GSA Chief Endures Partisan Slugfest; House Panel Eyes Politics on the Job

Article excerpt

Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan survived a raucous House committee hearing yesterday during which she was accused by Democrats of conducting partisan politics on the job and defended by Republicans who said critics were wasting the government's time and resources.

During the three-hour slugfest, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, California Democrat and chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said a staff investigation found that Mrs. Doan asked GSA political appointees at a January meeting how they "could help" Republican candidates.

"As a result of the committee's investigation and hearing, we determined - conclusively in my opinion - that Ms. Doan solicited her employees at GSA to engage in partisan political activity on government property, a clear violation of the Hatch Act," he said.

Mr. Waxman, citing an investigation by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC), also questioned whether Mrs. Doan had sought to "intimidate and retaliate against federal employees who cooperated with the committee's investigation."

Although Mrs. Doan vigorously and repeatedly denied retaliating against anyone, Mr. Waxman said the GSA chief "didn't just disparage the employees," but told them they would not be promoted, get bonuses or special awards "until extensive rehabilitation of their performance occurs."

Mr. Waxman urged her to resign.

Rep. Thomas M. Davis III of Virginia, the committee's ranking Republican, said there was "zero evidence" of misconduct by Mrs. …