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Follow-Up Hearing on GSA Misconduct

Posted on by Jesse Lee

The Oversight and Government Reform Committee is currently holding a hearing, “Continuing Allegations of Misconduct at General Services Administration.” The hearing will examine statements made by GSA Administrator Lurita Doan that impugn the reputation of federal officials who cooperated with a Committee investigation into Ms. Doan’s conduct at the General Services Administration.

Watch the hearing live >>

Chairman Henry Waxman gives opening remarks:

Chairman Waxman:
“Ms. Doan didn’t just disparage the employees [who gave information about her statements to the Committee], under oath she told the Special Counsel, and again I quote, ‘until extensive rehabilitation of their performance occurs, they will not be getting promoted, they will not be getting bonuses or special awards or anything of that nature.’ Apparently Ms. Doan’s position is that it is fine for her to retaliate against her employees by denying them promotions, bonuses and awards so long as she does so in secret and no one knows about it.”

Chairman Waxman responds to Republican accusations that the investigation, which was initiated by a Republican inspector general and has been reinforced by the White House’s Official of Special Counsel, is nonetheless a partisan witch hunt:

Chairman Waxman:
“Now the problem with these people that were criticized by Ms. Doan were that they testified before this committee and that got her wrath. But as I pointed out those people as well were Republicans, some of them were Republican appointees at the GSA.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings questions Doan on her partisanship dating back to her interest in taking the job:

Rep. Cummings:
“This is an email that you wrote to your husband Douglas Doan on his official government computer at the Department of Homeland Security where he worked. You wrote it on the same day you met with Mr. Hubbard [about employment in the Bush Administration] at 1:14 pm, this is your draft email to Mr. Hubbard, and here’s what it says in part: ‘Thanks for the excellent comments’… the email then goes on to say, something that is extremely interesting, it says, ‘as I mentioned, I believe that party has a unique opportunity to make about a 5%swing of the black vote to the GOP,’ you go on to say, ‘one of the largest concentrations of wealth and influence lies in the black business community…”

Rep. William Lacy Clay questions Doan on whether she was accusing her employees of lying to investigators:

Rep. Clay:
“Later in your interview [with OSC] you explain why you don’t believe the testimony of the other GSA officials, according to the transcript you stated that the witnesses were not crdible because ‘they have an axe to grind,’ that’s on page 391. They have an axe to grind so therefore they are not telling the truth, that’s what you meant isn’t it?”

Doan:
“No, that is not what I meant. We’re still in the period of subjection… conjection… conjecture…”

Rep. John Tierney questions Doan on whether she was accusing her employees of lying to investigators:

Rep. Tierney:
“Before you said it was impossible for you to retaliate because their reviews happened months before — we’re not talking about months before here when you’re talking to the Special Counsel, we’re talking about things that you apparently intend to occur in the future — you say ‘until that rehabilitation they will not be getting promoted, they will not be getting special awards.’ Do you want to respond to that?”

Chairman Henry Waxman questions Doan on apparent inconsistencies in her statements:

Chairman Waxman:
“At our March hearing, you repeatedly claimed you could not recall any information about the January 26, 2007 meeting or the White House political presentation, and you had absolutely no memory of asking GSA employees how they could help Republican candidates in upcoming elections. That’s what you told us. We questioned you over and over again. You remember there were cookies, you remembered you came in late, you remembered that some employees didn’t attend, but beyond that you said you had no further information. Five weeks later you testified before the Office of Special Counsel and suddenly you had a new enriched details about the meeting and your statements…”

Extended transcript of above exchange:

Chairman Waxman: “At our March hearing, you repeatedly claimed you could not recall any information about the January 26, 2007 meeting or the White House political presentation, and you had absolutely no memory of asking GSA employees how they could help Republican candidates in upcoming elections. That’s what you told us. We questioned you over and over again. You remember there were cookies, you remembered you came in late, you remembered that some employees didn’t attend, but beyond that you said you had no further information. Five weeks later you testified before the Office of Special Counsel and suddenly you had a new enriched details about the meeting and your statements. According to your OSC testimony, you said you asked the White House presenter, how can GSA help its cabinet liaison understand that the opening of the San Francisco federal building would be a perfect event for President Bush to attend. Did you say that to the Office of Special Counsel?”

Doan: “Yes, I believe I did.”

Waxman: “You also told them that Mr. Jennings suggested you write a white paper, or a one-pager, explaining why it would be relevant for the President to attend. But you didn’t tell that to our committee. During your interview with OSC you testified that you refrained from providing this committee with full information about the meeting, you testified that you were advised not to engage in a quote, ‘substantive discussion,’ end quote, of the political briefing that you believed OSC investigators should have quote, ‘first dibs,’ on this information. That makes it sound like when you told us you didn’t recall you were really holding back information. You did tell us under oath that you didn’t remember, then you told the Special Counsel under oath that you did remember and you were even saving the information for him. When you appear before this committee and you testify under oath you’re supposed to testify honestly and completely, that’s an obligation that people have and it’s to be taken seriously.”

Chairman Henry Waxman gives closing remarks and calls for Doan’s resignation:

Chairman Waxman:
“It’s unusual for me to ever call for the resignation of a federal official, but in your case I don’t see any other course of action that will protect the interests of your agency and the federal taxpayer. No one can be an effective leader who has abused the trust of her employees, and threatened to deny promotions and bonuses to employees for telling the truth. And no one can be an effective leader who has lost the public’s confidence, politicizing the agency and violating the Hatch Act. Yet that is exactly what you have done. I give you my opinion, just as others have given you their opinion. It will be up to the President of the United States who appointed you to decide what to do with the recommendation by this Office of Special Counsel that recommends the President remove you from this office. I would urge you to resign.”
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