Yesterday, the Office of Special Counsel released a 118-page report detailing the Bush White House’s widespread violations of federal election law during the 2006 midterm elections. According to the document, White House staffers in the Office of Political Affairs — which was headed by Karl Rove — used government resources and taxpayer money for purely political purposes. The White House held briefings for political appointees at various federal agencies to organize campaign activities, and also used taxpayer money to send members of the administration to crucial congressional districts in order to campaign:
In 2006, the partisan political activity of OPA staff was not incidental to the functions of the office. Instead, the OPA Director and Deputy Director focused the time and energy of OPA staff to help advance the Republican Party’s electoral prospects, thereby transforming the office into a setting akin to a political boiler room. Because bolstering candidates’ campaign efforts and helping advance a political party’s electoral prospects is not something that the government would have paid for otherwise, U.S. Treasury funds should not have been used to pay for this political activity. Using U.S. Treasury funds to finance such activity, including employees’ salaries, violated the Hatch Act.
Today, Rove appeared on Fox News’ Happening Now, which was his first mainstream media appearance since the report was released. Host Jon Scott did not mention the OSC report nor question Rove — a paid Fox News contributor — about its content, and instead discussed Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) State of the Union response.
Fox News famously advertises its mantra of “We Report, You Decide,” and claims that the network’s daytime reporting is unbiased. It’s hard to imagine a legitimate news outlet getting an interview with a major political figure who was just accused of breaking federal elections law, and then failing to ask him about it. A review of Fox News programming this morning shows the network has not mentioned OSC’s report at all.