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NYT editorial on Doan

Speaking of a rush to judgment... The NYT offers its editorial take on the Doan affair today.

Forget Ethics, Remember Politics [NYT, 5.29.2007]

The Bush administration's never-ending push to turn federal agencies into favor-filled partisan clubhouses has just been confirmed in red-handed detail at the General Services Administration, the government's main housekeeping agency. Investigators found that Lurita Doan, the Bush appointee running the agency, violated the Hatch Act, which forbids federal workers from politicking on the job.

Last January, Ms. Doan summoned her assistants to a campaign strategy session run by Karl Rove's White House political operation. Tax-paid employees were treated to a PowerPoint briefing and slide show identifying Democrats marked as "2008 House Targets: Top 20." Witnesses recalled Ms. Doan asking the gathering how they could "help our candidates" with GSA favors.

Like so many Bush appointees lately summoned to account by Congress, Ms. Doan repeatedly said she could not recall details of the meeting. In a bit of novelty, she claimed to be engrossed in reading her BlackBerry e-mail messages. Investigators of the United States Office of Special Counsel found no forensic evidence that she was using electronic devices during the meeting. Her other defense — that her accusers were poor-performing malcontents — was also found untrue, with several holding merit citations.

Ms. Doan promises to document errors in the scathing report, which was obtained by The Washington Post. But her credibility now stands as tattered as her memory. Her fate will be in President Bush's hands, who supposedly knows a slam dunk when he sees one. Ms. Doan should be dismissed for violating one of the most hallowed laws of fairness in government service. As for Mr. Rove, who has run this partisan traveling show through other federal agencies, this is only the latest abuse for which he needs to be brought fully and finally to account.


Aside from the factual error -- by all accounts, Doan never "summoned her assistants" to the meeting -- one of the issues facing Doan is her perception. She is no longer seen as the straight talker, but rather she is more closely associated with 'I don't remember.'

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on May 29, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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