Thursday, October 13, 2005

Scandal and Corruption: The Election of 2006

The Republican majority in Washington continues to be torn apart as more and more major Republican figures fall to the scrutiny of our nation’s judicial system. This morning, the news went public that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has been subpoenaed to testify before the Securities and Exchange Commission amidst allegations of insider trading regarding the Senator’s sale of HCA stock just days before the company announced unsatisfactory earnings. HCA was co-founded by Frist’s father and brother. Frist, if indicted, will almost certainly surrender his post as Senate Majority Leader, making him the second nationally known Republican to be forced out of an office by his own illegal (or, at any rate, immoral) dealings.
Frist is not the only conservative under the public microscope, nor is he the only one to be facing charges in the very near future. White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, President Bush’s top political adviser, is expected to testify for his fourth time today before a grand jury investigating the leak of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity. Thoguh no accusations against Rove have been officially leveled, the frequency with which he now appears in court is a sign all its own.
“No one wants to be that close to a grand jury,” remarked Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist under President Clinton, on CNN’s Situation Room (a grossly distorted, largely vapid substitute for Judy Woodruff’s brilliant, “Inside Politics”). Begala went on to say, “My friends [the former President and First Lady] went before a grand jury, and it’s not pretty.”
The grand jury’s terms expires on October 28th after a two-year investigation, so any indictments to be handed out will likely come within days. Anonymous officials say that the White House is preparing for what is thought to be an “inevitable” series of charges from the office of zealous and efficient prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald (who, it should be noted, recently indicted the top aides to Chicago’s Democratic mayor, Richard M. Daley).
The most likely target of indictment will certainly be Karl Rove, but many have hypothesized that Vice Presidential Chief of Staff Lewis Libby and even possible Vice President Dick Cheney himself could be hauled into court. While the Vice President’s indictment seems highly unlikely, Lewis Libby is in more danger than anyone in the White House would like to admit.
The numerous testimonies by Karl Rove has been a public relations disaster in its own right, and even in the unlikely event that charges aren’t brought up, this bit of nastiness will remain in the public mind for years to come. Given the extremely acidic political climate in the United States and the current disfavor that many feel towards President Bush, just one indictment of a White House insider could bring down the entire Bush presidency. Rove is by far the most important adviser the President has, and he is also the most likely to be indicted. Rove’s removal from his position as Bush’s top political analyst would cripple this White House, further contributing to the already startling pace at which the Republican Party seems to be losing its footing.
Tom DeLay, meanwhile, will soon appear before a grand jury, and his defense team is frantically trying to have the case against the former House Majority Leader dismissed before it can proceed fully onto the public stage. Today, DeLay’s defense attorneys subpoenaed Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle, who brought formal charges against DeLay in September. DeLay’s team is seeking to release the grand jury from its oath of secrecy so that its members can testify about Earle’s alleged illegal doings to effect the DeLay indictment. Supposedly, Earle browbeat the grand jury into charging the Congressman, an accusation that will be difficult to prove, especially as one grand juror has already come forth to say that the assertion is, in his own words, “bullshit.” The bottom line of it is that no matter how the White House spins its mythical adherence to “moral values,” the party that came to power in 1994 promising Congressional accountability has very much become an immoral majority. If things continue as they have been, it is not unrealistic to think that 2006 will be a Democratic heyday.


Blogger RightDemocrat said...

George Bush's falling popularity and the scandals involving the Republican Congressional leaders provide an opportunity for Democrats to regain lost political ground. The only problem is that Democrats still need to win the confidence of middle America. The red-blue divisions still exist and Democrats need to broaden their base in order to make gains. Polling does not show a great deal of public confidence in either party right now.

Bush and the Republican Congress gets failing grades in handling Iraq and the economy, but Democrats must still prove to the American people that we can do better. A good start for Democrats is move center on social issues and focus on the economic concerns of the working and middle class. Democrats must stress issues that will appeal to working families such as expanding access to health care, fair trade, education and job training, protecting Social Security, worker rights and safety. To build a majority, Democrats need to win over values voters and to national security minded voters. Democrats have to show the necessary resolve to lead a war on terrorism and protect America's borders. Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer recently released a policy document which points the way for Democrats to once again become the party of national security. Link to PDF

6:02 PM  
Blogger MnMnM said...

"...if anyone in this administration was responsible for the leaking of classified information, they would no longer work in this administration."--Scott McClellan, October 6, 2003
More Bush double speak. 1 - violated the law beyond preponderance of evidence or beyond a reasonable doubt, or perhaps some higher standard?
2 - be taken care off. Does that mean a consulting job for the Carlyle Group or Halliburton; perhaps a cushy government pension or a platinum parachute, administrative leave without pay, perhaps selling some property at 10 time its market value? We may never know. Casper Weinberger and Oliver North and Kathryn Harris were all taken care of weren’t they.
Like OJ, they will not be able to convict Rove at the criminal level but what about a civil level. Perhaps Common Cause, the Taxpayer’s Union, and other groups should file a taxpayer lawsuit alleging abuse, misuse, and malfeasance in office of government paid for information. Mr. And Mrs. Wilson should also join a suit to get a conviction under the Hatch Act (engaging in political activities) or Federal Privacy Act laws. It is a crime to violate any citizen’s Privacy by divulging information to groups or individuals without a need to know or without the appropriate clearances. Whenever any agency . . . fails to comply with any other provision of this section, or any rule promulgated thereunder, in such a way as to have an adverse effect on an individual [the individual may bring a civil action]." 5 U.S.C. § 552a(g)(1)(D).
I do not believe that Mr. Rove was a Federal Government employee at the time he talked to Matt Cooper. He was a political consultant. I assume he did not have the need to know in his official capacity and he did not have the clearance to know about Mr. Wilson’s wife. Whoever provided this information to Mr. Rove should also be investigated. This might be a clue about why Rove was made Deputy Chief of Staff of the United States (COSTUS). It appears that he and others working with him and perhaps the RNC had access to information protected by the Privacy Act and National Security regulations while Rove was still a political operative. And were his staff, office, and travel expenses paid for by government funds before he became COSTUS. Now that he is COStUS, it might be easy for his lawyer to confuse whether the actions were taken before or after he was appointed. Can NBC get a copy of the oath of Office of COSTUS and post it to their web site? Since he is now Deputy Chief of Staff, does the Hatch Act allow him to be involved in political activities? No matter what the final outcome Rove, the COSTUS, will COST US in the long run. Costs including deaths in Iraq, high gas prices, expenses for lawsuits, and the slow weakening of Freedom of the Press. Which is already on life support. Don’t let them pull the plug on you.
As Daniel Schorr explained in his comments on NPR’s ALL Things Considered on 7/13/05:
...the real issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war, and how America was misled into that war.
Moreover, the real question is not whether Mr. Rove or anyone at the White House has violated any specific laws; they have betrayed our trust by not answering truthfully when the question of Roves’ involvement was originally posed to them. They could have explained then that Rove made a reference to Mr. Wilson’s wife but did not violate any laws. If it walks like a cover-up, talks like a cover-up, and smells like a cover-up, the American public will assume it is a cover-up.
Finally, a similar civil suit might be in line for the Vice-President. What does his oath of office say? It appears that he may also have violated provisions of the Hatch Act and Privacy Act laws. He has assumed powers well beyond his official duties as VP and had access to information protected by the above laws without the official need to know. Please post his Oath and Position Description.

7:46 PM  
Blogger MnMnM said...

Grand Jury testimony of Karl Rove leaked by Rove-ing reporter (humor). Please keep my identity a secret. Double super Secret. I could call in and have my voice disguised and/or my face blocked out. Please send me an email if you plan to use this. Thanks.

Middle-aged, Middle-of-the-road, Mid-Westerner

Testimony of Karl Rove, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff (of the United States) [COSTUS]. How much will COSTUS cost us?

It is posted at:

7:47 PM  

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