The Candidate Memo produced for this site and the Courage Campaign lays out a strong case that the Democrats should demand accountability on Iraq between now and election day. Two reports, the first from The Washington Post and the second in The New York Times, out in recent days suggest the Democrats' calls for accountability need not be restricted to a bungled foreign policy.
Probe Finds Jackson Urged Favoritism in HUD Contracts
An inspector general's report charges that top U.S. housing official Alphonso Jackson urged staff members to favor friends of President Bush when awarding Department of Housing and Urban Development contracts. But investigators so far have found no direct proof that Jackson's staff obeyed.
His chief of staff told investigators that Jackson, the HUD secretary, "personally intervened with contractors whom he did not like . . . these contractors had Democratic political affiliations," says the report, a copy of which was made available to The Washington Post.
Study Condemns F.D.A.'s Handling of Drug Safety
The nation's system for ensuring the safety of medicines needs major changes, advertising of new drugs should be restricted, and consumers should be wary of drugs that have only recently been approved, according to a long-anticipated study of drug safety.
The report's conclusions are often damning. It describes the Food and Drug Administration as rife with internal squabbles and hobbled by underfinancing, poor management and outdated regulations.
The Bush administration's inability to enact policy in an efficient or effective manner is not restricted to the disaster in Iraq, nor are the negative effects of this clear deficiency only felt in that far off country. Congressional Democrats may have found that the "cost of the culture of corruption" meme was not catching on with voters. Yet there are clear instances of the Bush administration governing in such a haphazard way -- or perhaps worse governing in a way that actually institutionalizes the kind of corruption that has plagued a number of corporate boardrooms in recent years -- that costs Americans millions, if not billions of dollars and has led to unnecessary deaths.
The Republican Congress has been wholly complicit with the Bush White House through this process. One need only look at the number of subpoenas issued by the House Government Reform Committee to see the Republican negligence. Between 1995 and 2000, while the committee was controlled by Republicans and there was a Democrat in the White House, the committee issued 1,050 subpoenas to the administration; from 2001 to 2006, when the committee was in Republican hands and a Republican was in the White House, the committee has not issued a single subpoena for the administration. Not one.
As a result of this almost criminal lack of oversight, the HUD Secretary has been able to create a political fiefdom within his agency and the FDA's prescription drug approval process has essentially fallen apart. These tangible examples of the consequences of Republican control of Congress might not make for the sexiest campaign literature or ads, yet they do provide further proof of why change is needed this fall.