It’s a relief to see that someone, somewhere, finally filed a formal complaint against Interior Secretary Ken Salazar for possible Hatch Act violations.
He wasn’t the only Obama cabinet official out campaigning in Colorado for the President this election season. (Yes, that’s the same President who came in boasting that he would run the most ethical White House in history.) The EPA’s job-killing Lisa Jackson also was here, as was serial Hatch Act violator Kathleen Sebelius. The Office of Special Counsel nailed Sebelius for Hatch Act violations months ago, but there were no sanctions or punishments, sending a signal to other cabinet officials that they could flout the anti-campaigning rules with impunity. And that’s just what they’ve done.
They naturally claim to be doing this on “personal time,” but that’s a crock of crap. Did they make all their own travel arrangements and fly commercial? Did they dock their pay for days missed while out on the stump? Were none of the logistics for these trips coordinated or arranged using government computer networks or phone systems? We don’t know the answer to these questions, and federal officials feel no urgency to answer them in a timely manner, because no one in the news organizations of record could be bothered to ask them.
Note that the Freedom of Information Act document requests aimed at verifying Salazar’s claims have thus-far gone unanswered, in another violation of the law. It’s obvious that agency insiders are foot-dragging, trying to delay the document release until after next Tuesday. And they can get away with this because our supposed “watchdogs” in the ”mainstream media” only police ethics violations selectively, and ideologically. You can bet the Denver Post would be all over this, waxing indignant, if Republicans were in control of the White House.
That Hatch Act violations may have been occurring was obvious to anyone covering Colorado politics. But no one in Colorado’s ”mainstream media,” and no one at the AP office in Denver, called them out on any of this. The sketchy ethics and tawdry tactics of this White House thus found willing accomplices in the lapdog media. The only reason this issue got any play is because new media outlets, like Media Trackers and The Colorado Observer, are performing the watchdog function that the arrogant, insulated, ideological dead tree media has all-but-surrendered.
This may go down as one of the most divisive, dishonest and slimy elections in modern American history. But the responsibility for that, and shame for that, must be shared by a now completely-discredited media, which refused to hold this administration accountable for its disinformation, dishonesty and despicable tone and tactics.