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Drug War Patronage

According to an investigation by the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, the Office of National Drug Control Policy which is supposed to lead the nations war on drugs has a higher percentage of political patronage jobs than any other government agency.

The agency has 109 employees and more than 40% got their jobs through a spoils system that places the highest premium on political connections and loyalty to the Republican party rather than any type of expertise. This starts with the agency head, Bob Martinez, who was appointed by Bush after losing the election for Florida Governor, down to typists and secretaries. The patronage payroll adds up to $2.6 million dollars and includes 49 people.

The high level of patronage jobs may help explain why the office is not taken seriously among the law enforcement and drug treatment agencies it is supposed to coordinate and lead. Terrence Burke, former head of the DEA called it a dumping ground.

This tends to reinforce the opinion that the war on drugs is a political sham designed more to better oppress and control the poor and minorities in this country rather than to seriously address any of the problems associated with drug trade and use.

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