Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Something Nice to Say: Wyden Calls for GSA Chief's Head

Given the hard time we've given Ron and his staff about walking on eggshells around Gordon Smith, it's nice to see that he still has the gumption to go after malfeasance in the Executive Branch. Along with Sen. Dorgan of North Dakota, he's calling for the resignation of General Services Administration head Lurita Alexis Doan, on the basis of allegations that Doan violated the Hatch Act by using appointed civil servants for partisan electoral ends:
Two senators called yesterday for Doan to resign, saying she has "crossed the line" during her 11-month tenure and "misunderstands her role" as leader of the agency.

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.

In response, Doan's office issued a statement: "The Administrator remains greatly optimistic about the future of the General Services Administration and is humbled and honored to serve the President and the American people in leading this great agency. Her commitment to fiscal discipline and effective government have never been stronger and she looks forward to continuing successes in the days ahead."
See any denial in that quote from Doan? Me neither.

The attention on Doan is part of a larger investigation that questions Karl Rove's involvement in a wide range of partisan activity allegedly occurring in governmental offices, including the now-famous US Attorney firings. In that sense going for Doan likely misses the true culprit, but you build up from the bottom and squeeze people until they give up the names of who gave them the order. Eventually you will get to the head of the snake and can cut it off, but for now it's just great to see the recently-rare bird of oversight flying over Capitol Hill again.