***BREAKING NEWS: Subpoena to be issued for former White House Counsel Harriet Miers. MSNBC reports that two subpoenas were issued: one for Sara Taylor for July 11th, one for Harriet Miers for July 12th. (H/T to twolf1 for details.) More as I get it on this.***
GSA head Laurita Doan testifies today before the House Government Oversight Committee. C-Span3 is broadcasting the testimony live, including on their streaming feed online. Buckle up — and wipe those water glasses, because you never know who might want your fingerprints. (Little joke from Ms. Doan’s last appearance, for those who missed it.)
[Photo of fingerprint on water glass via John.Nathaniel.]
Hearing has begun this morning. Rep. Waxman begins by saying that today’s hearing will not concentrate on the prior issue of hatch Act violations and other matters with the Jennings presentation on “helping our candidates.” This information has been detailed substantially by Scott Bloch, the IG at the GSA. Rather, this hearing will concentrate on whether Doan made false statements to the committee, whether she tried to retaliate against GSA employees who testified to the committee and/or provided information regarding matters under investigation and also acted in a way which was otherwise problematic after the hearing.
Waxman waking through all of the statements — saying that her prior statements about GSA employee performance information that she provided appears to be false with regard to comparisons to their employment records. “Unsubstantiated accusations are always wrong.” Waxman says that whistleblowers must be protected and that Congress has an obligation to look into whether or not bonuses or promotions are being withheld to punish employees who cooperated and told the truth to Congress. Berates members who think this is “no big deal.”
REP. DAVIS OPENING: Davis isn’t sure what they are doing this morning with Doan — we’ve lost track of the “good government” agenda that we wanted. Davis says that no retaliation against employees occurred, but the retaliation is actually being done against an African-American entrepreneur who supports the Bush Administration. Says this hearing is a farce. Walking through where this is mean versus where there might be substance. [CHS notes: Doan was looking cranky through Waxman's opening, but is sitting with a Cheshire cat smile during Davis' opening. Guess that Novak article quoting Davis about Doan wasn't just a random act of partisan support. This could be interesting today.]
Thus far it is deflect, deflect, deflect. And Davis now brings up Valerie Wilson and tries to suggest that Valerie’s testimony was inconsistent with the Senate Intel. Committee GOP report add-in from the Phase II report. [CHS says: Quick, look over there -- shiny obect!] Says that Doan was simply inadequately prepared to talk with the OSC — and wants a subpoena for Valerie Wilson to address her “irregularities” from her testimony.
Rep. Burton and Rep Davis now putting on a bit of a show, Burton griping that he didn’t get an opening statement, and then Davis demanding that Valerie be subpoenaed. Davis withdraws his motion for subpoena now, and says he’ll work with Waxman on this. [CHS says: Wonder what other political theater we'll have today?]
DOAN OPENING: “I’m human, and imperfect, and I make mistakes. But when it comes to GSA, my heart is in the trim. The results of this past year have been spectacular.” Listing all the things the GSA has done well over the past couple of years. Talking about the leak of the Special Counsel’s report, and its impact on folks at the GSA other than herself. [CHS says: She has a point on this.] Doan saying she will do her best to answer questions, but doesn’t want to say bad things about her employees.
Waxman now rebutting the Davis accusations of partisanship — listing a point by point rebuttal to Davis. Says that just because other folks may have done worse, it does not excuse Doan’s conduct and violations of the Hatch Act.
REP. BRALEY QUESTIONS: Talking about Doan’s conduct and whether it violated her position of trust to retaliate against employees at GSA who cooperated with the House committee. Going through prior Doan testimony statements to the committee versus contradictory statements that she made to the Office of Special Counsel during their investigation. Says that she testified that all of the employees who spoke with the Committee had poor performance. Doan says that Braley needs to understand the context of the question asked — says that OSC asked for her to speculate on why something might or might not be. Braley says that the transcript does not reflect that this was the OSC question. Doan says that they did, indeed, ask her to speculate — and points to places in the transcript where the OSC did so. Doan says that she should not have speculated, says she did so because she was trying to be compliant and cooperative. Braley asks if she had counsel? Yes. Did your counsel raise objections to questions? “No, because in the first hour of the interview, we got into a bit of a spat.” Doan says that some of the questions to her “got pretty wild.”
[FYI: The Speaker's blog has a clip of Waxman's opening statement up for folks who missed it.]
REP. WAXMAN QUESTIONS: Back and forth on Doan’s claims of being picked on and Doan says she doesn’t remember saying that.
REP. JOHN MICA: Parliamentary inquiry. [CHS notes: actually, political theater dressed up as a parliamentary inquiry, but I digress...] Wants the Office of Special Counsel head to resign and/or staffers. And he’s still blabbering on and on…Davis yields him 30 seconds to blather on again — says that this is a three ring circus, and has never seen somethng like this. Waxman notes that this is what Mica said the last investigation. Mica also wants a motion to have an investigation of staff or special counsel to find out who leaked the information — has never seen this happen. [CHS notes: He must have slept through the whole Dan Burton shoots a watermelon to prove that Vince Foster was murdered/Barbara Comstock PR campaign years, then.]
REP. DAVIS QUESTIONS: Did you tell any GSA employees to help political candidates? Doan says no, she would never do that. Talking about bonus versus not bonus, “poor performance” rankings of employees. Lots of grousing about the OSC transcript being released to the public and how she wouldn’t have taked about this — says on original draft, it was “employee A, B and C” but in final draft that was leaked, the names were put back into the paperwork. Davis says they should pursue that to see why that was done. Davis talking about “refreshing recollection” from media reports.
REP. MICA QUESTIONS: Mica says that he warned her that “they were out to get you.” [CHS notes: Jeebus, this man really creeps me out with his smarm act. He makes Burton look halfway sensible. Blergh.]
Am going to start a fresh thread…