David Williams' Campaign Manager, Scott Jennings, Named as High Level Operative in Illegal Political Program
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) released a report on Monday directly implicating J. Scott Jennings, campaign manager for Republican Senate President and gubernatorial hopeful David Williams, with serious violations of the Hatch Act, a federal law meant to prevent US Government employees from using public resources to influence elections. Jennings, then serving as Deputy Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs, was named as a key player in an Ernie-Fletcheresque scheme to direct public funds to help Republicans gain an upper-hand in the 2006 mid-term elections.
“The width and depth of the actions detailed in this report are startling, but I can’t say that they are anything we haven’t seen before,” said Dan Logsdon, Chairman of the Kentucky Democratic Party. “This is just Ernie Fletcher’s same scandal played out on a bigger scale. David Williams needs to know that bringing experts in DC-style corruption to Frankfort is not the way to earn the trust of the people of Kentucky.”
The OSC’s report paints a picture of White House Office of Political Affairs run as purely political machine in which David Williams' future campaign manager Scott Jennings played a central and crucial role. In fact, the report states on pages 1-2 that the whole investigation began with a “complaint that, among other things, then-OPA Deputy Director J. Scott Jennings conducted a political briefing at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).” It goes on to detail specific instances in which government workers directed both resources and tax-payer funds to activities that included Republican fundraising operations, political briefings as well as Republican GOTV efforts.
The report specially found, on page 15, that Jennings “violated the Hatch Act’s prohibition against using [his] official authority or influence to affect the result of an election.” It also found, on page 44, that, under Jennings’ direction, the Office of Political Affairs undertook activities where “U.S. Treasury funds were unlawfully used to finance the efforts to pursue Republican victories at the polls in 2006.”
In an ironic twist, as Jennings was ramping up his publically funded political operation in Washington DC, a similar scheme by Kentucky Republicans was unfolding within the Ernie Fletcher administration. Fletcher’s scheme, which resulted in indictments for several high-ranking Republicans, also used government funds and employees to push political loyalty and campaign activities.
“Who knows? Ernie Fletcher’s administration may have just been a Republican test-run before they took these activities to the big leagues,” said Logsdon. “Anyway you look at this, the law has been broken, the public trust has been violated and David Williams’ campaign manager should be asked some questions that demand answers.”