Doan, the White House and Wikipedia
It has been several months since Government Inc. last checked in on General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan and the U.S. special counsel's recommendation that she be removed from office for allegedly violating the Hatch Act.
Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch urged President Bush on June 8 to discipline Doan "to the fullest extent" over allegations that she asked political appointees how they could "help our candidates" during a January meeting at the GSA. The president can take a range of actions, including rejecting the recommendations or dismissing Doan.
Doan has denied any wrongdoing, saying she did not organize the meeting and did not intend for any remarks to spur GSA appointees to become involved in the election. Doan's lawyer, Michael J. Nardotti Jr., took exception to the special counsel's findings. He wrote, "It is clear that the conclusions of the OSC report are far off the mark and are based on tenuous inferences and careless leaps of logic." Nardotti said Bush should reject the report.
A White House spokesman said this week that the president still has not made a decision and has not set a date for doing so.
In the meantime, it has come to Government Inc.'s attention that there is an engaging page devoted to Doan on Wikipedia, the "free encyclopedia" online. The anonymous contributors of the page have apparently taken pains to highlight her views about how her tenure is going.
It seems she saved taxpayers a bundle of money right off the bat, according to the anonymous contributors: "Within three months of taking office, she took measures to reduce the cost of government travel and saved taxpayers $3.6 billion in the process," one line of the entry says.
The page also suggests that some of the questions about her activities in office are overblown -- at least "according to the March 28, 2007 report on the proceedings." That would be the GOP report on the proceedings:
The Wikipedia entry quoted from the report, which said: "The massive expenditure of Committee resources throughout this inquiry -- 14,086 pages of documents from the General Services Administration (GSA) and 14 so-called voluntary transcribed 'interviews' of government employees from as far away as Boston and Denver -- has failed to establish that the Administrator of General Services engaged in any form of misconduct."
The page cites the same GOP report to exonerate her on allegations in the special counsel's report to the president. The highly critical report by the Democrats is not emphasized.
One of the critics of her tenure has been the GSA Inspector General's Office, which has been at odds with Doan over the GSA contract with Sun Microsystems. The Wikipedia page devotes a moment to Doan's thoughts about IGs: " Doan repeated her concerns about credibility problems within the IG's office in her Sept. 7, 2007 request to the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency for an independent review of operations within the IG's Office. In her letter to the integrity Committee Chairman Kenneth Kaiser, Doan wrote:
" 'I am concerned that the lack of cooperation that has been reported is not an isolated case but is reflective of a systematic issue for GSA OIG throughout industry as well as with GSA employees.' "
Doan this year retained, at her own expense, public relations and legal advisers. Through a spokesman, she declined to say whether she or anyone working on her behalf filed the entries on Wikipedia.
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