Farewell, Al

September 16, 2007

In his farewell speech to DOJ employees Friday, Al had the following to say:

“We’re all human and all of us make mistakes, and the thing that’s important is to idenfity when those mistakes are made, acknowledge the mistakes, correct the mistakes and then you move on.”

Al, I am so happy you are moving on.  But, according to your own words, you should not move on – and neither should we – until you “acknowledge the mistakes [and] correct the mistakes.”

So, Al…   when will you act with some measure of grace and integrity, and “acknowledge the mistakes [and] correct the mistakes”?

Oh, oh…  that’s right.   You tucking tail and running without “acknowledg[ing] the mistakes” is about the best way of “acknowledg[ing] the mistakes [and] correct[ing] the mistakes.”   However, Al, that still leaves your own primary requirement of “acknowledge the mistakes.”

When will you finally “acknowledge the mistakes,” Al?  When will you finally admit that your personal politics – and those of the president – took precedence over prosecutorial competence at the Department of Justice?


Alberto Tucks Tail and Rrrrruns !!

August 27, 2007

If Al Gonzo had a spine or any measure of integrity, this would be his letter of resignation:

 Dear President Bush:

I respectfully submit my resignation as Attorney General of the United States.

The reasons for my resignation are well-known to you but it may serve the public interest to know the truth.  Finally.

I have disgraced myself, my family, my political friends, my savior (that would be you, Mr. President), and my country.

I am simply incapable of doing this job properly.  You personally know that I am a loser.  That I am unqualified.  That politics mean more than the rule of law.   That the only reason you gave me the job was because you knew that my nose would always be firmly implanted up your ass.  And it has been.  Faithfully and without complaint.

I love torture.  Oh, how I love torture.  We both know the American people are stupid.  That’s how you were elected in the first place.  Americans do not understand torture.  They simply cannot grasp that surfboarding and waterboarding are not all that different.  America’s security is at great risk unless we can torture at will.

I love torture.  Since the American people and their flunky representatives in Congress were unwilling to accept my justification for torture, I thought I’d stay on a bit longer after that traiter Arlen Specter called for my resignation. 

But my attempts at torturing them by not resigning backfired.  I could not get any good seats at any of the best restaurants in the District.  Not even in the in-house restaurant.  Not even at a window-seat at Legal Seafoods down on K Street.   Where the waiter insists on serving me frozen catfish instead of the lobster bisque.  I cannot find unused toilet paper with which to blow my nose.

Rick Santorum refuses to return my calls.   Mark Foley is chasing the boys.  I’d complain to John Asscroft in his hospital bed but he’s dead.  Monica Goodling is thinking of converting to Catholicism.

My life is a wreck.

I need to go.

Maybe I’ll partner up with Don Rumsfeld.  He didn’t do so bad after his sorry ass was run out of town.

All my best to Laura and to your pregnant twin.

Forever truly yours,

 Alberto Gonzales.


p.s. may I remove my nose from between your buttcheeks?

Did Mary Beth Buchanan use her DOJ position for political purposes?

April 30, 2007

From the 4/23/07 edition of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“Cracking down on drugs and pornography was big business in former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s Department of Justice.

When federal prosecutors in California passed on cases involving glass bongs and hard-core sex movies, Pittsburgh-based U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan swooped in and stole the show.

Critics blasted “Operation Pipe Dreams,” calling the nationwide sting on drug paraphernalia trafficking a waste of resources. Buchanan charged on, though, and in 2003 won a conviction against Tommy Chong — the Los Angeles actor made famous by the marijuana-laced “Cheech and Chong” movies.

That same year, she charged Extreme Associates and the California owners of the porn production company in the first major federal obscenity prosecution in more than a decade. Critics again wailed about resources and the government fiddling with constitutional freedoms.

The Justice Department and Ashcroft praised both cases. Buchanan was rewarded with a string of lofty posts, one of which — director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys — has landed her at the forefront of a congressional investigation into a group firing of fellow Republican prosecutors.

Buchanan will not discuss the firings or the House investigation but said the priorities of the Justice Department are those of her office — including pursuing public corruption cases. The Justice Department is reviewing a House Judiciary Committee request to speak to Buchanan and seven other Justice Department officials. She has not met with House investigators.

Democrats want to find out why the Bush administration sacked eight of the country’s 93 federal prosecutors. Democrats say they believe some U.S. attorneys were fired to interfere with public corruption cases in ways that might help Republicans.

The House Judiciary Committee has evidence that D. Kyle Sampson, former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, consulted Buchanan as head of the Executive Office U.S. attorneys in 2004 and 2005 about whom to fire.

Heading the office was largely administrative and dull until 9/11, when the Justice Department began to use it to control U.S. attorneys, said Fred Thieman, a former U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh under President Clinton.

“I can’t understand why someone would want that position, unless there was some other purpose,” Thieman said.

Buchanan said she works hard and with determination, finding it an honor to serve President Bush and the Justice Department in whatever role necessary. Those who know Buchanan said she is a hard worker and does what’s needed to please her bosses.

“They ask, and she responds,” said Roscoe Howard Jr., former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia. “Certainly, the objective evidence is that they like her.”

H.E. “Bud” Cummins, former U.S. attorney for eastern Arkansas and one of the eight forced to step down, said he likes and respects Buchanan. If she participated in the dismissals, though, she failed her colleagues by participating “in the completely ridiculous process of making a list of names” of people to be fired, he said.

Thomas J. Farrell, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Pittsburgh and frequent Buchanan critic, called Buchanan’s response to the House inquiry a litmus test for her.

“I hope she stands up for the integrity and competence of those U.S. attorneys who were fired,” he said.

Buchanan was appointed U.S. attorney for Western Pennsylvania by President Bush in September 2001.

Her office has opened at least five investigations into prominent Democrats over the past five years. Critics say she has ignored allegations against fellow Republicans during that time.

“It has been and remains the practice of my office to investigate and prosecute individuals who violate federal law without regard to their political affiliation,” Buchanan said.

Buchanan said all investigations and prosecutions are analyzed from a legal, not partisan, perspective.

She has prosecuted former Allegheny County Sheriff Pete DeFazio and aides in his office and former Allegheny County Judge Joseph Jaffe. An investigation of former Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy ended without charges being filed.

“There’s no greater adherent to using public corruption charges against the other party than Mary Beth Buchanan,” said Jerry McDevitt, a defense lawyer representing Dr. Cyril H. Wecht, a Democrat, against charges he abused his former public office as Allegheny County coroner for private financial gain.

Allegations of improper use of office staff have been leveled against two Republican politicians in her jurisdiction, U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy and former state Rep. Jeff Habay. Habay was prosecuted in Allegheny County Court. No federal charges have been filed against these men, but federal authorities are prohibited from saying whether either is being investigated. “

Silence of the lamb, Alberto Gonzales

April 25, 2007

What Gonzales isn’t saying is as important as what he claims he cannot recall.  His lack of recollection gives the appearance that he’s trying to keep Karl Rove out of the spotlight.


GOP still waiting for Gonzales to take a hike

April 25, 2007


April 30, 2007 issue – The pressure on Alberto Gonzales to resign intensified last week following his daylong grilling before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The embattled attorney general was repeatedly unable to recall virtually anything about last year’s firings of eight U.S. attorneys. GOP senators—hoping for a strong performance—were visibly pained when Gonzales couldn’t remember a crucial Nov. 27, 2006, meeting (noted on his calendar), when he was briefed by his chief of staff about the firing plan. “Senator, I have searched my memory. I have no recollection of the meeting,” Gonzales told GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions. The A.G. was even unable to recall a meeting where President Bush passed along complaints about the three U.S. attorneys—a talk that Bush himself has publicly recalled. (Gonzales said he now “understands” he had such a conversation.)

With that performance, Gonzales lost the Hill. When he spoke with the attorney general on Friday, Sessions urged Gonzales to “take the weekend” to determine whether he can still “be an effective leader,” he said later in a statement. Rep. Adam Putnam, chairman of the House Republican Conference, called on Gonzales to step down—echoing a position that a group of top House GOPers privately delivered to Bush earlier in the month. “He’s done something I didn’t think possible. He’s lost the confidence of almost all the Republicans in Congress,” said one top GOP strategist who is close to the White House, anonymous when talking about sensitive personnel matters. A big GOP concern: Gonzales’s continued presence will make it hard to move measures important to the party’s base, like immigration reform, through the judiciary committees, said the strategist.

But Gonzales himself was hanging tough. “We believe the burden is now on the Democrats to prove that something improper occurred here—and they haven’t done that,” said a top Justice official (who asked not to be ID’d talking about nonpublic matters). Publicly, the White House was standing by its A.G. One White House adviser (who asked not to be ID’ed talking about sensitive issues) said the support reflected Bush’s own view that a Gonzales resignation would embolden the Dems to go after other targets—like Karl Rove. “This is about Bush saying, ‘Screw you’,” said the adviser, conceding that a Gonzales resignation might still be inevitable. The trick, said the adviser, would be to find a graceful exit strategy for Bush’s old friend.

The Democrats show no sign of backing down, demanding documents and threatening subpoenas for internal e-mails from the White House and the Republican National Committee (aides working for Rove frequently used RNC BlackBerrys). That’s not the only threat. The Office of Special Counsel, a federal agency that investigates whistle-blower complaints, recently sent document requests to the White House and the Justice Department relating to the firing of one of the prosecutors, David Iglesias of New Mexico, according to an official familiar with the probe, requesting anonymity to discuss an ongoing case. (The office also is seeking e-mails relating to a complaint that the General Services Administration was used to promote GOP political candidates, a potential violation of the Hatch Act.) The requests ensure that whatever happens to Gonzales, the investigations will continue.

– Michael Isokoff

Subpoena issued for Rice; immunity for Goodling

April 25, 2007

In rapid succession, congressional committees Wednesday ramped up their investigations of the Bush administration by approving a subpoena for Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and granting immunity to a key aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

Simultaneously across Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved — but did not issue — a subpoena on the prosecutors’ matter to Sara Taylor, deputy to presidential adviser Karl Rove.

By 21-10, the House oversight committee voted to issue a subpoena to Rice to compel her story on the Bush administration’s claim, now discredited, that Iraq was seeking uranium from Africa.

Joint letter issued for Gonzales
And in case Gonzales thought the worst had passed with his punishing testimony last week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the chairman and top Republican issued a new demand: Refresh the memory that Gonzales claimed had failed him 71 times during the seven-hour session.

“Provide the answers to the questions you could not recall last Thursday,” Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and ranking Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, wrote to Gonzales on Wednesday.

Moments earlier in the committee chamber next door, the House Judiciary Committee voted 32-6 to grant immunity to Monica Goodling, Gonzales’ White House liaison, for her testimony on why the administration fired eight federal prosecutors. The panel also unanimously approved — but did not issue — a subpoena to compel her to appear.

Specter’s letter underscored that Congress’ march against the administration isn’t driven solely by Democrats. Only six members of the House Judiciary Committee voted against immunity for Goodling — all Republicans. And several Republican lawmakers have lobbed harsh criticism at Gonzales in the two days since Bush issued a fresh statement of support for him.

“I’ll be as vigilant as ever in overseeing the Justice Department and working with other senators both Republicans and Democrats for accountability from the attorney general and the department he leads,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Wednesday’s actions indicate that Democrats plan to increase their oversight of an administration that operated for six years under Republican congressional control.

Political influence at question in firings
Democrats say they want to force into the open the story of why the eight U.S. attorneys were fired and whether they were singled out to influence corruption cases. Republicans point out that Gonzales survived a brutal Senate hearing last week with President Bush’s support and no evidence of wrongdoing in the prosecutors firings.

For his part, Gonzales tried Wednesday to mend fences on Capitol Hill. He met with a key critic, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., who has complained that Gonzales was not truthful with him over the dismissal of Bud Cummins, the former U.S. attorney in Little Rock, Ark.

But his outreach apparently didn’t take.

“I reiterated with the attorney general, face-to-face, that I think he should resign,” Pryor told reporters in a conference call after meeting with Gonzales in Washington. “I think it’s the best thing for the Department of Justice and it’s probably the best thing for him personally and the administration.”


Hatch Act Investigation

April 25, 2007

Possible ‘Illegal’ White House Activity Probed



WASHINGTON (April 25) – A little-known federal investigative unit has launched a probe into allegations of illegal political activity within the executive branch, including a White House office led by President Bush ‘s close adviser, Karl Rove .

The new investigation, which began several weeks ago, grew out of two other investigations still under way at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel: the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias from New Mexico and a presentation by Rove aide J. Scott Jennings to political appointees at the General Services Administration on how to help Republican  candidates in 2008.

“We’re in the preliminary stages of opening this expanded investigation,” Loren Smith, a spokesman for the special counsel’s office, an independent investigative and prosecutorial agency, said Tuesday. “The recent suggestion of illegal political activities across the executive branch was the basis we used to decide that it was important to look into possible violations of the Hatch Act.”

The office, led by Scott J. Bloch, enforces the Hatch Act, a 70-year-old law that bars federal employees from engaging in political activities using government resources or on government time.

Whether politics played an inappropriate part in the firings of eight U.S. attorneys, including Iglesias, was at the heart of the controversy that has threatened Attorney General Alberto Gonzales’ job. Whether executive branch employees violated federal laws that restrict them from using their posts for political activity also is at the center of the controversy about the January meeting at GSA.

“Six participants have confirmed that, at the end of the presentation, GSA Administrator Lurita Doan asked all present to consider how they could use GSA to ‘help our candidates’ in 2008,'” 25 Democrats wrote in a letter of complaint on Monday to White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten.

Among questions the senators asked Bolten:

-“Why did Mr. Jennings and his staff communicate the presentation materials which bear the White House seal, via a private e-mail account affiliated with the Republican National Committee?”

-“Does the White House consider the preparation and delivery of such a presentation to be an appropriate use of taxpayer funds?”

The Los Angeles Times, which first reported the wider inquiry, said Doan doesn’t recall making such comments.

The White House said it had not yet been contacted by the Office of Special Counsel on the matter.

White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino said Tuesday that it was entirely appropriate for the president’s staff to provide informational briefings to appointees throughout the federal government about the political landscape in which they implement the president’s policies. The White House said there have been other briefings at other agencies.

“People take great care to make sure that they don’t violate the Hatch Act,” Perino said, “and the Hatch Act doesn’t prohibit the giving of informational briefings to governmental employees.”

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press.