May 8, 2007

US Attorney scandal--a horrifying possibility

The US Attorney scandal is bad enough on its own. The first inkling we had of the scandal was that Rove was firing people so he could put his skank assistants in those jobs--people like Tim Griffin, who made his bones doing opposition research on Democrats--you know, the perfect person for a US Attorney position. Then the rest started coming out. Republicans calling David Iglesias before the election wanting an indictment against Democrats to use in their campaigns. Or when they sent out Bradley Schlozman to the Kansas City office where he filed indictments on the eve of the election.

But as James Fallows suggests, we haven't hit bottom yet. He recounts the case of a guy named Tom Wales, a federal prosecutor in Seattle, who, among other things, was working on gun violence cases. He was shot as he sat at his computer one evening just a month after 9-11. One of the suspects was a pilot who was known to be violently pro-gun. I understand that he is just a suspect and there is much about this case that remains unknown. But, from what Fallows suggests, local officials often complained that Washington was not devoting many resources to the case--a case of one of their own possibly killed "in the line of duty."
Until now, the heartbreak of the Tom Wales case, and the Washington-vs-Washington disagreement over how intensively the search for his killer was being pursued, had seemed entirely separate from Seattle’s involvement in the eight-fired-attorneys matter. John McKay, the U.S. attorney in Seattle who was among the eight dismissed, appeared to have earned the Bush Administration’s hostility in the old-fashioned way: by not filing charges of voter fraud after an extremely close election that went the Democrats’ way. But this weekend’s story in the Washington Post, based on testimony by Alberto Gonzales’s former deputy Kyle Sampson, suggests that McKay’s problems may have begun with his determination to keep on pushing to find Tom Wales’s killer.

If this is so, it is obscene. Tom Wales represented everything the American public can hope for from its public servants. He made less money than he might have, in order to enforce the rules that made Americans’ lives in general safer, more predictable, and more honorable. He showed that people with many options in life could choose a career in public service. He was a wonderful man. For his commitment, he was murdered, which was in a deep sense a crime against the entire public. The public in general has no way to punish or avenge that crime, but the law enforcement system does. If an administration has chosen to neglect that effort because – as has now been suggested – it didn’t want to ruffle feathers in the pro-gun camp, that is as low an act as any we have heard of in modern politics. It would take us back to, say, the murders in Philadelphia, Mississippi more than 40 years ago — but with the local officials trying their best to find the truth and the federal government covering up a crime.

I hope this is not the case. I don't want to believe that these people in George Bush's Justice Department would be so callous about power and loyalty. I don't want to believe that at all. But look again at the case of Brad Schlozman:
Schlozman previously spent three years as a political appointee in the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, where he supervised the voting rights section.
There, he came into conflict with veteran staff over his decisions to approve a Texas redistricting plan and a Georgia photo-ID voting law, both of which benefited Republicans. He also hired many new career lawyers with strong conservative credentials, in what critics say was an attempt to reduce enforcement of laws designed to eliminate obstacles to voting by minorities.
"Schlozman was reshaping the Civil Rights Division," said Joe Rich , who was chief of the voting rights section until taking a buyout in 2005, in an interview. "Schlozman didn't know anything about voting law. . . . All he knew is he wanted to be sure that the Republicans were going to win."

This is not "business as usual." It will take us years to repair the damage Bush has done to our system.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its far worse than anyone knew. Look what the US Attorneys in Kansas and Georgia had to do to keep their jobs and advance Schlozman's vote suspression conspiracy with state officials:

"Along with the United States Attorney for the District of Kansas Eric F. Melgren, the former US Attorney for Missouri Bradley J. Schlozman brought the most voter fraud indictments. It has now been revealed the voter fraud defendants targeted by Melgren and Schlozman were part of a nationwide conspiracy coordinated by Bradley J. Schlozman to ignore civil rights violations and selectively prosecute Democrat get out the vote drives in minority and socially disadvantaged neighborhoods. The goal of the plan executed by Melgren and Schlozman was to bring vote fraud allegations just five days before the elections in Missouri, the state with the closest US Senate race to save Republican Jim Talent from being defeated by Claire McCaskill and in Kansas to build on Bradley J. Schlozman’s work with officials in several states that included Missouri, Georgia and Arizona to impose voter I.D. legislation known to reduce election participation by African Americans, Hispanics and American Indians believed to vote predominately for Democrat candidates.

On April 26, 2007 US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales promoted Bradley J. Schlozman to the Executive Office for United States Attorneys where he will be able to control career Department of Justice attorneys across the nation. Under the threat of firings and smear campaigns from main Justice, US Attorneys are no longer free to exercise their own legal judgment in the conduct of their offices. The United States Attorney for the District of Kansas Eric F. Melgren was not targeted but had to demonstrate his loyalty. Melgran’s office caused City of Topeka police instead of US Marshalls to serve a summons for a May 20th, 2004 deposition to Rosemary Price a witness in the Kansas District Court civil rights case Melvin E. Johnson v. John E. Potter, USPS No. 01-CV-4182-SAC on May 26th, six days after Rosemary Price appeared and testified as scheduled. The police threatened to shoot Rosemary Price’s dog if she did not open the door.

Eric F. Melgran’s office caused the summons to be served knowing Rosemary Price had attended the deposition because Johnson’s lawyer had warned Melgran’s Assistant US Attorney D. Brad Bailey that Melgran’s office needed to stop suborning obstruction of justice through intimidation and retaliation against witnesses coming to give testimony in Kansas District court, calling Assistant US Attorney D. Brad Bailey’s his attention to federal and state officials taking retaliatory actions against the African American Kansas national guardsman Mark Hunt and the plaintiff Melvin Johnson for appearing in U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson’s courtroom to give testimony against the City of Topeka and misconduct of City of Topeka police officers in Kansans for the Separation of School and State v. Adams, Ks Dist. Ct. Case No. 04-cv-04034-JAR-KGS on May 3, 2004.

Bradley J. Schlozman worked with Tim Griffin, now US attorney for Arkansas and Karl Rove to misuse voting law enforcement to challenge the votes of African American soldiers deployed overseas and to develop the caging lists of 70,000 names and addresses of voters in largely African-American and Democratic areas of Florida during the 2004 election. The Justice Department refuses to identify the officials that added U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, of New Mexico to the list of US Attorneys to be targeted because Iglesias was refusing to bring pretext voter fraud indictments to interfere with Democrat voting by Hispanic and American Indian minorities. Both Bradley J. Schlozman and Tim Griffin were installed as US Attorneys under an unconstitutional use of the USA PATRIOT Act.

As head of the Civil Rights Division at USDOJ, Bradley J. Schlozman tried to implement a barrier to minorities voting in Georgia, the 2005 Georgia voter I.D. law that a federal judge compared to a Jim Crow-era poll tax. During his work in Georgia, Bradley J. Schlozman made connections with state lawmakers benefiting from reduced African American voting and was able to build for them the high level relationships that gave them protection from USDOJ law enforcement, including the False Claims Act investigation of Georgia GOP state representative David E. Ralston. US Attorney David Nahmias for Georgia and Assistant US Attorney Laura Kennedy Bomamder declined to prosecute the case even though the IRS filed tax liens against Rep. David E. Ralston for the false claims revealed by the complaint.

As U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri Bradly J. Schlozman obtained search warrants in September 2006 which the FBI would use to raid the home of Columbia, Missouri businessman and Muslim philanthropist Shakir Hamoodi to attempt to help Jim Talent’s reelection campaign by appearing to be fighting terrorism, even though Hamoodi is not involved in terrorism and only was a member of an ethnic group Schlozman thought Missouri voters would believe was a terrorist.

Bradley J. Schlozman used his previous position in main Justice to improperly screen new hires on political party affiliations. Schlozman also changed the job performance evaluations of career civil servant attorneys including Tobey More a geographical analyst in Schlozman’s section in retaliation for not supporting Karl Rove’s voting suppression policies. Eric F. Melgran’s Assistant US Attorney D. Brad Bailey was able to use a threat of Justice Department prosecution in May 2004 against Melvin Johnson’s attorney if Johnson’s attorney made a criminal complaint regarding the intimidation of witnesses with testimony against the City of Topeka. The State of Kansas is now bringing an ethics prosecution against a second private attorney who brought out evidence of the City of Topeka’s corrupt misuse of Housing and Urban Development funds as well as Tax Increment Financing (“TIF”) funds in Topeka’s minority neighborhoods.

The promotion of Bradley J. Schlozman to main Justice where he can continue to misuse his office to obstruct justice in voting rights investigations and assist Karl Rove in preventing public corruption from being prosecuted gives American citizens the impression that this has become the policy of the US Department of Justice. Already since Bradley J. Schlozman’s return to Washington D.C., main justice has started to employ the tactics pioneered in Kansas, the smearing of honest attorneys and the use of a Justice Department Ethics prosecution against Monica Goodling to intimidate her despite Congress’s grant of immunity to testify fully and freely on the retaliatory firings of US Attorneys. "

Time for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and for each of the 93 US Attorneys to publicly renounce their involvment in the lawlessness at main Justice!