The following item has been updated to correct a misstatement about the personnel files of GSA employees who had given sworn statements to investigators. The Office of the Special Counsel had requested the files.
General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan received an independent report Friday outlining its findings on whether she violated a law that limits government employees from participating in political activities.
The Office of Special Counsel investigated whether Doan violated the Hatch Act, and delivered its findings to Doan Friday, but the findings were not made public, government officials told Government Executive.
A spokeswoman for GSA said in a statement that Doan is "again disappointed in the failure to protect what remains an ongoing and confidential process." The spokeswoman would not comment on the contents of the report, which may or may not be made public. "It would be inappropriate for the administrator to comment on the investigation, until the process has been completed," the spokeswoman said.
A Jan. 26 meeting at GSAâ€™s headquarters is at the center of the allegations that Doan violated the Hatch Act. The meeting, attended by Doan and about 40 other political appointees, included a PowerPoint presentation by Scott Jennings, a deputy to Karl Rove, the leading political strategist at the White House. Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee say the presentation was clearly political. The slides listed Republican and Democratic House districts viewed by the White House as most vulnerable in 2008 and included a map showing the Senate seats up for grabs in the 2008 election and whether the White House believes Republicans will have to play "defense" or "offense" for each seat.
Doan testified before the panel that she thought the meeting was appropriate. But she said she could not remember the details of the meeting, other than that people arrived late, quite a few were absent and there were "cookies on the table."
According to government sources, Doan has two weeks from Friday to respond to the report. After she responds, OSC investigators will review it and deliver a final report to President Bush because Doan is a presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate -- known as a PAS. OSC cannot take disciplinary action against a PAS and there is no word on whether OSC will make its report public.
The OSC has requested GSA to provide the personnel files of GSA employees who gave sworn statements to investigators claiming Doan asked at the conclusion of the presentation how GSA could help "our candidates in the next election."