what’s up with the u.s. attorney massacre?

From Talking Points Memo:

Okay, so we already know that the White House has now taken the unprecedented step of firing at least four and likely seven US Attorneys in the middle of their terms of office — at least some of whom are in the midst of corruption investigations of Bush administration officials and key Republican lawmakers. We also know that they’re taking advantage of a handy provision of the USA Patriot Act that allows the White House to replace these fired USAs with appointees who don’t need to be approved by the senate…

The White House has Attorney General Alberto Gonzales out today saying that it’s not political, but it clearly is. It seems the U.S. Attorneys being replaced a predominantly the ones going after corrupt politicians with ties to the Bush administration, and they’re being replaced in some cases by individuals who are clearly Republican political operatives. Take the case of J. Timothy Griffin, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas just appointed to take the place of Bud Cummins. Here’s a bit more from that Talking Points Memo story I linked to above:

…Bud Cummins had even been given a chance to resign. Cummins got the call on his cell phone the same day while he was out hiking with his son. Cummins, who subsequently said he got forced out for political reasons, resigned on the 20th, the same day Griffin was sworn in.

So who’s Griffin and what experience does he bring to the job?

Well, top of the list seems to be his stint at the White House where he worked for Karl Rove doing opposition research on Democrats. That was until late last year. According to this Arkansas Times report, for the last ten years — with the exception of two one year stint — he has always worked as a Republican party opposition researcher digging up dirt on Democrats. Deputy Research Director for the RNC from 1999-2000. Research Director for the RNC from 2002-2005. Oppo Research Director for Karl Rove 2005-2006. Prior to 1999? Well, he was associate independent counsel investigating Henry Cisneros from 1995-96. After that he went to work for Dan Burton on the Hill to investigate Asian money contributions to the DNC.

Back in 2000, when he was in charge of digging up dirt on Al Gore, he apparently had a poster hanging on the wall behind his desk which read: “On my command – unleash hell on Al.”

So, why’s all of this happening? There are a few theories. Some folks think that Bush is doing it to derail the Democratic agenda. According to this theory, these new appointees are going to start throwing everything that they have at Nancy Pelosi and the Dems, in hopes that enough of it will stick to seriously impede their legislative progress. (Two of these new U.S. Attorneys are in California, the home state of Nancy Pelosi.) Others think he’s just doing it to save his own skin, to keep the corruption investigations from gaining any more traction. Any way you look at it, though, it’s wrong. Of course, it’s not just our President’s fault. None of this would be happening if not for the passage of the Patriot Act, which, thanks to little provision tacked on by Arlen Specter at the request of the Justice Department, gave the Attorney General the power to replace U.S. Attorneys without Senate approval. (Let that be a lesson to all you budding young politicians. You have to actually read those things that you’re signing, even if they have nice-soounding names like “The Patriot Act.”)

Fortunately, some mainstream media sources are beginning to take notice, and a few Senators, like Diane Feinstein, are demanding answers as to why these U.S. Attorneys are being forced out without even so much as a single allegation of wrongdoing… Write your Senators. Write your newspapers. Write your friends. This is serious stuff.

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7 Comments

  1. trusty getto
    Posted January 18, 2007 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    He who controls the lawyers controls the agenda.

    If one of the key objectives is to increase the power of the Presidency, then controlling the ranks of the federal govt’s attorneys should be a major priority.

    See http://www.slate.com/id/2157493/.

  2. t.d. glass
    Posted January 18, 2007 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    They are tenacious mother fuckers. There’s no doubt about it. They lost the popular vote in 2000 and walked into the White House like they had the mandate of the people. Not even losing both houses of congress has slowed them down. They just keep right on rolling. Or is it surging? The fuckwads have no shame.

  3. egpenet
    Posted January 18, 2007 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Reporting from both the House and the Senate since the Democratic victory indicates that both houses are in a total mess from the previous six years of Republican “rule.” Processes, department procedures, the everyday getting things done, just isn’t do-able … yet. Everything needs to be … rebuilt! Now that Bush can’t screw up these two honorable bodies any longer, he only has his own administrative offices and Justice to screw around with. Thanks to Congress’ approval of the Patriot Act, Justice is run amock. Repeal, as quickly as possibel, of the entire act and a few other nasty legislative statutes would help regain control of Justice by the people. That would leave the White House and the Supreme Court in his (GW’s) pocket for two more years.

    Ho hum.

  4. mark
    Posted January 18, 2007 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    His legacy at the Supreme Court may be a bit longer than two years, Ed… Unless, of course, we could somehow convince Pat Robertson to change sides and start praying the deaths of the Bush appointees instead.

  5. mark
    Posted January 18, 2007 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Let’s start by impeaching Alberto Gonzales.

  6. egpenet
    Posted January 19, 2007 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    You’re right about the S.C. … but I feel we have less to fear from Chief Roberts than we do from Scalia (Cheney’s fiishing buddy and Monahan’s Opus Dei “brother”)!

    What I DID forget is G.W.’s affect on the military for the next two years. While China is using weather satallites as clay pidgeons, Georgie is deciding whether thee parking space stripes in Tehran should run North to South or East to West.

    Yikes!

  7. Posted May 15, 2009 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Rove to be questioned on US attorneys today:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hdcmpNO2bLE7yzQEfydoNInbk0bgD986BC2G0

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