Bush Administration Broke Elections Law

It's so fun to see all of us "unhinged liberal bloggers suffering from Bush Derangement Syndrome" be proven right long after the fact about our continually-blogged contention that the Bush administration was breaking the law.

Did I say fun? I meant enraging.
The Bush White House, particularly before the 2006 midterm elections, routinely violated a federal law that prohibits use of federal tax dollars to pay for political activities by creating a "political boiler room" that coordinated Republican campaign activities nationwide, a report issued Monday by an independent federal agency concludes.

The report by the Office of Special Counsel finds that the Bush administration's Office of Political Affairs — overseen by Karl Rove — served almost as an extension of the Republican National Committee, developing a "target list" of Congressional races, organizing dozens of briefings for political appointees to press them to work for party candidates, and sending cabinet officials out to help these campaigns.

...The Office of Special Counsel, a relatively obscure federal agency, is charged with enforcing the Hatch Act, a 1939 law that prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity. Certain members of the White House political staff — including the top aides at the Office of Political Affairs — are exempt, as are the president, vice president and members of the cabinet. But the law still prohibits the use of federal money, even by these officials, to support political causes.

...The investigators also found evidence that the Bush White House improperly classified travel by senior officials as official government business, "when it was, in fact, political," and the costs associated with this travel were never reimbursed.
Which means that the taxpayers were paying for Republican political activity.

Now that the Bush administration has left office, the Office of Special Counsel has no jurisdiction to pursue charges, and will have to make a formal referral to the Justice Department, which is currently declining to comment on whether charges will be filed.

Given the Obama administration's eminent willingness to cover the Bush administration's ass on violations of the Presidential Records Act, and given that Obama's White House had "its own version of the Office of Political Affairs" until last week, I'm guessing we're not going to see a vigorous pursuit of justice, ahem.

Congratulations, BushCo. You got away with it again.

[Previously: Warrantless Wiretapping Program Ruled Illegal, No Charges in Destruction of Torture Tapes, Bush Admits Being a War Criminal.]

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