Thursday, April 26, 2007

Is it just the Justice Department or the entire federal government that the Bush regime has turned into "the political arm of the White House"?


"Charges are being made that the Department of Justice was the political arm of the White House."
--Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, this past week on Fox News Sunday

Say what you like about Senator Specter (and I've had some choice things to say about him here), one thing he's not is a dummy. Although the most-quoted comment from his recent Fox News Sunday appearance was, "The attorney general's testimony was very, very damaging to his own credibility," he did make clear that at least in some manner he gets what's being alleged when he noted that "charges are being made that the Department of Justice was the political arm of the White House."

Senator Specter seems to have been referring specifically to the "Purge-Gate" firings of the eight U.S. attorneys, but in fact, the more we learn about the way the Department of Justice has functioned in the Bush regime, the clearer it becomes that "the political arm of the White House" is an exact description of what it has become.

Now that we have a pretty good idea that Paul Charlton, the ousted U.S. attorney in Phoenix, was shitcanned to protect Republicrook Rep. Rick Renzi, then locked in a deadly struggle to hold onto his House seat, from a richly deserved trip to the slammer (see Howie's recap below), we need: (a) a more complete accounting of the investigations that Purge-Gate was designed to derail and, perhaps more important, (b) some accounting of the investigations that have been launched or suppressed for partisan political reasons by all the U.S. attorneys who weren't fired.

As Paul Krugman asked so pointedly, what did those "left behind" U.S. attorneys do to hold onto their jobs? Remember, the best estimate we have is that 80 percent of all prosecutions launched by Bush-regime federal prosecutors have been against Democrats. I'm no probabilities expert, but the chance that this falls anywhere remotely near the bounds of probability for impartial administration of justice seems to me zilch.

While the punditocracy obsesses over the question of whether "Idiot Al" Gonzales should be fired, it's clear that the real problem goes way beyond the cuddly li'l "Torture Guy." When "Idiot Al" tells the world that, rather like Manuel in Fawlty Towers, he knows nothing about what was going on inside the department he was ostensibly running, he is telling us that he was installed as attorney general expressly to serve as a caretaker-stooge presiding over an apparatus that is quite aptly described as "the political arm of the White House."

And not just the DoJ. Already we know about the famous "Let's Go, GOP" pep rally at the General Services Administration in January, presided over by Karl Rove henchman J. Scott Jennings, which has drawn the attention of the Office of Special Counsel for possible Hatch Act violations in attempting to coerce political activity from government employees.

Now it appears that "other shoes" are dropping all over the damned place. In today's Washington Post, R. Jeffrey Smith reports:

White House officials conducted 20 private briefings on Republican electoral prospects in the last midterm election for senior officials in at least 15 government agencies covered by federal restrictions on partisan political activity, a White House spokesman and other administration officials said yesterday.

The previously undisclosed briefings were part of what now appears to be a regular effort in which the White House sent senior political officials to brief top appointees in government agencies on which seats Republican candidates might win or lose, and how the election outcomes could affect the success of administration policies, the officials said.

The White House defense seems to be that the briefings were for the benefit of the various agencies' political appointees, who presumably don't need any stinkin' Hatch Act protections.

Once again as we dig into the muck of the Bush regime, Rep. Henry A. Waxman, in his capacity as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, appears to be on the job. In connection with the GSA briefing he said: "Politicization of departments and agencies is a serious issue. We need to know more about these and other briefings."

We do indeed. What's being charged now is that, as Senator Specter might put it, the entire federal government has been made to function as the political arm of the White House.

Back in the days of Watergate, when John Dean, then Richard Nixon's White House counsel, was young and still a true-blue Nixonite, as evidence solidified of White House involvement in the break-in and especially the ensuing cover-up, he famously warned his boss--who was famously unfriendly to unfriendly news--that there was "a cancer on the presidency." If there's anyone in the White House today who's in contact with reality, that person might warn, well, anyone who would listen that this presidency is a cancer.


It may surprise Washington Post readers, but DWT readers can't possibly be surprised to find out that there was a "questionable" connection between Renzi and the firing of U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton.

The top aide to Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) called the office of Arizona's U.S. attorney about six weeks before the prosecutor was fired, inquiring about a federal probe into the congressman's role in a land deal that benefited a former business partner and political patron.
The former U.S. attorney, Paul K. Charlton, told House investigators this week that his office alerted the Justice Department's headquarters about the call from Renzi's chief of staff, Brian Murray, because he considered it potentially improper, according to congressional sources who spoke about the probe on the condition of anonymity. Justice rules require prosecutors to report contacts from members of Congress seeking information about investigations.

Doesn't this sound very much like a pattern? Pete "Sneaky Pete" Domenici and his protege stooge, Heather Wilson in New Mexico; "Doc Hastings in Washington; Jerry Lewis in California...

Anyone who thought the Republican Culture of Corruption would disappear with the indictments of key criminal leaders like Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney, underestimated the influence of political inertia... and of Karl Rove and the degree to which the Bush Regime has politicized the entire machinary of government.


Rumors of Renzi's resignation from Congress-- now that he's been kicked off all his committees and from the GOP re-election mechanism-- are sweeping the Arizona blogosphere-- and the mainstream media. Tomorrow may be the day. What about Doolittle? Sneaky Pete? Feeney? Jerry Lewis? Abu Gonzo? Heather Wilson?

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At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are the only person supplying information about the republican politicians who were being investigated and or charged by the fired u.s. attorneys. keep up the good work. thank you. too bad the flunkies and fools in the mainstream media do not tell the real story like you.

At 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I repeat: It's time to RICO the GOP. That is the crookedest organization existing today. Send every last one of those bastards to life terms in Marion.

At 1:06 PM, Blogger Psychomikeo said...

I hope the smell coming out of washington is making it to the noses of the 31% that still beleive in King george II

At 4:56 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Psychomikeo, Bush's approval rating is now 28%-- and dropping. Soon he'll be down in Cheney and Paris Hilton territory.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Psychomikeo said...

wow I wish gas prices would drop that fast thanx for the up date

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