This post has been updated to include new information
The Office of Special Counsel confirmed that it delivered to President Bush today its investigative report concluding General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan violated the law that limits political activity in federal agencies, leaving Doan's future in the hands of the White House.
A spokesman for the Office of Special Counsel, the agency that investigates alleged Hatch Act violations, confirmed that the report was sent to the White House, but would not provide details.
OSC's investigation focused on Doan's role in a Jan. 26 meeting at GSA headquarters, where Scott Jennings, special assistant to the president and a deputy of political adviser Karl Rove, showed a 28-slide PowerPoint presentation to more than 30 GSA political appointees that analyzed the results of the 2006 midterm election and prospects for the 2008 elections.
The OSC concluded Doan violated the Hatch Act when she asked at the conclusion of the meeting how the agency could help Republican candidates. Doan's counsel has argued that the investigation was not conducted objectively and a stigma of impropriety overshadows the case.
Federal employees who violate the Hatch Act should be removed from their position, according to the Hatch Act. But the Merit Systems Protection Board can find, by unanimous vote, that a violation does not warrant removal and issue a penalty of at least 30 days of suspension without pay.
Since Doan is a presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate, Bush, not the Merit Systems Protection Board, must make a decision regarding disciplinary action. The White House did not return calls requesting comment.
In related news, OSC has provided the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee with redacted transcripts of their nine-hour interview with Doan, along with the e-mail records obtained by OSC to determine whether Doan was using her Blackberry during specific time periods during the January meeting. The panel's chairman, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., and ranking member, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., both received copies of the report, the OSC spokesman said.
On Wednesday Doan is scheduled to appear before the oversight committee to discuss her allegations that GSA employees who testified about her statements at the Jan. 26 meeting were biased and poor performers. Waxman also said Doan may be asked other questions about her previous statements to the committee and to officials involved in the OSC investigation.
Update: A White House spokeswoman said late Friday afternoon that the report has been received by the administration and it will be reviewed. She did not know how long that will take.
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