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Novak defends Doan

Syndicated columnists Robert Novak this morning comes to Lurita Doan's defense.

A year ago Lurita Alexis Doan, an innovative African American entrepreneur from Northern Virginia, took a big government job: chief executive of the General Services Administration (GSA). After 12 months she is on the ropes. She is the victim of a fiercely partisan Democratic congressman, an obscure government official trying to vindicate himself and a lame-duck Republican White House unwilling to protect her...

This is a cautionary tale about Washington, where well-motivated people can find themselves sinking into a political cesspool -- especially at the end of an eight-year administration. With the GSA's 13,000 employees and $56 billion in annual contracts (to construct and maintain federal buildings), Doan was naive in thinking it enough to institute businesslike procedures. "Ever since I made the decision to restore fiscal discipline to all divisions within GSA," she has said, "I have had to face a series of personal attacks and charges." Clearly difficult to work with, Doan may face a humiliating dismissal by President Bush...

The Jan. 26 meeting targeted no candidate for support, solicited no GSA employee for political activity and resulted in no follow-up. Doan's question actually was addressed to Jennings. "The harsh penalties under the Hatch Act for a brief slip-up are unwarranted," a congressional Republican source close to the situation told me. "Doan's resignation is a punishment that does not fit the crime."


Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jun 04, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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