Bush appointees politicked for Musgrave on taxpayer dime

When Republican U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave was running a close re-election bid against Democrat Angie Paccione in 2006, all the big guns from Washington, D.C., came to help her. President Bush made an October campaign appearance with Musgrave in Greeley, and the National Republican Congressional Committee helped with television ads blasting Paccione.

But, according to a Washington Post article on Thursday, Musgrave was also helped by four visits by senior Bush appointees who were traveled on 303 taxpayer-funded trips to bring federal grants to 99 politically endangered Republicans, including Musgrave.

According the Washington Post:

“When Karl Rove’s office requested special help for beleaguered Republican congressional candidates in the months before the 2006 elections, the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy jumped to the task. Director John Walters was called a “superstar” by a Rove aide after carrying half-million-dollar grants to news conferences with two congressmen and a senator.

Walters’s visits to Utah, Missouri and Nevada were among at least 303 out-of-town trips by senior Bush appointees meant to lend prestige or bring federal grants to 99 politically endangered Republicans that year, in a White House campaign that House Democratic investigators yesterday called unprecedented in scope and scale.

Federal law prohibits the use of public funds or resources for partisan activities — and specifically barred Walters’s office from any involvement in a federal election campaign — but the agencies involved said most of the trips were paid for by taxpayer funds, according to the draft report released by the Democratic majority of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.”

The report shows that Musgrave was visited on four separate occasions by Bush political appointees including:

04/21/06 – Visit by USDA Secretary Mike Johanns

05/15/06 – Visit by Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta

05/19/06 – Visit by Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson

08/18/06 – Visit by Transportation Federal Highway Administrator Rick Capka