Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Memory issues at the GSA

Of all the corruption stories out of the Cheney-Bush administration, this is the one so far that has resonated the most with me: GSA Chief Grilled on GOP Slide Show by Paul Kiel, TPM Muckraker 03/28/07.

The YouTube clip there shows Lurita Doan, head of the General Services Administration (GSA), trying to deny she remembers anything about a recent presentation in which she participated that was almost certainly a violation of the federal Hatch Act, which prevents federal agency resources from being used for explicitly partisan purposes.

After I watched it, I kept remembering incidents in my own experience with state and local government and with financial services instituions where something came up that might have been possible inappropriate and/or illegal instances of partisan politics intruding into regular agency or company business.

The instances I remember were much less blatant than the one seems to be in which she was involved. But I remember them years later. People who work for government agencies are very conscious of these things and understand that they can get in real trouble by overtly cooperating with unauthorized partisan activity as part of their professional work. I can imagine the Republican comma-dancers will try to say, oh, it's no big deal, and who could tell that might have been an infraction of a law anyway, and it happens all the time, and Bill Clinton did it too, and yadda, yadda.

But that one I don't buy at all. You might have a question about whether something was in a "gray area" or over the line. But unless you're suffering from Alzheimer's or some other degenerative nerve disease, you don't forget that it happened just a few weeks later.

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