law practice, please list the ways Beck ENDANGEDED Piven by repeating what she advocates?<<<

    ZR III: This is an english only website…

    Don't come back until you can write it (or at least decent spanish)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. tom p says:

    IP727: I repeat: this is an english only website… if you can not speak english, please speak translatable spanish… thank you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. john personna says:

    Funny that Zelsdorf invokes Beck. Was that even covered here?

    I just saw some of the “shoot them in the head” and “shoot me in the forehead” clips. That stuff is bat-sh*t insane.

    And yes, it undermines the position that ‘oh, these conservatives don’t do anything to instigate an actual culture of violence’ in no small degree.

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  9. Steve Plunk says:

    Reimbursement is fair. I doubt this rises to a truly criminal level of behavior. BTW, what does the Office of Political Affairs do? You would think politics.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. IP727 says:

    m p says:
    Monday, January 24, 2011 at 19:24
    IP727: I repeat: this is an english only website… if you can not speak english, please speak translatable spanish… thank you

    Lieber Tom, zögern Sie nicht, mir den Hintern an Ihrer Bequemlichkeit zu küssen.
    ~~muchas gracias

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  11. anjin-san says:

    The Bush administration broke the law? I am speechless :)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. An Interested Place says:

    “Lieber Tom, zögern Sie nicht, mir den Hintern an Ihrer Bequemlichkeit zu küssen.”

    German, eh? How very appropriate for you…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Nick says:

    We invade another nation on manufactured evidence, kill at least 100,000 people, displace a few million more, at a cost of $3 to $5 trillion dollars long term, and you’re concerned about some Hatch Act violation?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. wr says:

    Nick — They took Capone down on tax evasion…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. anjin-san says:

    > We invade another nation on manufactured evidence, kill at least 100,000 people, displace a few million more, at a cost of $3 to $5 trillion dollars long term

    Yea, but thank God we captured the WMD stockpiles before it was too late…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. James Joyner says:

    The line at which political appointees cross over into abuses of the Hatch Act has always been rather murky, and gets crossed routinely. We usually find out about in well after the fact.

    What’s clear is this: They were very inept in this case. I mean, Republicans got KILLED in 2006.

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  17. tom p says:

    IP727…

    well said!

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  18. TG Chicago says:

    I’m with Mithras. Obama will look forward, not backward. Crimes are for little people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. IP727 says:

    An Interested Place says:
    Monday, January 24, 2011 at 21:55
    “Lieber Tom, zögern Sie nicht, mir den Hintern an Ihrer Bequemlichkeit zu küssen.”
    German, eh? How very appropriate for you

    votre McCarthyism est dûment noté

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. An Interested Place says:

    “votre McCarthyism est dûment noté”

    Wie Ihre Strohmannargumentierung…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0