So far, this week has been notable for its two-in-two days release of damning reports about Republican political activities within the federal government. It may be just coincidence that two official reports detailing unsavory political maneuverings by GOPers were released within a day of each other, but the contents of the reports are not coincidence. They demonstrate a too-familiar pattern within the Bush administration and among Bush appointees: elevating politics over function.
The first of the week was a GAO report about the FDA's Plan B decision  (I've written about the original decision here  and here ). The report didn't tell us anything we didn't already suspect, but now it's official: FDA officials  "were told that the application to sell the 'morning-after pill' without prescription was going to be rejected before the staff completed its scientific review and months before the decision was made public." In addition, a high-ranking FDA official had to sign off on the decision to reject easier access to Plan B after several lower-ranking scientists refused to do so.
The second report came from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting and dealt with former Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson's campaign to bring "balance" to public broadcasting. The report  , written by the CPB's inspector general, found:
...evidence that the former chairman violated statutory provisions and the Director’s Code of Ethics by dealing directly with one of the creators of a new public affairs program during negotiations with the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and the CPB over creating the show. Our review also found evidence that suggests “political tests” were a major criteria used by the former Chairman in recruiting a President/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for CPB, which violated statutory prohibitions against such practices.
So Tomlinson ignored the ethics code of his position to insert his influence into the programming process, and he made sure that the new CPB president would share his politics. In fact, even though Tomlinson is gone (he "resigned" a few weeks ago  when a draft copy of the inspector general's report was released), Patricia
The common thread running through these unrelated reports is the conscious elevation of politics and political goals over the functions and principles of the FDA and CPB. Both organizations exist to serve the public good, by protecting our health and providing us with high-quality public broadcasting. And in both cases, officials in high positions within the organization consciously ignored these obligations to the public to advance their own agendas. They sidetracked good-faith efforts by other government employees to do their jobs. And when it came down to politics or people, the people got shafted.