***MORE BREAKING NEWS: There will be an announcement regarding the WH bringing former RNC head Ed Gillespie onto staff. Details emerging at the moment, with an announcement scheduled for later this afternoon. More as I get it on this one also. (The new Dan Bartlett, perhaps? Gillespie was always good with the spin machinations, even if he comes across as a smarmy weasel. Emptywheel has some great thoughts 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.]
REP. CUMMINGS QUESTIONS: Says he’s having trouble figuring out what her testimony even is. Cummings says that Doan previously said that government agencies should not be participating in partisan political activity. Says that she said to committee and to OSC that she doesn’t care about polls or politics. Cummings says he wants to ask about these statements — you are RNC regent along with husband. Goes into statements that Doan has made about swinging black votes in small business community to the GOP — as SBA head, a job she wanted, she said she’d be able to steer support to push black business people into supporting GOP through loan offers and other programs. Doan says that she hadn’t had a Hatch Act briefing at that point. Cummings says the problem is that there is information that looks one way but that she is saying something else — and that he isn’t sure from her testimony where the political operation ends and the truth begins in terms of what she says versus what she does.
REP. DAVIS QUESTIONS: Davis has managed to say “African-American Woman Entrepreneur” at least four times just in his first question. Talking point, anyone?
REP. BURTON QUESTIONS: Says this is very amusing for him. Says that Waxman won’t get Stephen Hadley before the committee to talk about his conduct in destroying…oops, I mean Sandy Berger. Waxman says “You are right. We can’t get Stephen Hadley here.” Much laughter. And there it is…the daily Burton “Clinton did it.” commentary — today’s version is Johnny Chung and the Lippo Group. Rep. Burton is reliving his subpoena glory days here. Again. Burton is giving the opening statement that he didn’t get to give earlier.
REP. CLAY QUESTIONS: Doan says she’s been a Republican for decades — supported Elizabeth Dole initially, then Bush in 2000. Going through details of testimony prepared for today versus what was said to OSC and/or Congress. Back and forth about what she did or did not mean in the OSC testimony, Clay says she was critical of other GSA employees — Doan says if you look at it in context, she was only critical because the OSC wanted her to be or something to that effect. Arguing back and forth about whether Clay is or is not asking questions that Doan can or cannot answer.
REP. CUMMINGS QUESTION: Political fundraising improprieties — Cummings quoting past reviews of Burton’s investigations. [CHS notes: Jeebus, now we're talking about Burton and not the matter at hand. Please don't fall into their media circus ploy, for hell's sakes.]
Davis gives Burton a chance to respond with his ad naseum blather about “Clinton did it.” Again.
REP. ISSA QUESTIONS: Begins by trying to characterize the narrative thus far today in which Democrats wear the black hats and Republicans wear the white ones in Issa’s mind. Issa now detailing to which charities Doan has donated money in the past — talk about your “rehabilitate your witness reputation” attempt.
REP. TIERNEY QUESTIONS: Back to performance questions about GSA employees — and Doan saying that she doesn’t want to speculate, but that questions still exist on the bonus and other issues because Doan was talking in the present tense about employees who participated with the Committee — that the employees will not be getting promoted or will not be getting bonuses until extensive rehabilitation has occurred. Doan doesn’t want to answer the question, and tries to start down the “context” road again.
There is a kerfuffle about whether Doan is answering the question, whether Tierney has a right to an actual answer, or what between Davis and Waxman and Tierney. Waxman explains that Doan needs to answer the questions, not to give a monologue. Back to questions again.
Tierney asks why Doan would say that the employees will not be getting bonuses or promotions until they have proved they deserve them after testifying to Congress. Doan says that she sometimes has problems with tense and personal pronouns if Tierney would take a look at the transcript, he would see that. Doan says that she won’t retaliate or will not retaliate against employees because that would reflect badly on them for future employment. Doan says she is “all about improvement.”
REP. DAVIS QUESTIONS: Says that it is conjecture and interpretation on whether or not Doan said she would retaliate against employees.
Going to start a fresh thread…