Report: Bush White House Committed Gross Violations of Hatch Act

The Office of Special Counsel has found gross and knowing violation of the Hatch Act by the Bush White House and specifically its Office of Political Affairs. The OSC Report found that the Bush White House allowed the office to directly support Republican congressional candidates and even allowed the Republican National Committee to work out of the White House. The violations were found to be a “gross abuse of the public trust.”

What is striking about the report is that there could be no serious question that these violations were knowingly committed. The Hatch Act bars the use of federal employees and resources in political activities.

The OSC found “OPA employees, particularly during the 2006 midterm election season, methodically coordinated administration support to aid the campaigns of Republican candidates.” Once again, despite clear violations of federal law by Bush officials, there is only belated action and no one is held accountable. People like Karl Rove and Kenneth Mehlmann simply went on with their careers — uninhibited by such violations. Just one more yawn from folks in the Beltway.

Source: CNN

Jonathan Turley

46 thoughts on “Report: Bush White House Committed Gross Violations of Hatch Act

  1. In the immortal words of Marge Simpson (and she’s been quoted by so many), “Well, duh.” Line up the previous criminal enterprise posing as a presidency for their mugshots at The Hague, and we’ll talk. Until then, his name is O’ccomplice.

  2. The Office of Special Counsel has a keen sense of the obvious. I think the bigger question is – what did the Bush Administration do that was actually legal?

    I heard in passing that the OSC will not pursue any criminal charges. Well, color me shocked.

    What a farce.

  3. Clearly, our system of govt. has broken down. The founders depended on “ambition countering ambition” to maintain the rule of law, instead of the rule of fiat, one man–a king. What has happened is that ambition has colluded with ambition to form even more damaging consequences.

    Under the rule of law, even the wealthy and connected should be arrested and tried for their violations. Of course, this nation has seriously lacked in this regard since its inception. But, it was a tenant of our nation, something people demanded of their govt., for example during the civil rights movement.

    Now the govt. has clearly declared the rule of law dead, replacing it with the rule of fiat. Laws are “useful”. If soemone is your enemy, the govt. uses the full force of the law (and some extra illegalities) to go after them (see Private Manning). When someone is your friend, the are guaranteed a free pass.

    This should truly worry people, liberal and conservative alike. Yet it is as if our population lives in some weird dream state, remaining motionless while actions which remove the very foundation of our govt. are being written into law. While I find the “leaders” of this nation actions horrifying, I find the citizen’s acquiescence to these illegalities much worse. I don’t know what happened to people when we started accepting the destruction of the rule of law. I do know that the consequences of this acceptance will destroy everything that is most precious about our nation.

  4. Just one more example of the law breakng that was rampant during the Bush Administration. Let’s see what if anything is done about it. I am not holding my breath.

  5. “If the President does it, it is not illegal”

    It’s not often you can trace a trend in society back to one specific event, but you can here. Nixon spoke and we all listened, and quite a few of us thought that sounded like a damn fine idea.

  6. An honest person doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming president these days. We shouldn’t be surprised when criminals perform illegal acts.

  7. jimm,

    I’m not surprised by the criminals who run the govt. I am surprised by decent people who refuse to speak up and oppose the powerful. We are being the “Good Americans”. That is a mistake.

  8. I agree with Jill on this and the words that come to mind as descriptive are Corporate Oligarchy merged with the need of the super wealthy to show they are better than the rest of us (think feudalism). While it’s fair to say that the citizenry allows it, I think that sometimes we ignore the effect of incessant propaganda on the opinions of the populace. A high percentage of humanity are prone to being followers and when their leaders are scum, bad things happen.

  9. Jill; “I’m not surprised by the criminals who run the govt. I am surprised by decent people who refuse to speak up and oppose the powerful. We are being the “Good Americans”. ”

    I am truly sorry to disagree here…people have been speaking up…and speaking up….and speaking up…for decades now. We are not simply being ignored…we pay serious consequences for speaking up. The shock is that politicians and other ‘legal tender’ continue to use public apathy as excuses for their actions and inactions….we are far from apathetic, we are simply tired of being forced to pay for our truthful voices in blood to corrupt forces. How many deaths do you need?

    Truth is a threat to those who use power and all its darker aggregates to persuade and conquer….

  10. One of these days, someone who can do something will happen to read through a decent intro psych. text and then an intro social psych text and then an intro abnormal psych. text…

    And then the word “situational” and its scientific psychology sense of meaning will perhaps mean something to someone who may mean to do something not mean, if you get what I mean…

    No, I mean to not be mean, nor mode nor median.

  11. Okay, I’ll ask the question. The RICO law allows people to sue criminal enterprizes civilly, even before criminal convictions have been obtained.

    Can those involved in the OPA be sued by taxpayers under civil RICO? I suggest this as a way to avoid the Obama Justice Department from deciding to “look forward and not behind” again.

  12. “No, I mean to not be mean, nor mode nor median.”

    were you aiming for above average?….cause there will always be those who are inspired to meanness by those whose actions are ever so less so……

  13. Since Obama and Holder have said repeatedly that they don’t care if ANYONE from Chimpy’s reign broke any law, up to and including mass murder (WAR CRIMES), do you expect anything to come from this??

    Not in our life-times..

  14. RE: Woosty’s still a Cat 1, January 26, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    “No, I mean to not be mean, nor mode nor median.”

    were you aiming for above average?….cause there will always be those who are inspired to meanness by those whose actions are ever so less so……


    Artistic humour. Oops, typo on purpose, Autistic humor…

    Frequentistically, I ask the late Rev. Bayes for help, as a Theorem of being a dis-central-tendenciast.

    Since I theoremize that measures of central tendency tend to standardise my deviation from traditional social norms, including folkways and mores, there is mores that I may yet learn about the abnormal curve.

    I would no mores aim for above average as for below average, as I would for the bimodal averages of outliers.

  15. I will submit the man is, in all likelihood, a decent person. The love binding his family is certainly real, and the source of much of who he is. He spent too much time in church for my tastes, enough to take on crippling blinders.

    Because how is it that an (alleged) Constitutional lawyer cannot see that America’s perception and role in the world have soured not because we don’t “trade enough” or are “green enough” or “have too much debt” or any of that happy-crappy? We lost it because we are torturing, arms-dealing, crusading war-mongers who still, in the year 2010, find it necessary to sell death-from-sky to Saudi Arabia, virtually assuring this death will ultimately fall on civilian heads. We have blood on us in every conceivable crack and crevice.

    One does not put a gun on the wall in Act I one does not intend to use in Act III.

    I go back to Gerald Ford’s pardon of Nixon as catalyst and enzyme, for it taught bad little Dickys and Rummys and Wolfies exactly what the consequences for converting our democratic Republic into a religious oligarchy would be: both Bup and Kis.

    This led to the cheese-headed actor playing President, and his bumbling Veep, and his rather more bumbling son. Auf, und so Wieter.

    What I have always loved about the ‘Prof is he saw our useless, banal, illegal aggression for what it was, and these values he had both before and after that teahadist feast of the dead known as 9/11. W had to have engravings of war drawn for him so he knew at all times he was on a crusade. The Joint Chiefs, through this moment in time, are dominated by a sick theology that assures we will be at war long beyond my years, and I’m only half done.

    When we cross into torture, perjury, obstruction, conspiracy, and treat abrogation, we leave the political realm, and those who stand accused are blessed with the right to remain silent. There are no longer two sides to the argument. Ergo, we can not really have the debate we so desperately need to have.

    Not until these (unprintable) bastards face what they have done. Until then, ALL their names are O’ccomplice.

    I would welcome any suggestions on how to make that day tomorrow.

  16. “the bimodal averages of outliers.”

    OMG…thank you for the sticky gum I’ll be mentally masticating for hours!

    as for bimodals and their reapercussives…I hope it’s just part of the learning curve and not a final stop on the bozo bus route…I find outliers to be very good company, especially when they move beyond the standard (often unpleasant) source to a healthy deviation :)

  17. How did I know that the Bush Whitehouse campaign errors would become the present administration’s sin? Just prescient, I guess. Not one, no not one (well maybe one) left to flagellate us with our indifference. Oh, the humanity. Oh, for respite.

  18. Buckeye,

    No, the Bush administration’s sin is breaking the law the current administration’s sin is not enforcing the law.

  19. The question which I asked Brian and he answered on the Judge Thomas thread I think applys here as well:


    I’m going to substitute one word in your last statement,tell me what you think.

    “Methinks the problem is not with people, it is with the structure of society, which has become** corrupt** beyond human comprehension.”

  20. Gyges

    From the article:

    “Although rare, criminal charges involving such violations are allowable. But Sheth said he was unaware of any plans to forward the allegations to the Justice Department for further investigation.”

    Is it DOJ’s job to investigate before the information is forwarded to them?

    Don’t you get tired of this administration being tarred with the last administration’s sludge on absolutely everything? This administration has enough to answer for without Bush’s blunders being piled on.

  21. Buckeye,

    When someone blames the Obama administration for bailing out the banks, I correct them. If somebody said “Well, Obama committed gross violations of the Hatch Act,” I’d ask for proof. However, it’s entirely appropriate to blame the current people in charge for not holding the prior administration legally responsible for its actions.

    So, once more with feeling: the current administration’s sin is not enforcing the law. Inherent in that statement is the fact that I believe those in power during the Bush years are the ones who should be covered with the sludge that was accumulated then.

  22. Gyges:

    “So, once more with feeling: the current administration’s sin is not enforcing the law.”


    Good words, I’ve heard before:

    “In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

    ~Martin Luther King

  23. “Once again, despite clear violations of federal law by Bush officials, there is only belated action and no one is held accountable.”

    I’ve read this many times, and on this very blog more often than none. But despite being well aware than actions are more meaningful than complaints, I must say I have no idea what should be done about it. Who as the power to hold the Bush administration accountable? Would it be the Obama administration? Would a judge be sufficient? or a lawyer? a citizen even? Clearly someone is not doing his job, and before throwing the stone I’d like to be sure who.

  24. mespo:

    ““In the end we will not remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

    ~Martin Luther King”

    Don’t know how to type a thumbs up but for that you would get (10).

  25. “Clearly someone is not doing his job, and before throwing the stone I’d like to be sure who.”

    It, I think, is not just 1 person nor is it the blase collective never accountable gollum of ‘everyman’. There is a place between the 2 that is lost in the equation when the acceptable norm is ‘whatever you can get away with’ and justify it with ‘I must turn the other cheek-for anyone, all the time, indiscriminately’. There is common ground that is not polarized….but that is ALWAYS lost when laws are bent to the use of 1 at the expense of the other or the ‘people’ are used as nothing more than a voiceless trough from which to feed.

  26. I have know George for years. Why do you people always say things behind his back. If you are person enough you’d write him yourself. But no you are all chickenshits, cowards. Until you have the balls to do that, then say nothing.

  27. Mike S. and Wootsy,

    I think you both make important points. Mike S. speaks to the amount of propaganda which is thrown our way. I agree. To defend ourselves against this is difficult, and relating to Wootsy’s point, we do not have access to an honest press. So Wootsy is correct to say that people have been protesting, yet these protests are uncovered and kept from our view. I have found finding actual news and analysis gets more difficult with each passing year.

    It makes sense to understand that we swim in propaganda. Therefore, when we hear politicians, read articles, watch the newz, etc. we need to adopt the USSR people’s old attitude towards “Pravda”. Understanding as many of the mechanism of manipulation as possible is important. We will definitely need new forms of peaceful protest and a new use of media so people who do oppose the oligarchy have a voice in the society.

  28. I understand now. I have been wrong. The left is not always right. The right, well is not always wrong. It works well when one person is in control and that should be what I say. I am Jill.

  29. Friend of W,
    Send W over here and I will be happy to let him know to his face that he is a felonious torturer and a mass murderer and should be doing time behind bars. And that goes double for his friend, Dick.

  30. Jill Chavez is a different person than I am. I don’t believe our writing styles have anything in common, but I would like to head off confusion which may arise in the future.

  31. RE: Friend of W, January 27, 2011 at 9:09 am

    I have know George for years. Why do you people always say things behind his back. If you are person enough you’d write him yourself. But no you are all chickenshits, cowards. Until you have the balls to do that, then say nothing.


    I find it unfair, if you include me as among those who do not write directly to the President. I wrote by email to the White House, while George W. Bush was President, and received back no response.

    I walked into the FBI field office in Omaha, Nebraska during August of 2007 and spoke with an FBI agent about my work and its relevance to public safety. I was not arrested for giving the FIB false information (a serious federal crime, methinks) nor was what I said regarded as of any apparent value.

    Having walked into and out of the FBI Omaha field office, I decided to see what would happen if I took a slightly longer route back home, and stopped at Carleton College, walked into the office of the Carleton President, talked about my drowning incident of March 15, 1960, asked if Carleton had any useful information available in the college records, ans soon found myself being escorted off the Carleton campus by two security people.

    I just might happen to not be a “chickenshit coward,” whatever one of those might happen to be, if such can ever actually exist.

    And I never say or do anything “behind another person’s back.” That is why I am not anonymous here. That is why I described, as best my committee would allow, my sojourn through a sequence of iatrogenic blunder-driven psychiatric hospitalizations, doing so neither proud nor ashamed of that aspect of my life.

    As for that “balls” thing, I had “the balls” to undergo a bilateral orchiectomy to avoid the sort of testosterone-driven cancer death that I find nearly killed my dad when he was fifty.

    Courtesy of modern medical care, my “carbon polymer based” balls were replaced with “silicon polymer based” balls, which have three formidable advantages for me in my life now. First, I remain alive and not dead from cancer. Second, some fertile woman, Lord, forbid, forcibly rapes me and I am biologically invulnerable to a valid paternity suit. Third, kick me there and it don’t much hurt.

    Silicone being rather invulnerable to biological decomposition, methinks my balls will outlast yours. Now who has the balls and who doesn’t”

    Do the balls done be in your Court, now? Or elsewhere?

    People do what their total life circumstances both allow and require them to do. Everyone, you, me, and everyone else.

    So I understand. Please prove me wrong, not wrong through superstitious traditions lingering from pre-history, but scientifically wrong according to the latest and greatest of all possible truly scientific understanding.

    President Bush (I and II?) did as was possible to do, neither more not less. Assign to the President responsibility for the situation the President is elected into, and naught but abuse may be the result.

  32. I am Jill. I could never be confused with the other Jill. I am always right and never look to the left. However, I do think that Dick Cheney was mistaken. He is a real business intellect. I think that his policy’s should have all be adopted by Bush and we would not have the problems that we have today. I do not want anyone to confuse this Jill for that Jill. I am Jill Chavez. Long live the government.

  33. Jill-

    There is no mistaking the intelligence and passion for justice of the “real” Jill, which is why I always read your posts with great interest. My usual reaction is “I wish I had said that.”

  34. I wish I had said that. I am a Prima Donna. It just has to be all about me. I swear some people are challenged. They do not think like us Jills.

  35. Gyges

    I’ve looked at several sites and the Office of Special Counsel that investigates violations of the Hatch Act is an “independent federal office that has investigative and prosecutorial powers”. When they do an investigation and find a problem, they can send it to DOJ. Apparently in this case they are not going to do that.


    “Although rare, criminal charges involving such violations are allowable. But Sheth said he was unaware of any plans to forward the allegations to the Justice Department for further investigation.”

    I’m not sure if DOJ has authority to investigate if no allegations are sent to them, since it’s OSC’s bailiwick. The Executive Branch appoints OSC directors and DOJ attorneys, with congressional approval, but apparently both are independent of the Executive branch which is why they are the ones to investigate Executive violations.

    I’m not sure of any more than this and maybe it is the current administration’s job to investigate previous administrations, but I always thought it was DOJ’s job. I stand ready to be corrected.

    I’m still tired of being harrangued about how “indifferent” to current administration problems all of us are just because we may not vote for a Green, Tea, Libertarian, or Zoastran candidate in 2012.

  36. Rafflaw, Jill Chavez is a shadow. We do seem to have an agent or agent’s provocateur on the Turley blawg that occasionally acts up with passive-aggressive postings posted under a nom de plume and used to make insults or start/continue arguments among the regulars that are dying down. It’s childish.

  37. This is what I’ve been trying to say for a long time: “By Sahil Kapur Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011 — 10:01 am

    WASHINGTON – Hundreds of liberal organizers and anti-war activists have signed a petition pledging to oppose President Barack Obama’s renomination in 2012 unless he reverses course in Afghanistan and pushes for significant cuts to military spending.

    “We vow not to support President Barack Obama for renomination for another term in office, and to actively seek to impede his war policies unless and until he reverses them,” the pledge reads.

    From former high-ticket lawmakers to ex-intelligence officials to veterans advocates, the petition (available here) has garnered the support of a multitude noted figures, including Pentagon whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, retired FBI agent Coleen Rowley, and 2006 US Senate candidate Jean Hay Bright.

    “We wanted to express our willingness to take a stand,” said seasoned anti-war activist David Swanson, the creator of the pledge, in an interview with Raw Story. The signatories, he added, declared their “absolute unwillingness to support Obama” unless he “takes on the war machine.”

    “Half of what we wanted to do was simply to inform people of what’s been happening for the past two years,” Swanson said, referring to the growing military budget, the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan and misconceptions about the end of the Iraq war. “People, to a huge extent, don’t even now what’s going on.”

    “So our goal is to pressure him or to replace him, but certainly also to educate people.”

    Swanson said the activists haven’t coalesced around a preferred alternative for the 2012 Democratic nominee, but he described ousted Democrats Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) and Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) as potentials who “would be far and away better than President Obama.”

    Two other potential candidates, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean and Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), said they won’t run in 2012 and discouraged a Democratic primary challenge, adding to the view that an Obama renomination is a foregone conclusion.

    But Swanson said he and the petitioners rejected the view that liberal activists should settle for flawed Democratic candidates and instead focus their resources on attacking Republicans.

    “I think if you’re going to eliminate the use of party primaries to advance your interests, hold your nose for two full years, and then vote for someone who is against almost everything you stand for, but is just not as bad as somebody else, then you’ve really given up on democracy,” he said.

    “We ought to think of this more in terms of pressuring elected officials to improve where they are, to move in the right direction.”

    Swanson has over the last decade served as a spokesman for Kucinich and progressive entities such as the AFL-CIO affiliated International Labor Communications Association, ACORN, and more recently a campaign called

    He added that there’s something “incredibly dishonest” about criticizing President George W. Bush’s war and military policies without applying those same standards to Obama.” (rawstory)

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