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GSA Hearing Heating Up


Administrator Doan doesn't recall anything about saying anything about politics.  Just in case you were wondering. 

Rep. Tom Davis makes the point that these meetings are arranged by the White House liason to the GSA.  The White House Political Office prepared the slides, not Doan, and they presented them.  (CHS says:  Interesting, Rep. Davis, perhaps you'd like to subpoena Mr. Rove to talk about the planning of said meeting presentation, then?)

Davis is a bit cranky this morning and he and Waxman are having a bit of a colloquy about the timing of the "brown bag lunch" — because CA employees would have been having lunch at 9 am.  Davis then says that maybe "they can look into that and find some genocide to blame on that."  Groans from inside the hearing chamber.  Davis quickly moves onward to pricing negotiations.

David and Doan discussing the SunMicrosystems contracting.  Davis trying to give Doan the space to discuss why she felt it was important to keep Sun in government contract — she says major IT provider, and GSA is the premiere procurement agency in the government and that they use the internet a lot.  Davis asks let's assume that we went the way of the IG and had knocked Sun off the schedule?  Doan says Davis would have to ask Jim Williams for clarification on that.  Davis is now walking Down through what would happen — procurement option, time factors, etc.

Davis:  What was your role here?

Doan:  My instructions to Commissioner Williams…my job is to just provide some managerial oversight, I'm at a higher level.  My job is to make sure we get the best value for the American taxpayer.  Asked Williams to look into it and, gosh, our contracting folks sure are fabu.

Davis:  Obviously IG has a different view on this.  Did you say "cut a deal no matter what?"

Doan:  I don't remember saying that.  I'm more about options.

11:35 am ET

Davis, in the understatement of the century says:  You don't have a good relationship with the IG, do you?

Doan says:  Well, I think it has been overblown in the press, but I think that oversight needs to have oversight.  (CHS:  shorter answer — true.)

Davis now talking about the $20,000 purchase order — wants her to discuss the IG's intimation that Doan was giving a sweetheart deal to a friend.  Doan says she thought a stuy of how they were doing was necessary.

Davis isn't interested in her diversity studies issues, and wants to talk solely about why this was a no-bid contract.  Doan said that her job was to take action and move this forward.  The minute her Chief of Staff told her that she couldn't proceed this way, she stopped it.  Says the whole process took about 10 days.

Rep. Cummings up now.  Concerned about her memory in being unable to answer questions.  Seems like you remembered not much of anything that Mr. Braley asked you, but conveniently you remembered lots of details about Mr. Davis' questions.  You received training n the Hatch Act when you took office, did you not?  Doan:  Yes.

Congressional Research Service was asked about Hatch Act, the WH presentation, and the alleged comments that Doan made after the presentation.  CRS has made a report to be entered into the official record.  CRS says that the presentation raises serious questions — partisan political campaign connection given to partisan political employees and slanted toward a particular poltical point.  Doesn't that describe the meeting to a tee?  Doan is confused.  Again.

It is hard for me to ask you questions when you don't seem to have a memory of this particular issue.  Minority owned business information is my passion, I remember stuff about it — but violating the law is boring, and I just don't pay attention to that.  (CHS:  I'm paraphrasing here.  She must have said "this was not my meeting" about 20 times this morning already.  Pass the buck, anyone?)

Office of Special Counsel is looking into this, Doan says. 

Cummings asks her, knowing what she knows now, would she do something like this again?  Doan:  Absolutely.

Cummings, incredulous at this:  Really?!? Doan:  Backtracking now.

Cummings asked if she gave $200,000 to the GOP.  Doan says:  Yes, I am happy Bush is President.  He is a great man to lead the country in troubled times.

11:45 am ET

Mica back up now, and trying the "oversight is just plain mean" line of questioning.  "They targeted you…"

(CHS notes:  After the lovely Westmoreland performance from the Plame hearing, it looks like Davis brought in someone more competent at political badgering.  The unfortunate thing for the Republicans on the committee is that even with Mica trying to lead her through a series of questions, Doan won't take the hint and the help, and continues to demand the opportunity to ramble on about tangential matters that don't answer the questions.)

Rep. Watson (D-CA) up now.  Discussing the troubling trend of politicization of agencies by the Bush Administration, including DoJ.  She is concerned that what has happened at the GSA may have happened at other agencies.  Did Mr. Jennings give this presentation at other federal agencies?  Doan:  No idea.  Did he prepare this just for the GSA?  Doan:  No idea, ask Mr. Jennings.

Waxman says from what the GOP members of the Committee have been saying, that it is a routine practice, and we ought to look into that with all the agencies because it IS a violation of the Hatch Act.

Watson asks:  Why did they choose your agency to do these presentations?  I think your agency has been targeted and you have been used to spread WH political targeting in your department.

Am going to start a fresh thread.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

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