POLITICIANS AND POLITICS HAVE REACHED ROCK BOTTOM
Robert G Leclair
For the past several years it has become apparent that the directors of federal agencies are acting more and morelike political appointees
caring more about their power, image and position than protecting the public. Most of them are playing political games and are worried
more about gamesmanship than advancing feasible solutions. OPM Director Katherine Archuleta resigned for failing to protect millions of
sensitive files from hackers. When the news about the hacking came out in the press I personally thought that I could have been a victim
since I served in the military during the Korean war and that years later I was given a secret clearance. I had no concerns since my life
was actually an open book. My concern was for the millions of victims who could suffer anguish and repercussions.
My genuine concern is the political gamesmanship played by VAWA/OVW in the war on domestic violence. I agree with the main goal of
VAWA to protect women against violence but reaffirm my concern that the goal cannot be achieved by implementing VAWA's approach.
OVW is selectively fighting a war on domestic violence to protect women from abuse and disaster when the lives of men and children are
also at stake. OVW can ill afford to be exclusionary and implement solutions that don't work. One false move can destroy the lives of a
family and cast them into a state of poverty. Moreover, the agency should not be playing games in the federal political "sandbox" when all
lives are at stake.
For starters, the following examples show that OVW is quite capable of playing games and avoiding organizational
1) In 2013 I called the Office of Violence Against Women and told them I was writing a book on domestic violenceand that I would like to
obtain a copy of their Organizational Chart. After several calls and a written request for the chart, I was informed by letter that I could only
obtain a copy by filing a Freedom of Information Act request. I filed the FOIA form on 10-21-13 and received a formal reply on 10-23-13,
including the so called organizational chart dated 7-5-03 and signed by then Attorney General John Ashcroft. The reply also stated that
"Congressional approval for a new organizational chart is pending. It must still be pending as of 2015 or slightly revamped and signed by
the current AG? The government wheels of progress churn slowly!
As a functional organizational chart, the OVW chart is not of much value. There are three types of charts: a meaningful and relevant chart,
a chart created when you don't know what you are doing and a chart created when you know full well what you are doing but don't want
anybody else to know. The chart submitted to congress seems to be of the latter type.
It's amazing that politicians in congress reauthorized VAWA without questioning how OVW was organized after 9 years in operation. If they
didn't understand how OVW worked as an organization that would explain why they did not include safeguards and provisions to insure
accountability and assurance that the programs worked or that the billions of tax dollars were not wasted.
So much for transparency and making me waste my time filing an FOIA for a useless organizational chart! I hope Congress gets an
updated and more functional chart soon in order to provide safeguards, insure accountability for the billions spent and provide standards of
proof that the programs work.
2) A good example of going from transparency to a hidden format is the OVW budget for salaries and expenses.Prior to 2012 the salary
and expense budget was always on charts (i.e. $14 million for 70 positions in 2011 and $16 million for 65 positions in 2010 etc) Come
2012, the chart reflects $0,00 dollars for salaries and expenses. What happened? Suddenly OVW has decided to hide the salary and
expense budget in the overall federal grant for the year ($413 million for 2012 and $413 million for 2013)?
More and more serious examples are revealed in the book!
All written material, graphic images and Original art work copyrighted 2020 by Robert G. Leclair