Saturday, May 5, 2007

Presidential Privelege: 1993 version

In 1993, a minor scandal blew up when the new president fired several White House staff members left over from the previous administration. This was in the old days, before it became common to assert that staffers "serve at the pleasure of the president and can be fired for any reason".[1]
White House Rebukes 4 In Travel Office Shake-Up

Published: July 3, 1993

The four were reprimanded for improperly dismissing the staff members, for appearing to pressure the F.B.I. and for permitting a friend of President Clinton's to become involved in a matter in which he had a financial stake.

The report was published six weeks after the White House publicly humiliated the seven travel aides by announcing their summary dismissals, claiming it had evidence of gross mismanagement and hinting that some of the staff might have been involved in criminal activity. Over the course of several embarrassing days, the White House was forced to retreat, rehire five of the seven and investigate its own actions.
Unlike the current US attorney firings, the Clinton administration responded to the accusations of abuse of power by investigating the firings, reprimanding those who had summarily dismissed the employees and rehiring several of the fired staffers.

As with all accusations against the Clinton's, Hillary Clinton was blamed for this one, to the point that it was suggested she had Vince Foster murdered to keep him from talking about "Travelgate".

For the record:

The Travel Office provides logistical travel support for the President, First Lady, Vice President, and the White House Press Corps (when they accompany). This office works closely with the Office of Presidential Advance, White House Press Office and members of the White House Press Corps.

Joe Conason wrote a more detailed overview in Travelgate: The Untold Story

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