How did Rove juggle his political and government duties? We go to court to find out

Last year, we got to wondering exactly how former Bush administration advisor Karl Rove juggled his government duties with his political ones. He wasn’t allowed to do political work on the government dime — those expenses should have been paid for by the Republican Party.  We were curious to learn more about how that whole reimbursement thing worked out.

So we filed a records request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with the Office of Special Counsel, which is responsible for keeping people on the straight and narrow in by administering the Hatch Act. That law generally prohibits federal employees from engaging in political activity.

We filed our request on Jan. 2, 2009. Under FOIA, the government had 20 days to respond.

We waited.

And we waited.

On May 6, we contacted the Office of Special Counsel, which told us it was busy. We would have to wait two or three more months.

We can be patient. So we waited. And waited some more.

Nothing.

So last Friday, we sued. Our lawsuit notes that we are seeking all records created after Jan. 20, 2001, that have Karl Rove’s name on them and are in the Office of Special Counsel’s possession. And that the Office of Special Counsel completely blew its 20-day deadline, and then some.

We have a pretty good track record of winning FOIA suits — check out the work we do as part of our FOIA clinic. So we’re optimistic about this one too.

Yes, we know that Rove is out of government service now. But it’s good for taxpayers to know how the Office of Special Counsel handles these sticky situations. Admit it, you’re curious too, right? The National Law Journal sure is!

We’ll let you know as soon as the records arrive.