Thursday, October 16, 2008

Did Mike Johanns Violate the Hatch Act?

Sure looks like it:
The White House directed officials including cabinet secretaries to appear at more than 300 events to help elect Republican candidates in 2006, according to a draft Congressional report.

The appearances were coordinated by the White House Office of Political Affairs, often at taxpayer expense, said the report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.


“In some instances,” the draft report stated, “the White House specifically requested that travel be billed to the taxpayers to save Republican campaigns money.”
The report states that over 80% of these trips were outside Washington D.C. then names then-Secretary of Agriculture and now Nebraska Senate candidate Mike Johanns as one of the primary culprits. Johanns topped the list at second by attending 38 campaign events.

Not only is unethical and a disgusting waste of taxpayers dollars but this appears to be in violation of the U.S. Hatch Act which states that federal employees can not (amongst other things):
  • Campaign for or against a candidate or slate of candidates in partisan elections
  • Make campaign speeches
  • Organize or manage political rallies or meetings
  • ---

    This builds off another government report from Republican Senator Tom Coburn that unveiled alarming misuse of spending at the USDA under Mike Johanns.

    In 2006 (according to CBS), 20,959 USDA employees attended 6,719 conferences worldwide including 94 in Las Vegas ($254,755), 59 in Orlando ($282,656), and 28 in Hawaii which came out to $2,000 person.
    They went to the Virgin Islands to study preventing pollution in the Caribbean.

    And one lucky USDA employee went halfway around the world to attend a conference in Australia at the Surfers Paradise Resort. The subject matter: Mississippi crayfish. They could’ve been studied closer to home … but the waves aren’t as good in the bayou.
    Senator Coburn was quoted as saying:
    "Would you ever spend that money on yourself, if, in fact, you had a tight budget and you were borrowing what money you didn’t have from your grandkids? Nobody in their right mind would do that."
    What we're seeing here is a pattern of abuse. Mike Johanns has no problem wasting our tax dollars on trips to Hawaii and Mike Johanns has no problem violating a Federal law.

    We can not afford to send corrupt politicians back to Washington. We can not afford to send Mike Johanns back to Washington.

    Nebraska deserves a better class of Senator.

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