Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Now see, the U.S. attorney thing was - IS - a big deal...

There are a few sites I haven’t been visiting lately because I was more than a little put-off by the blasé attitude of the site-owners toward the U.S. Attorney purge. When I ran up against posts that had a "who cares?" tone, my answer was "I do!" and I left. For the most part, I haven't been back to those sites. I don't seek out aggravation and annoyances. I'll venture back eventually. maybe once Gonzo is, well, gonzo...

Here is the thing about the Purge: It is a big deal. It always was a big deal. That it wasn’t a big deal to some people – people who I had always thought to be dedicated to the Constitution and the rule of law – just left a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I could not – can not – understand how anyone can just accept turning the Department of Justice into the department of “Just Us.” There is too much at stake. The very lynchpin of our Republic is in peril.

That is a big deal. Probably the biggest deal of my lifetime.

A big deal that is getting bigger.

The White House acknowledged yesterday that e-mails dealing with official government business may have been lost because they were improperly sent through private accounts intended to be used for political activities. Democrats have been seeking such missives as part of an investigation into the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

Administration officials said they could offer no estimate of how many e-mails were lost but indicated that some may involve messages from White House senior adviser Karl Rove, whose role in the firings has been under scrutiny by congressional Democrats.

A lot of White House staffers it seems have violated the Presidential Records Act by using those outside email accounts. (Those accounts are for political correspondence. Anyone else get an Irony Alert?) Not only did they circumvent the PRA, they also used those unofficial email accounts to discuss the political purge of the eight United States attorneys.

The nongovernmental accounts were accidentally discovered by Democrats when the Justice Department released hundreds of documents related to the prosecutor firings.

One exchange showed deputy White House political director J. Scott Jennings sending an e-mail titled "USATTY" to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' then-chief of staff, Kyle Sampson, from an address with a domain name.

"Does a list of all vacant, or about to be vacant, US Attorney slots exist anywhere?" Jennings wrote on Dec. 3 from his political account. Replied Sampson, a few minutes later: "My office. Want me to send to you tomorrow?"

Jennings had also communicated with Sampson and other Justice Department officials in August from his RNC-supplied address about how to install the administration's preferred replacement, onetime Rove aide Tim Griffin, for Arkansas U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins.

In one, Jennings passed on a strategy he said was suggested by Cummins, to have Griffin come on as an attorney in the Little Rock office until Cummins finalized his post-government plans. Jennings said the plan would "alleviate pressure/implication that Tim forced Bud out."

I have taken a few moments and communicated my concerns to both of my Senators, my Congressman and Representative Waxman’s Oversight Committee (contact information for every federal elected official is available in the left-hand sidebar – utilize it). It would probably be a pretty good idea if you did so too.


Scotian said...

As I suspect you already know I am in complete agreement with you as to the fundamental importance of this issue/scandal in regards to what it reveals about how fundamental concepts of justice and the rule of law were perverted into partisan GOP political tools by Bushco. I have referred to this investigation and the USA scandal more broadly as the Rosetta Stone to understanding just how Bushco and the GOP have transformed the infrastructure of the federal government into an extension of the GOP. This perverts so many of the fundamental elements of the US Constitution that I am aghast at anyone that claims to not see all that big a deal here.

It worries me when I as a Canadian can appreciate the severity and the level of danger this issue illustrates regarding the actions of Bushco better than many Americans, even progressives ones. When the rule of law is no longer blind, when the scales of justice are constantly rigged, then one does not live in a free and open democratic society, one lives in something far darker and more dangerous, which I believe is the/your point to begin with.

For what it is worth I hope the fact that I see the same degree of threat and danger from this as you do helps, even if all I can do is send moral support and acknowledgment of seeing the same things. I really hope the Dems do not let this one go, because if they do then I think they have sacrificed the best chance of undoing this damage within this decade to generation, otherwise I fear it may be much longer if ever, and that would truly sadden me.

Anonymous said...

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