Bush politicizes formerly non-partisan government agency, part 794

In what should sadly come as a surprise to absolutely know one who actually has been paying attention the last few years, new evidence suggests that the President has not politicized the Office of National Drug Control Policy, i.e,. The Drug Czar.  From today's Post:

White House
officials arranged for top officials at the Office of National Drug
Control Policy to help as many as 18 vulnerable Republican congressmen
by making appearances and sometimes announcing new federal grants in
the lawmakers' districts in the months leading up to the November 2006
elections, a Democratic lawmaker said yesterday.

Rep. Henry A. Waxman (Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee,
said documents obtained by his panel suggest that the appearances by
the drug control officials were part of a larger White House effort to
politicize the work of federal agencies that “may be more widespread
than previously known.”

Waxman cited a memo written by former White House political director Sara M. Taylor showing that John P. Walters, director of the drug control office, and his deputies traveled at taxpayer expense to about 20 events with vulnerable GOP members of Congress in the three months leading up to the elections.

In a letter to Taylor, Waxman also pointed to an e-mail by an official in the drug policy office describing President Bush's top political adviser Karl Rove
as being pleased that the office, along with the Commerce,
Transportation and Agriculture departments, went “above and beyond” the
call of duty in arranging appearances by Cabinet members at campaign

“This recognition is not something we hear every day and
we should feel confident that our hard work is noticed,” said the
e-mail, written by Douglas Simon, the drug policy office's White House
liaison. “The director and the deputies deserve the most recognition
because they actually had to give up time with their families for the
god awful places we sent them.”

The drug control office has had a
history of being nonpartisan, and a 1994 law bans the agency's
officials from engaging in political activities even on their own time.

Democrats and reality-based Republicans (I know there's a few of you out there) may continue shaking their heads in dismay.  The rest of you may continue to keep your heads in the sand regarding this President. 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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