A March 20 news story raised questions regarding my role as an adviser to President Bush on communications strategy. It left the impression that it is inappropriate for me to advise the president while I am employed by the Republican National Committee.
On the contrary, when I left the White House to move my family to Texas, lawyers advised me that working for the national party was the appropriate way for me to continue to advise the president while complying with post-employment ethics laws. They also concluded that President Bush has every right to seek advice from informal, outside advisers.
Because I wanted to maintain the highest ethical standards, I had my employment with the Republican National Committee reviewed and approved by the Office of the White House Counsel, by the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department and by my attorney, Robert Barnett of Williams and Connolly. I could have sought a government contract in order to advise the president, but I felt that it was inappropriate to ask taxpayers to fund my personal decision to move back to Texas.
One of the important roles of the national political parties is to support their officeholders, including the president. My employment with the committee has no effect on the advice I give. I promised when I first went to work for President Bush that I would always give him my unvarnished opinion, and I will continue to do so.
KAREN P. HUGHES