REPORT: Karl Rove’s Politicization Of The Federal Government

In March, the Washington Post revealed that General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan and Karl Rove deputy Scott Jennings held a videoconference earlier this year to devise “ways to help Republican candidates.” ThinkProgress has produced a report that documents the fact that GSA is only one of many federal agencies that the Bush White House has infiltrated for partisan purposes.


Politicization of the federal government has been illegal for decades. The 1939 Hatch Act specifically prohibits partisan campaign or electoral activities on federal government property, including federal agencies. But in 2005, Ken Mehlman, formerly one of Bush’s top political advisers, outlined the White House’s strategy of utilizing government resources for partisan gain:

One of the things that can happen in Washington when you work in an agency is that you forget who sent you there. And it’s important to remind people that you’re George Bush people. … If there’s one empire I want built, it’s the George Bush empire. [One Party Country, p. 102]

With that imperial partisanship in mind, the Bush White House has engaged in an unprecedented quest to politicize the federal government, giving briefings and PowerPoint presentations everywhere from the Interior Department to NASA on how to secure Republican victories. Said one Interior Department manager, “We were constantly being reminded about how our decisions could affect electoral results” (One Party Country, p. 103). Bush loyalists in federal agencies have also helped generate millions for favored political candidates.


ThinkProgress’ report highlights the pervasiveness of the White House’s politicization efforts since 2001. Check out the report. Let us know if there’s something we missed in the comments section, or contact us.

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