US ATTORNEYS SCANDAL - AN UNDER REPORTED REVOLUTION
The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has voted this past week to hold former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and White House Counsel Joshua Bolton in contempt of Congress for not providing memos, documents, and testimony to the committee investigating allegations of selective prosecution and political motivation for firing of the lawyers. If you want to see the entire report go to http://judiciary.house.gov/ and look for the Miers Bolton Contempt Report.
Mrs. Miers, Bush's confident and failed Supreme Court nominee, was the author of many of the letters and memos regarding the firings of the US Attorneys. The Bush Administration has stalled and balked at providing crucial documents to the committee regarding this topic. what do they have to hide? Citing executive privilege the administration has refused to provide the Judiciary committee with the requested information. Mrs. Miers in the committee's view insulted them by not even showing up in response to the subpoena issued to her.
In the committee's report there are four crucial findings which are cited:
1. There is evidence of politically biased prosecutions and removal of US attorneys
2. Current and former Justice Department officials may have made false or misleading statements to Congress, many of which served to obscure or downplay the role of white House personnel in the firings
3. Civil service requirements and the Presidential Records Act may have been violated
4. Serious questions about the US Attorneys firings remain unanswered
The Committee states that it has "Uncovered Significant Evidence of Wrongdoing", Chairman Conyers and Subcommittee Chair Sanchez Report, page 1. The idea to all or some of the US Attorneys originated with presidential advisor Karl Rove who was at the time himself being investigated by a US Attorney. This idea was taken up by Harriet Miers. Over two years twenty-five attorneys were considered for firing [Realist's note - including Dunn Lampton who prosecuted Paul Minor, John Whitfield, and Wes Teel].
Dunn Lampton was once on the "Hit List" and later somehow got off the list. Interesting isn't it. What does the committee report have to say on the subject of politically based prosecutions and the firing list? "The Committee's investigation suggests U.S. Attorneys may have been placed on or removed from the firing list based on their actions in bringing or not bringing politically sensitive prosecutions." Additionally, the report states, "As the venerable and nonpartisan American Judicature Society explained, the firing of these U.S. Attorneys "raises issues of prosecutorial fairness, the permissible roles of policy and politics, ad the maintenance of citizen trust in the rule of law." Report, page 3.
Equally troubling is the testimony of White House liaison Monica Gooding admitting that she had "crossed the line" in considering inappropriate political factors when hiring career prosecutors and immigration judges and in detailing persons into Justice Department leadership positions. She admits this violated Civil Service regulation. Report, page 21.
What does this mean ? Simple, the purpose was to salt the ranks of career federal prosecutors with partisan political operatives who were loyal to Republican politics - not loyal to the impartial dictates of the law. Thus, when evaluating a potential case for prosecution the public prosecutor would look it at not with the unbiased eyes of a disinterested independent "minister of justice" as the Cannons of Ethics require of a prosecutor, but with an eye possibly to how this case can help or hurt his political party.
For some reason the mainstream media has not diligently reported the committee's decision to cite Miers and Bolton for Contempt of Congress. This is a big story and will grow in importance as the months pass. I suppose there are more interesting news items, the war goes on, oil prices are spiral higher and the never ending presidential campaign drones on and on and on. Yet, there is a revolution taking place, an under reported revolution. The House Judiciary Committee has decided in its wisdom not to tolerate any more stonewalling from the administration. They are determined to get to the bottom of a scandal that has shaken the faith in the Department of Justice's ability to independently evaluate and decide (free of political considerations) which cases and who should be prosecuted by the federal government.
Why is this important?
Answer: Because no matter which political party controls the White House the incredible power of a federal indictment should not be used against the other party's political opponents.
Those issues should be decided at the ballot box !
Remember: The power to indict is the power to destroy.
The under reported revolution won't be under reported forever.