The U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that George W. Bush administration officials likely violated the federal Hatch Act during the 2006 election cycle, according to a report the office issued Monday.
The OSC is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency with jurisdiction to enforce the Hatch Act, which restricts partisan political activities by federal employees. The OSC reviewed the conduct of White House Office of Political Affairs officials, as well as the OPA’s coordination with the Republican National Committee and political appointee travel in support of Republican candidates.
“A thorough review of the records provided by the White House, the RNC, and the agencies revealed that in addition to presenting political briefings, OPA staff and agency political appointees potentially were engaged in other activities prohibited by the Hatch Act,” the report states. “Specifically, evidence showed that, while on duty, OPA staff members coordinated the official travel of high-level agency political appointees in the Bush II administration for the purpose of assisting in the election or reelection of Republican candidates, a practice referred to as ‘asset deployment.’”
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), then-chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, released a similar report in October 2008.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.