I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Politics All the Time, Governance Be Damned

It hasn't been a secret that BushCo has politicized governance, the DOJ has been one of the more public messes along with Dorita Doan over at GSA but McClatchy Papers raises the smell a bit higher. From 7/01 to 8/06 the Treasury got at least 10 political briefings and Commerce got four in (big surprise) '02, '04, '06. The Hatch Act violations that possibly go along with this behavior might be enough to get your goat, but there's EVEN MORE.

McClatchy's investigation of Treasury and Commerce officials' public appearances show a pattern of grant and funding announcements coinciding with GOP political interests. In fact they seem to coincidentally coincide with the goals set out in the "briefings." Congressional investigation has caused one Anonymous congressional aide to state that there are, ' "a number of remarkable coincidences" similar to how Treasury and Commerce events appeared to coincide with the strategy in the political briefings.' Included in the investigation's findings is that White House Drug Czar John Walters took 20 taxpayer paid trips to appear with Republican candidates.

"In the months leading up to the 2002 election, then-Commerce Secretary Don Evans, Bush's former campaign-finance chairman, made eight appearances or announcements with Republican incumbents in districts deemed by White House aides either as competitive districts or battleground presidential states. During the stops, he doled out millions of dollars in grants, including in two public announcements with Rep. Heather Wilson, a New Mexico Republican in a competitive district."

Now if I were talking about a Democratic administration the stuff would hit the proverbial fan, but somehow this is just business as usual for BushCo. Let's not be naive, any administration would like to have its accomplishments seen as an outgrowth of its ideology and would make certain that its Party's candidates had access to information to make that case. Nobody in their right mind would try to censure that, but there is a difference between governing and bragging about it and directing policy to benefit candidates. The latter is the reason for the Hatch Act. Maybe somebody remembers the stink raised about political contributors "earning" a night in the Lincoln Bedroom? That, of course, was back in the innocent days before the "permanent Republican majority."

Look here, I have campaigned for national office and I surely made a point of the benefits to my constituency of electing somebody with my views. I had every intention of winning and then attempting to bring forward the policies I espoused. Fortunately for me, somebody else got to try on Greg Walden, but at no time did it occur to me that it would be acceptable to use the government as my political tool. Such behavior is so corrosive to the good of the country as a whole that there is actually a law forbidding it - the Hatch Act. Here's the bad joke:

"Violations of the Hatch Act are treated as administrative, not criminal, matters, and punishment for violations ranges from suspension to termination. The administration has not taken any action against Doan." I know the care and caution that some people exercise in respect to the Hatch Act, one of my most ardent and committed supporters is a Federal Employee and his conduct was such that not even the most vindictive investigation would be able to find a whiff of violation. It is not that difficult to be politically active and fly straight - except for BushCo.

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