The Washington Post reported today that General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan and Karl Rove deputy Scott Jennings held a videoconference earlier this year “with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates.”
Jennings, the White House’s deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26 of polling data about the 2006 elections.
When Jennings concluded his presentation to the GSA political appointees, Doan allegedly asked them how they could “help ‘our candidates’ in the next elections,” according to a March 6 letter to Doan from Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Waxman said in the letter that one method suggested was using “targeted public events, such as the opening of federal facilities around the country.”
These activities are now being investigated as potential violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits partisan campaign activities on federal property.
They are the latest in a series of reports over the last several years about Rove’s controversial PowerPoint presentation:
– In June 2002, during the lead-up to the Iraq war authorization vote, an earlier version of Rove’s PowerPoint titled “The Strategic Landscape” was leaked:
Rove’s private PowerPoint presentations included advice to candidates to “focus on the war” in their fall campaigns. When friends ask whether Bush really plans to invade Iraq, Rove has been known to reply, “Let me put it this way: If you want to see Baghdad, you’d better visit soon.”
– In January 2002, in a case similar to the current GSA controversy, Rove gave his presentation to regulators and policymakers in the Interior Department:
Rove met in January 2002 with Interior Department managers, where he discussed the importance of the regulatory actions in key states…to Republican candidates in the coming elections. The paper says Rove used a PowerPoint presentation also employed to solicit Republican donors.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Rove delivered his presentation after a trip to Oregon, where a Republican senator was facing reelection. “Republican leaders there wanted to support their agricultural base by diverting water from the river basin to nearby farms.” Within months, Rove had delivered his PowerPoint presentation and the Interior Department had authorized the water to be diverted over protests from environmentalists and Indian tribes.