It has been two years since the nomination of Bernard Kerik to be the Homeland Security Secretary in Bush's second term collapsed amid rumors of corruption and financial impropriety. Now, with indictments imminent (and the possibility that the former NYC "Top Cop" will be an inmate in the near future) that nomination - and the unusual steps that were taken in an attempt to push it through in spite of the problems that quickly came to light - are being scrutinized once more.
Within days of the nomination, the background research into Kerik was revealing a lot of damning problems that would have prompted the withdrawal of the nominee in a normal administration. But as we know, this administration and *normal* aren't even in the same time-zone.
The administration instead hunkered down and tried to salvage the nomination anyway.
Alarmed about the raft of allegations, several White House aides tried to raise red flags. But the normal investigation process was short-circuited, the sources said. Bush's top lawyer, Alberto R. Gonzales, took charge of the vetting, repeatedly grilling Kerik about the issues that had been raised. In the end, despite the concerns, the White House moved forward with his nomination -- only to have it collapse a week later.
The revelations about the Kerik vetting process is probably about the last thing the embattled Attorney General needs as he prepares to face an angry Senate Judiciary Committee on April 17th. The facts plainly show that Mr. Gonzalez, then White House Counsel (preparing to face his own confirmation process as Bush's second-term Attorney General) exhibited extremely poor judgment and a willingness to push an unsuitable appointee in spite of it all.
And sadly, it's all of a piece where this crew is concerned. Read the Washington Post piece for the entire sorry tale...