Sunday, March 18, 2007



When a new president comes into office it is customary for all of the U.S. Attorneys to tender their resignations. The new administration them replaces them with prosecutors-- often of the president's own party-- with his same priorities. All the kids do it. Clinton did it. Reagan did it. Both Bushes did it. It's normal. And it makes sense. What never happens-- never, means never-- is that a president does a mass firing of his own appointees because they haven't been political enough. But that didn't stop George Bush and his foul and ruthless Regime.

There are many disparate keys to this case-- in New Mexico, in Washington, in Arkansas-- but none is more egregious than what happened to Carol Lam here in California. Much ado has been made by Regime apologists lately that Gonzales wanted to fire her before the Cunningham case broke. Well, maybe before the case broke wide open and it was obvious his bloated carcass was going to be carted off to the federal pen. But not before it was apparent that the public disclosures about his criminal behavior would force any self-respecting prosecutor-- regardless of political affiliation-- to act. So they started looking for non-self-respecting prosecutors.

Our friends over at Dump Doolittle published an interesting timeline that I want to share with you:
February 17, 2005: Mistrial declared in first Medicare fraud trail against San Diego's Alvardo Hospital, after jury fails to reach a verdict. U.S. Attorney Carol Lam suggests a retrial is likely.

March 2, 2005: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson emails White House Counsel Harriet Miers, recommending removal of Carol Lam and several others as "weak U.S. Attorneys who have been ineffectual managers and prosecutors, chafed against Administration initiatives, etc."

June 12, 2005: Front-page story in the San Diego Union Tribune reveals that a defense contractor paid an inflated price for Rep. Duke Cunningham's San Diego-area house. Within days, U.S. Attorney Carol Lam launches an investigation.

November 28, 2005: Cunningham pleads guilty to accepting $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors. He resigns his congressional seat.

March 3, 2006: Cunningham is sentenced to eight years, four months in prison.

April 4, 2006: Mistrial declared in second Medicare fraud trial against San Diego's Alvarado Hospital, after jury fails to reach a verdict. U.S. Attorney Carol Lam had personally tried the case.

Early May, 2006: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services threatens to cut Medicare and Medicaid funds to San Diego's Alvarado Hospital.

May 11, 2006: Front-page story in the Los Angeles Times reports that the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles is probing ties between House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and lobbyist Bill Lowery, whose clients include alleged Cunningham co-conspirator Brent Wilkes.

May 11, 2006: General Alberto Gonzales' Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson e-mails a deputy in the White House Counsel's office asking to discuss, "The real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."

May 12, 2006: FBI agents search the home and office of former CIA Executive Director Kyle Foggo, best friend of alleged Cunningham co-conspirator Brent Wilkes.

May 17, 2006: Alvarado Hospital's parent company, Tenet Healthcare, agrees to sell or close the hospital and pay $21 million to settle criminal and civil charges. The hospital is later sold.

May 31, 2006: Attorney General's Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson e-mails Associate Attorney General Bill Mercer asking, "Has ODAG ever called Carol Lam and woodshedded her re immigration enforcement? Has anyone?"

June 15, 2006: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) writes to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, seeking information about immigration enforcement under U.S. Attorney Carol Lam.

August 23, 2006: The Justice Department responds to Feinstein's June 15 inquiry, defending the philosophy of Lam's office, which "focuses on deterrence by directing its resources and efforts against the worst immigration offenders and by bringing felony cases against such defendants that will result in longer sentences."

December 4, 2006: Deputy White House Counsel William K. Kelley e-mails Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson, authorizing the dismissal of seven U.S. Attorneys. "We're a go for the US Attny plan. WH leg, political, and communications have signed off and acknowledged that we have to be committed to following through once the pressure comes."

December 7, 2006: The Justice Department fires Carol Lam and six other U.S. attorneys.

December 21-22, 2006: House Committees on Intelligence, Armed Services and Appropriations disclose that they have been subpoenaed by a San Diego grand jury, continuing the probe of defense contracting that began with Rep. Cunningham.

February 13, 2007: Former CIA Executive Director Kyle Foggo and defense contractor Brent Wilkes are indicted on corruption charges. Both plead "not guilty" the following day.

February 15, 2007: Carol Lam resigns as U.S. Attorney for San Diego.

Tomorrow morning Dan Eggen is hot on the scent in the Washington Post, pointing out that on May 10, 2005 Lam informed the DoJ that she had search warrants involving two corrupt Cunningham-related Republican bigwigs, Brent Wilkes and Kyle Foggo (AKA- "Dusty") and that on May 11 Gonzales' chief-of-staff, the now fired scapegoat Kyle Sampson (AKA- Rove, Jr.) informed Rove that there was a "real problem." And you bet there was. Wilkes and Foggo could easily sink the whole Regime-- and they aren't the only ones. Arch Republicrook Jerry Lewis was also in Lam's sites. They were desperate to get rid of her.
"Please call me at your convenience to discuss the following," Sampson wrote, referring to "[t]he real problem we have right now with Carol Lam that leads me to conclude that we should have someone ready to be nominated on 11/18, the day her 4-year term expires."

The FBI raided Foggo's home and former CIA office on May 12. He was indicted along with Wilkes on fraud and money-laundering charges on Feb. 13 -- two days before Lam left as U.S. attorney.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein claims that this was the straw that broke the camel's back and steeled the Regime to fire her. "There were clearly U.S. attorneys that were thorns in the side for one reason or another of the Justice Department," Feinstein said on CBS's Face the Nation. "And they decided, by strategy, in one fell swoop, to get rid of seven of them on that day, December the 7th."

Patrick Leahy, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is insisting to a very reluctant White House that Rove and other Bush cronies come down to the Capitol and testify under oath about the whole mess. The White House is offering private testimony only. The showdown comes Thursday when the committee votes whether or not to issue subpoenas if the White House continues stalling and obfuscating. This morning Leahy raged on ABC-TV's This Week that "I want testimony under oath. I am sick and tired of getting half-truths on this." Meanwhile Chuck Schumer thinks Gonzales might not last out the week as Attorney General. He's been ahead of the curve on this one from the first.

Labels: , , , , ,


At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just heard Leahy call for testimony from the White House and openly say it was the Saturday night masacre all over again.


Post a Comment

<< Home