GSA Chief Announces Resignation


General Services Administrator Roger W. Johnson, the highest-ranking Republican appointed to the Clinton administration, ended months of frustration with cutthroat politics by disclosing Wednesday that he has resigned, effective March 1.

Johnson, the former Orange County corporate executive who broke ranks with fellow Republicans when he endorsed Bill Clinton during the 1992 presidential campaign, also revealed that he has formally joined the Democratic Party.

In a resignation letter to President Clinton dated Jan. 17, Johnson stated that, after leading a dramatic downsizing of the agency that manages everything from the government’s buildings to its car fleets and computers, his contribution had “reached a point of diminishing returns.”


“I have concluded that I can be of more help to you and your reelection, as well as to our government on the ‘outside,’ where I can use the exposure and insight I have gained to provide . . . a more accurate picture of the very real accomplishments of your administration, but also identify the management problems that remain to be solved,” Johnson’s letter read.

In the letter, Johnson did not disguise his distaste for Washington’s political culture, where he was viewed by Democrats as an outsider and by Republicans as a traitor. During most of his tenure, he also was under review by his agency’s inspector general’s office for allegedly using government funds for personal business, a probe that continues even now.

“I believe the country has no idea of just how intolerant and then vitriolic and vengeful the status quo infrastructure of Washington has become when faced with change or even a different opinion,” Johnson said in the letter he sent to the White House.

The White House did not comment on Johnson’s resignation, deferring to Johnson, who has scheduled a news conference this morning to discuss it.

In an interview Wednesday, the 61-year-old former CEO of Irvine’s Western Digital Corp. said he has no other job lined up but expects to work with the moderate Democratic Leadership Council and support Clinton’s reelection campaign.