Top Commerce and Treasury Departments officials appeared with Republican candidates and doled out millions in federal money in battleground congressional districts and states after receiving White House political briefings detailing GOP election strategy.
So what? How’s this different than members of Congress placing earmarks in bills benefiting their own districts (and helping themselves get re-elected). Well for one thing, it’s against the law:
Under the Hatch Act, Cabinet members are permitted to attend political briefings and appear with members of Congress. But Cabinet members and other political appointees aren’t permitted to spend taxpayer money with the aim of benefiting candidates.
And no, this is not business as usual… or at least it doesn’t appear so. This article, along with several others, have quoted longtime government officials (from previous Republican and Democratic administrations) who claim this practice under the Bush administration is completely new (and not just when considering scope, but in general).