Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Another investigation

It looks like there's going to be an investigation of Karl Rove, too:
The obscure federal investigative unit known as the Office of Special Counsel generally confines itself to monitoring the activities of relatively low-level government employees, stepping in with reprimands and other routine administrative actions for such offenses as discriminating against military personnel or engaging in prohibited political activities.

But the unit is preparing to jump into one of the most sensitive and potentially explosive issues in Washington, launching a broad investigation into key elements of the White House political operations that for more than seven years have been headed by chief strategist Karl Rove.

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees throughout the government attuned to GOP political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush administration.

First, the new inquiry comes from inside the administration, not from Democrats in Congress. Second, unlike the inquiries being pressed on Capitol Hill, it is expected to be a unified investigation covering many facets of the political operation in which Rove played a leading part.

"We will take the evidence where it leads us," Scott Bloch, head of the Office of Special Counsel and a presidential appointee, said Monday.

Bloch said the probe would be independent and not coordinated with any other agency or government entity.

"This is a big deal," said Paul Light, a New York University expert on the executive branch of the federal government. "It is a significant moment for the administration and Karl Rove. It speaks to the growing sense that there is a nexus at the White House that explains what's going on in these disparate investigations."

Apparently these efforts are growing out of two other investigations that were being conducted: one on the firing of a U.S. attorney, David Iglesias; and the other on a PowerPoint presentation. I don't know much about the former, but you can get a taste of the latter's impropriety here. That page has a link to the slides in question (in PDF format), and a video of a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing where Representative Bruce Haley was questioning General Services Administration chief Lurita Doan about the presentation.

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