Waxman to Doan: It's time to go

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said the GSA administrator should resign or face being fired by President Bush.

The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today called for Lurita Doan, the administrator of the General Services Administration, to step down.During his closing statement at the end of a four-hour hearing into allegations of wrongdoing by the GSA administrator, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said Doan should choose to resign.“I would urge you to resign,” Waxman told Doan during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which he heads.The hearing -- the second time Doan has appeared before the committee -- mostly focused on allegations that Doan had violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits using government agencies for partisan political purposes.Doan defended herself, emphatically denying that she sought ramifications against any GSA employees who may have testified regarding the allegations.Meanwhile, the committee’s ranking Republican, Rep. Tom Davis (Va.), said it has beaten a dead horse in calling Doan in again. The issue lacks substance compared with the other issues, such as information security, needing the committee’s attention, he said.Waxman, however, called Doan an ineffective leader who has learned nothing in her year at GSA’s helm, as evidenced by a list of alleged misconduct. He said he has no confidence in Doan.“It’s unusual for me to ever call for the resignation of a federal official, but, in your case, I don’t see any other course of action that would protect the interest of your agency or the federal taxpayer,” Waxman told her.The Office of Special Counsel recently found Doan in violation of the Hatch Act, which prohibits the use of government resources or time for political ends. OSC’s investigation focused on a PowerPoint presentation a White House aide gave in January at GSA headquarters regarding the standings for Republicans and Democrats in the upcoming election. Witnesses said Doan asked, “How can we help our candidates?” during the presentation.The OSC investigation report, which was leaked to the media last month, has been sent to Bush with recommendations to punish Doan for the violation. Doan has said the report is unfair and off the mark.At today’s hearing, Doan denied she violated the act because she cannot remember what she said at the presentation.Waxman also took issue with Doan’s record. He said his committee has investigated her for intervening on behalf of Sun Microsystems for a GSA contract, entering into an illegal $20,000 contract with a friend’s public relations firm and making false statements to the committee. Doan has charged bias against GSA Inspector General Brian Miller, OSC and some GSA employees who testified to investigators against her, Waxman added.“What I am not seeing is any recognition that your own conduct might be the reason you’re here today,” Waxman said, adding that he sees no remorse from Doan for her actions.After the hearing, Doan told reporters she tried to reiterate how the leak of the OSC report, which included the names of government employees who testified, was inappropriate and hurt those employees.“It was wrong, and I feel badly that we’re having a hearing discussing something that we say shouldn’t be in the public,” Doan said.She said she was unsure if she conveyed her point to the committee. “I did the best I could,” she said.
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