RELEASE: Friday, April 30,
Contact: Robert Weiner, former White House Drug Office Spokesman or Jeffrey Buchanan
HOUSE AGREES TO “LOOK INTO” DRUG CZAR’S
FORCING OUT COURAGEOUS SENIOR EMPLOYEE WHO REFUSED TO IMPLEMENT IMPROPER MILLION DOLLAR NO-BID CONTRACT;
WH DRUG SPOKESMAN BOB
CALLS FOR INVESTIGATION TO HIGHEST LEVEL INCLUDING DRUG CZAR, BY PROFESSIONAL JUSTICE ARM,
NOT POLITICAL APPOINTEES
(Washington, DC)—White House Spokesman Scott McClellan today agreed to “look into” the Drug Czar’s (John Walters) forcing out a courageous senior employee who refused to implement an improper no-bid single-source $1.15 million contract to Republican contributors. Dr. Al Brandenstein, Director of the Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center of ONDCP, was also told he would have $400,000 of other money withheld from approved projects until he complied. In today’s White House press briefing, Hearst’s Helen Thomas asked about Dr. Al Brandenstein. Former ONDCP Director of Public Affairs Robert Weiner had called for a Department of Justice Investigation of the matter “to the top,” including the Drug Czar.
The issue involves a no-bid contract arranged at a
powerful U.S. Senator’s request (Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-CO). Brandenstein "deserves a heroic
medal, not being pushed out of government," asserts Weiner.
"Because of the political nature of the
allegations, the Justice investigation must be by professional, not
appointees," Weiner added.
Weiner yesterday sent a letter to Ashcroft
requesting the investigation, and DOJ has confirmed receipt. In addition, the Rocky Mountain High
Intensity Drug Trafficking office, a field branch of ONDCP, has turned
files on the matter to the Department of Justice executive office.
In a May 15 memo, the ONDCP chief of staff wrote to Brandenstein, "As soon as you can identify such funds, I will be delighted" to release $400,000 already committed to approved projects under Brandenstein.
Brandenstein refused, was demoted, and retired on
March 28. At Brandenstein’s retirement party April 28, the
the U.S. Marshal Service, Ben Reyna, praised Brandenstein as a “man of
character, with a profound sense of justice, who understands the
Constitution.” Campbell recently announced
will not run for reelection.
“It pains me to see the
office I joined in creating abused for petty personal and possibly
reasons,” said Weiner, who had been communications director of the
Select Narcotics Committee and was on the House floor in 1988 when the
creating the Drug Czar was passed.