Panel Asks Rove for Information on '08 Election Presentation

By Scott Higham and Robert O'Harrow Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 30, 2007

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee sought more information yesterday about a presentation by a White House aide given to political appointees at the General Services Administration that discussed targeting 20 Democratic congressional candidates in the next election.

In a letter to White House political affairs director Karl Rove, the committee chairman, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), asked about the Jan. 26 videoconference by Rove deputy J. Scott Jennings, which was directed to the chief of the GSA and as many as 40 agency officials stationed around the country.

Jennings's 28-page presentation included 2006 election results and listed the names of Democratic candidates considered beatable and Republican lawmakers thought to need help. At a hearing Wednesday about the GSA, Waxman said the presentation and follow-up remarks allegedly made by agency chief Lurita Alexis Doan may have violated the Hatch Act, a law that restricts federal agencies and employees from using their positions for political purposes.

In yesterday's letter, Waxman asked Rove who prepared the presentation and whether Rove or Jennings consulted with anyone about whether it might be in violation of the Hatch Act. Waxman also asked whether Rove or any members of his staff have given the same or similar PowerPoint presentations to political appointees at other government agencies.

The PowerPoint presentation was a focus of Waxman's hearing Wednesday into Doan's 10-month tenure and into allegations that she has acted inappropriately. Doan denied the allegations at the hearing.

Six political appointees at the GSA who participated in the videoconference said Doan asked at the conclusion how the agency could help GOP candidates win in the next elections, according to a letter Waxman sent to Doan.

During the hearing, Doan said at least 10 times that she does not recall asking employees to help the GOP or does not recall details about the presentation.

The matter is being investigated by the independent Office of Special Counsel.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the presentation was not out of the ordinary.

"There is regular communication from the White House to political appointees throughout the administration," he said.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company