Underplayed Story of the Day

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First those briefings for GSA officials, and now this, back on Page A8 of the Washington Post:

White House officials arranged for top officials at the Office of National Drug Control Policy to help as many as 18 vulnerable Republican congressmen by making appearances and sometimes announcing new federal grants in the lawmakers’ districts in the months leading up to the November 2006 elections, a Democratic lawmaker said yesterday.

Apparently, it was considered hardship duty:

In a letter to Taylor, Waxman also pointed to an e-mail by an official in the drug policy office describing President Bush’s top political adviser, Karl Rove, as being pleased that the office, along with the Commerce, Transportation and Agriculture departments, went “above and beyond” the call of duty in arranging appearances by Cabinet members at campaign events.

“This recognition is not something we hear every day and we should feel confident that our hard work is noticed,” said the e-mail, written by Douglas Simon, the drug policy office’s White House liaison. “The director and the deputies deserve the most recognition because they actually had to give up time with their families for the god awful places we sent them.”

But there was another problem:

The drug control office has had a history of being nonpartisan, and a 1994 law bars the agency’s officials from engaging in political activities even on their own time.