Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Schlozman may face Grand Jury probe

Disgraced former U.S. attorney Bradley Schlozman blew into my town in the spring of 2006 to take over as U.S. Attorney after Todd Graves was forced out for being insufficiently political in the way he did his job.

Now, two years later Schlozman may finally face a Grand Jury probe into his work in election manipulation.

The move amounts to a first step from an internal inquiry toward possible criminal charges in the scandal that helped force the resignation of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

At issue is whether Bradley Schlozman intentionally misled senators during a June 2007 hearing when he gave conflicting statements about his role in an election-eve filing of a voter fraud lawsuit in Missouri while serving, a year earlier, as a U.S. attorney based in Kansas City, Mo.

He also angered Democrats at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing when he admitted to boasting about hiring conservative loyalists over better-qualified lawyers in 2005 when he served as acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division.

The department's inspector general has been investigating Schlozman's statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee in an internal inquiry over the last year.

On Monday, an official said the Justice Department has issued a grand jury referral — an internal first step toward asking a grand jury to take up the case.
It is not clear whether the matter is already in front of a grand jury, but here's hoping...

Both Schlozman and his attorney declined to comment on Monday, as did the justice department.

Schlozman has defended his decision to bring a specious voter-fraud case just days before the 2006 election, even though DoJ guidelines advise against filing charges that could influence elections, and lets face it - the ACORN charges were weak tea indeed.

Todd Graves, Schlozman's predecessor and the ninth U.S. Attorney forced out in the scandal, testified before Congress that he was asked to resign his position after standing firm for the rule of law and playing by the established rules and refusing to file politically motivated cases.

At the same hearing, Schlozman initially told lawmakers that he filed the ACORN charges at the behest of senior officials in the Gonzales Department of Just-Us, then later "took full responsibility for the specious filing. At the time, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., angrily accused Schlozman of reversing his testimony.

Schlozman also admitted at that same hearing that he had bragged it up to other officials how many republican operatives he had managed to get hired at the DoJ while he was serving as the head of the civil rights division of the DoJ. He also said he told some job applicants to take their political background off resumes before applying for positions. He then, audaciously, denied taking political affiliation into account in hiring.

This bastard fucked with elections that I voted in. The ACORN indictment was just the first one, and the one that most people have heard of. He also screwed with the mayors race in Kansas City last spring by bringing a fraudulent indictment against former Jackson County Executive Katherine Shields for mortgage fraud.

The jury all but laughed out loud and declared her "not guilty" right there in the jury box before recessing for deliberations, but the damage was done. Her career was undermined and our election was influenced and now we have Mayor Funkhouser - who I supported - but I didn't want him to win it cheaply, and a year on I am realizing there is a reason why we don't generally elect non-politicians to political office. His term has been fraught with missteps that Shields or Brooks would have avoided easily because they know how the game called politics is played.

Here's hoping for an indictment, trial, guilty verdict and legal fees that wipe his feckless ass out. It is going to take a decade to undo the damage that he has done, and some things will never be put right - like the Kansas City Mayors race in 2007.

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