Wednesday, February 01, 2006

So Many Scandals, It's Really Hard To Keep Track Anymore

Let's see, where shall I begin,

The Libby defense team has requested documents, many classified, and are questioning Plame's status at the CIA at the time of the leak. They also seemingly unveiled their defense strategy. They are apparently going to plead incompetence, by saying "that Libby was immersed in national security matters from dawn to dusk every day", and that "any misstatements he may have made were the result of confusion, mistake and faulty memory...rather than deliberate lies". As ReddHedd puts it, Libby looks to be trying the "my job was hard, so I can't be held responsible for my tired mind making me do illegal things like lying to a grand jury" defense. For the most thorough analysis of Libby's defense and Fitzgerald's letter in response, you have to read ReddHedd's take. Nobody, bar none, can decipher lawyerese into blogese better than Redd.

Fitzgerald let the Libby team know that he is not obligated to turn over material at this time and also fired this bombshell across the bow,...

"In an abundance of caution," he writes, "we advise you that we have learned that not all email of the Office of the Vice President and the Executive Office of the President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal achiving process on the White House computer system."
Missing emails!! Oh my! As Atrios points out, Gonzales' decision to tip off White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and then wait 12 more hours before beginning an official inquiry may be the real reason why the emails are missing. "Scrub scrub scrub..."

Redd explains Fitz's revelation thus...
I have to say, I have no idea what that means in terms of the technical ramifications because I don't know what is normally archived or how it is done in the WH computer system. But I will say this: John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzalez and Andy Card have a chunk of hours to answer for between when the WH was notified and when they officially locked the system down from staff. And the fact that Fitz is announcing that he knows this in a letter this bluntly says he's holding one hell of a hand that we can't see.
Is it beginning to feel a lot like Fitzmas again in here, or is that just me? God knows I ♥ Redd for making sense out of all of this for me.

Now we must move on. Josh Marshall's Daily Muck is even muckier than usual today. Josh hired some help recently, I even chipped in a few pennies towards it, and boy does it ever look to be paying off in spades...

It seems "DeLay's defense fund is in the red: He raised $590,520 in 2005, but during 2005, his legal expenses topped $1 million." and that's not all, dare I say it, at Delay's office party tonight "no lobbyist will be picking up the tab. The prix-fixe dinner will cost $38 per person..."

Oh the sweet sweet schadenfraude. lol

Oh but that's not all by far, in the race to replace Delay as the majority leader, Reps. Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boehner (R-OH) and John Shadegg (R-AZ), all have their cups runneth over with lobbyists on their staffs. Is it really any surprise that GOP reform will really be a potemkin affair. It seems that no matter who wins the race to replace the hammer, we (as in we the people, for justice and honest govt) will lose.

The Hill also provides a primer on Tom DeLay's career as Majority Leader and profiles the leadership styles of the three candidates to replace him.

The Christian Science Monitor covers the race for Majority Leader and ponders whether all this talk about reform will really shake the balance.
Wow, this is getting to be a long post already, and we haven't even gotten to Abramoff yet.

From Fired Up!:

[A]fter September 11th, at the request of then-U.S. Attorney for Guam, Frederick A. Black, a report was prepared by the Department of Justice that cited major security concerns related to weak enforcement of immigration laws on Guam and the [The Northern Mariana Islands] CNMI.

Jack Abramoff, who then represented the CNMI, got word of the report from sources inside the Justice Department, and worked to have the report killed. Bloomberg has reported that Abramoff may have been tipped off about the report as early as October 2001.

The report, issued in May of 2002, warned that a lack of border control in the Marianas could "seriously jeopardize the national security.'' But the report was shelved, the report's author was demoted, and then Frederick Black himself was demoted that fall, the day after he issued subpoenas to investigate Abramoff's lobbying contract with the Guam Superior Court.
And there's this too...

Hong Kong's The Standard reported a couple of weeks ago that Tan, the garment manufacturing giant of Saipan, was laundering his payments to Abramoff through a front company in Hong Kong. This piece delves into the very tangled web involving Abramoff, Alexander Strategy (ASG), and the Heritage Foundation.
The Hong Kong operations of ASG and the Heritage Foundation were almost indistinguishable.
Plus, it seems Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) is still capably raising money despite his considerable Abramoff problem.

And we have a lil more news on the Boulis murder.

In These Times reports that the prosecutor going after the three men accused of murdering Gus Boulis, the man who sold SunCruz to Jack Abramoff and his partner Adam Kidan, is looking forward to speaking with Abramoff and Kidan now that they're cooperating.
Also, Montana's Great Falls Tribune brings word that Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mon.), under assault for his relationship with Jack Abramoff, has hired some muscle...

Hats off to Josh Marshall for keeping us up to date on all of that, and believe me, I just edited out over half of today's daily muck to focus on what I felt were the main points.

Josh has also put together The Grand Ole Docket to help us keep track of trial dates, court appearances and sentencing hearings for players in the current array of national political scandals. But not just any crook can make it on the Docket - it only tracks perps who've been named by prosecutors in indictments or plea agreements.

There they are, in alphabetical order. I might just be able to keep track of the names and faces afterall.

I can't say it enough. Josh deserves a bow, a Hell Yeah!!, and a High Five!, for all he's managed to accomplish. Thank you Josh Marshall, to you and your obviously overworked sidekicks! You guys totally rock!

Oh, and just to show that I'm non-partisan when it comes to scandal, there's also this news today...
AP: A look at some of the fiscal troubles that prompted Democratic state Rep. Marie St. Fleur to abandon her bid for lieutenant governor...(more)
That's not much of a scandal I know, but that's all I saw on this side of the aisle. I kind of feel sorry for her because she may have otherwise been perfect for the position. Hey, I've had some tough times before myself, as I imagine most of us have. That said, I'm glad this came out now, she has withdrawn, and we can move on.

Like I said, when it comes to improprieties in our govt, I really don't care what side of the aisle they are on. So if anyone has any other real dirt on any Democrats or Republicans, drop me a link in the comments and if I find any meat on that bone, we'll gnaw on it together in a post here to be sure. Nuff said.

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