White House drug czar John Walters made at least 20 trips at taxpayer expense to appear with Republican congressional candidates before the 2006 elections, say documents released by the House Oversight Committee and reported by USA Today. Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) is investigating whether the trips violated a ban on using government resources for politics.
The trips are outlined in a memo by former White House political director Sara Taylor. “Non-partisan officials like the drug czar should not be enlisted to help Republican candidates,” Waxman said. Barry McCaffrey, drug czar under President Clinton, said the office is prohibited from engaging in election politics. “I think it’s extremely harmful to turn the drug issue into one of partisan warfare. It simply won’t work,” he said. A spokesman said the drug czar traveled routinely to promote anti-drug programs. “We invite Republicans and Democrats,” he said. “It should be no surprise to anyone that during campaign season it would be Republicans who want to be standing beside administration officials and not Democrats.”