Page 2 of 2   <      

GSA Chief Violated Hatch Act, Special Counsel's Report Alleges

In testimony before Congress in March, and in a sworn statement to the special counsel's office, Doan said that she could not recall making any such statements. She also told the special counsel's office that she could not recall any details about the meeting because she spent most of the hour-long presentation reviewing e-mails on her BlackBerry.

To verify her account, investigators obtained Doan's e-mail records. They said they were "unable to corroborate that Administrator Doan was utilizing her BlackBerry or other personal digital assistant during the January 26 meeting."

In her sworn statement to investigators, Doan also said that GSA political appointees who gave testimony to investigators were biased, according to the report. "There is not a single one of those who did not have somewhere in between a poor to totally inferior performance," Doan said in her statement.

As a result of Doan's assertions, investigators examined the witnesses' recent performance reviews and found that her account was "unsupported and contradicted by the documentary evidence," the report said.

One employee singled out by Doan as "totally inferior" had recently received an evaluation that said the employee was "meeting expectations" and was called "an extremely proactive and valued member of the top management team," the report said.

"It is somewhat troubling that Administrator Doan made the above unsubstantiated allegations during an official investigation of her actions," investigators wrote in their report. "It arguably indicates a willingness on her part" to use her position "in a way threatening to any who would come forward."

The investigators said that federal employees who violate the Hatch Act can be removed from their positions, unless a special board votes unanimously to retain them. Because Doan is a presidential appointee confirmed by the Senate, it is up to the president to decide her fate.

The report said "we recommend that the President take disciplinary action against Administrator Doan" because "her disregard for such protections and safeguards is serious and warrants punishment."

The Doan investigation is one of the most high-profile undertaken by the office of Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch, who is himself under investigation by the Office of Personnel Management for allegedly retaliating against employees who disagreed with his policies. Bloch disputes the allegations.

A spokesman for the White House said the office had not seen the report and had no comment.


<       2

© 2007 The Washington Post Company