Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) accused the Bush administration of politicizing the traditionally nonpartisan positions of inspector general for federal departments and agencies. In a 21-page report, Waxman said 64% of the 11 inspectors general appointed by President Bush had prior political experience, such as service in a Republican White House or as a Republican congressional aide, while 18% had prior audit experience. By comparison, of the 32 inspectors general appointed by former President Clinton, 60% had previous audit experience and 22% had prior political experience, Waxman said. At deadline, a White House spokesman was not immediately available to comment.
More than half of the inspectors general appointed by Bush contributed to his or other Republicans' political campaigns, compared with 25% of the Clinton appointees, according to the report. Acting HHS Inspector General Daniel Levinson, previously inspector general at the General Services Administration, gave $1,000 to Bush's campaign and was chief of staff for former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.). Levinson is a certified fraud examiner. Janet Rehnquist, daughter of Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist, had no executive experience prior to her appointment as HHS inspector general in 2001. Waxman said Rehnquist delayed the release of a potentially damaging audit of Florida's state employee pension program until after Jeb Bush, the president's brother, was re-elected as governor. At the urging of Pennsylvania politicians, she allegedly coerced staff to reduce the size of a hospital fraud settlement. Read the report. -- by Mark Taylor