Lurita Doan: bad manager, bad memory

By: Andrea Chamblee
Published On: 4/24/2007 2:36:45 PM

The heat is being turned up under GSA, the General Services Agency that contracts out government services and made fortunes for Jack Abramoff and Tom Davis. Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan is yet another appointee who can't remember meetings.  In the Post earlier this afternoon:

Sens. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Doan politicized the agency, tried to give a no-bid job to a friend, "intervened" in a contract that could cost taxpayers millions and tried to curtail the ability of the agency's auditors to examine contracts.

"In a year she has, again and again, demonstrated that she is not willing to bring the objectivity that is necessary in the management of an agency with this kind of impact on the lives of our taxpayers and the American people," Wyden said at a Capitol Hill news briefing.

Scott Higham and Robert O'Harrow Jr. are the reporters that broke the story of how Tom Davis and his wife combine to profit from government contracts and hearings before the Government Reform Committee when Davis was the chair.

After the PowerPoint presentation, General Services Administration chief Lurita Alexis Doan allegedly asked how GSA employees could "help 'our candidates' in the next elections," according to statements that several participants provided to congressional investigators. But she testified last month before Waxman's committee, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, that she could not recall details of the PowerPoint presentation.

The Abramoff case proceeds also.  Also in today's Post.

A former senior staffer on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud the public by steering potential clients and inside government information to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in return for cash, gifts and the promise of a high-paying job on K Street.

Mark Dennis Zachares admitted to prosecutors that he accepted more than $30,000 in tickets to 40 sporting events, a luxury golf trip to Scotland and $10,000 in cash from Abramoff and his lobbying team. He acknowledged providing them with information about the reorganization of the Homeland Security Department, federal disaster and highway aid, and maritime issues.


Zachares's case embodies two of Abramoff's hallmarks: seeking to place allies in government jobs so he could gain influence, and winning favors for clients by dangling lucrative lobbying jobs before congressional staffers.


More: investigations lead from GSA's powerpoint to Karl Rove! (Andrea Chamblee - 4/24/2007 3:00:24 PM)
According to today's LA Times, "Office of Special Counsel is preparing to jump into one of the most sensitive and potentially explosive issues in Washington..."

For example, Rove and his top aides met each year with presidential appointees throughout the government, using PowerPoint presentations to review polling data and describe high-priority congressional and other campaigns around the country.

Some officials have said they understood that they were expected to seek opportunities to help Republicans in these races, through federal grants, policy decisions or in other ways.

A former Interior Department official, Wayne R. Smith, who sat through briefings from Rove and his then-deputy Ken Mehlman, said that during President Bush's first term, he and other appointees were frequently briefed on political priorities.

"We were constantly being reminded about how our decisions could affect electoral results," Smith said.

"This is a big deal," Paul C. Light, a New York University expert on the executive branch, said of Bloch's plan. "It is a significant moment for the administration and Karl Rove. It speaks to the growing sense that there is a nexus at the White House that explains what's going on in these disparate investigations."

We need to watch the watchdog (PM - 4/24/2007 6:40:29 PM)

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) today sharply criticized the decision to allow the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) to launch a broad investigation into three brewing Administration scandals, alleging that the move "suggests the possibility that the White House is orchestrating a cover-up of its illegal and improper activities."

As RAW STORY noted earlier, the Los Angeles Times reported today that "the Office of Special Counsel is about to launch a sweeping investigation into Karl Rove's political operations."*** But as editor for The Nation David Corn noted, OSC head Scott Bloch, a presidential appointee, has been marred with scandal himself. The Washington Post reported in February that the Office of Personnel Management's inspector general has been investigating Bloch for alleged intimidation of career appointees. In May 2005, the Post reported on Bloch's refusal to enforce a discrimination ban within his office. And in April 2005, Bloch's office was accused of political bias.

Keep Watching The Democrats (mmc0412 - 4/25/2007 1:27:00 PM)
That's where the story is.  Waxman, et al.  This OSC investigation just smells of a Rove tactic.  Kind of like how he bugged his own office and blamed it on the Democrats.

WaPo Jumps In on the Story (PM - 4/26/2007 6:40:41 AM)

White House officials conducted 20 private briefings on Republican electoral prospects in the last midterm election for senior officials in at least 15 government agencies covered by federal restrictions on partisan political activity, a White House spokesman and other administration officials said yesterday.

Prediction:  In the end we'll find that Rove was having political work done on the taxpayer's dime at the agencies.  (I don't mean briefings, but actual political work.)

After the Rove briefing: "Action Items" (Andrea Chamblee - 4/26/2007 10:07:36 AM)
The reason GSA was briefed is because when projects are finished, this agency manages the ribbon cutting ceremonies, press conferences, etc.  One idea of the briefing was to schedule Republican incumbents  at these events, to give them air time, ink, and credit fot he project. Unfortunately, or as part of the cover up, it's difficult to get the schedule for these events to see who appeared. The Post (that liberal media which according to last night's Bill Moyers special, ran 27 editorials in the month before the Iraq War about how it was a "Slam Dunk"), didn't take the story to its logical conclusion, and request from GSA a schedule of events.  Tom Davis's website doesn't show his schedule for August through October 2006, before the election when these events would have been most valuable.