Friday, April 06, 2007

Did Karl Rove Set Up Regular Political Briefings in Federal Agencies?

You may remember the PowerPoint slide show presented by the White House political office to the GSA, the one with this map listing the Delaware governor's race is "Not Competitive" for the GOP:
Now ABC News reports that the political briefing has prompted an investigation:
The Office of Special Counsel confirmed to ABC News it has launched an investigation into General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan, probing concerns she may have violated a ban against conducting partisan political activity at government expense by participating in a meeting featuring a presentation by a White House political aide on GOP election strategy.
Was presenting a political briefing to the GSA, a non-political agency, a momentary lapse of judgement on the part of Karl Rove's office? Perhaps not:
The White House political office has been giving presentations similar to the one at GSA since at least 2002, briefing officials throughout the government on Republican campaign information, according to a recent book by two Los Angeles Times reporters.
"[White House political adviser Karl] Rove and [former Bush campaign chief and one-time Republican National Committee head Ken] Mehlman ventured to nearly every cabinet agency to share key polling data" leading up to the 2002 midterm elections, wrote Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten in their book, "One Party Country," "and to deliver a reminder of White House priorities, including the need for the president's allies to win in the next election."
While previous administrations had sent officials to cabinet agencies, the duo wrote, "Such intense regular communication from the political office had never occurred before."

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