California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is considering legislation that would eliminate Karl Rove-type advisers in the White House.
The bill under consideration could ban the use of federal funds to finance such a politically partisan position.
“Why should we be using taxpayer dollars to have a person solely in charge of politics in the White House?” Waxman said in an interview with The Hill newspaper.
Rove concentrated on President Bush’s re-election while earning a White House salary during the first Bush administration, heading the Office of Political Affairs and the Office of Public Liaison.
Lawmakers and their staffers are required to abide by stricter rules dividing government business and political activity than are senior administration officials, The Hill noted.
In Congress, chiefs of staff and other high-ranking officials are barred from using government phones, computers and facilities for political purposes.
Republican strategist Rich Galen is skeptical of the legislation Waxman is considering.
“The notion of taking politics out of governing is silly,” he said. “I understand what he’s getting at, but Rove would have had the influence he had no matter what his title and what his duties were.”
Waxman will decide in September whether to push the legislation this year or wait until next year in hopes of having a Democrat in the White House to sign the bill.
Rove resigned from the White House staff in August 2007 and was later hired as a Wall Street Journal contributor and political analyst for Fox News.
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