Defending the Davis damner


Brian McNicoll, Director of Communications, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, accuses Dan Catalano ["Damner be damned," Mailbag, May 8, 2007] of making up facts on whether Tom Davis can “measure up” should he decide to run for the U.S. Senate [“The man who would be king,” The Odd Dominion, May 1, 2007]. In his retort, McNicoll is certainly guilty of making up his own facts to save his boss’ face. Was this distortion written on government time?

To say that Davis’ name is on some bills during a time when lobbyists paid for the privilege to write them is no compliment. Davis, in fact, collected more money from lobbyists than 428 of the 435 members of Congress. After Tom DeLay resigned in disgrace, he moved up from No. 8 to No. 7. He worked closely with Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff at the Republican National Congressional Committee. Disgraced Mark Foley was a member of his $100,000 club that Davis called “The Business Leadership Trust.” Foley said he was being pressured by “the White House and Rove gang,” who insisted that Foley run. If he didn’t, Foley was told, it might impact his lobbying career.

As to his wife’s job at ICG, they weren’t married when he got that job for her but he was her mentor and campaign manager and they were divorcing their spouses with children. ICG did register as a lobbyist after they got caught. Again getting his facts wrong, Andrew Hurst brought it up on his website and in debates, calling for Davis’ resignation. (See, and

The ethics committee letter on her job and the money she receives from clients testifying before Davis’ Reform Committee, a letter written by a new crop of ethics members after party leader Dennis Hastert fired the members who censured DeLay, did not give Davis a clean bill of health. In fact it clearly told him to avoid an appearance and an actual conflict of interest. ICG and Davis have yet to reveal which ICG clients were prepared for Davis’ hearing by his wife, but the sham hearings with obviously prepared questions include the Carnival Cruise Katrina contract and public health hearings including tobacco use and needle sharing.
As to the work he did on the Reform Committee, yes, he and Waxman didn’t call each other names. It didn’t take a genius to conclude that the response to Katrina was “A Failure of Initiative.” But the tragedy was foreseeable and, in fact, was foreseen, and Davis did nothing to prevent it while agencies responsible for response were dismantled and sold to contractors under Davis’ watch while he collected their campaign contributions. Tom Davis knew about Walter Reed conditions in 2004, but did not want to hold hearings because it would “embarrass” his Party or his President. (See Congressional Quarterly, March 7, 2007.) Davis accepted campaign contributions from the Halliburton-connected contractor for Walter Reed during the decline of the staff and facility. Davis held a half-day hearing on Abu Ghraib while Democrats had to meet in the basement.

At the recently-revealed GSA scandal, Tom Davis knew Lurita Doan was firing auditors and giving GSA contracts to friends. Davis had forced out previous GSA manager Angela Styles, who had been pushing for audits of incompetent contractors, and replaced her with David Safarian, a felon who sold access to contracts to Jack Abramoff. Tom Davis’ name appears on the slides of Republicans that federal employees were supposed to help on taxpayer time.
This is just the tip of the iceburg. I appreciate that Mr. McNicoll’s boss may have asked him to respond to the May 1 article, but the inaccuracies of a loyal Bushie should not go uncorrected.

Andrea E. Chamblee, Esq.
Silver Spring, MD

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