Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Are Three Scandals Too Much For Gonzales?

Three scandals and a Monica.

The career of Attorney General Gonzales is sinking fast. The White House is not jawboning Congress to gain their support. Republicans in Congress hesitate to support him because they fear more scandals could surface. There are questions about why former US Attorney Carol Lam's investigation into CIA corruption was stopped, for example. Hate to be on the wrong side of that one. And Mr. Gonzales chief assistant Kyle Sampson is about to testify before Congress.

So Mr. Gonzales is on his own.

There are now three major scandals dogging the man. The man who is in charge of enforcing the rule of law in the United States.

First there was the firing of the eight US Attorneys for not being "good Bushies". Most of them were rated above average in their accomplishments for the Department and one - Carol Lam - was getting close to exposing corruption in the CIA.

Since the CIA's budget is off the books, one would think that that agency would become a corruption magnet. Now that Carol Lam's firing is in the history books, maybe we will find out whether or not it is. Carol Lam, the new Valerie Plame.

In a second scandal, Gonzales had Bush squelch a Department of Justice Inspector General's investigation into whether Patriot Act powers had been misused within the department. It is suspected that he feared that the investigation would have pointed to him as a prime misuser. This scandal has fallen by the wayside, lately, but the question of who was being served by this misuse will remain in the queue.

In a third scandal, Gonzales lied to Congress when he said he'd had no part in the firings. He had attended a meeting where they were the agenda. The staffer who organized the meeting, Kyle Sampson, will testify before Congress under oath on Thursday.

And now a Monica, Monica Goodling, Justice Department liason to the White House has entered the spotlight. Liason to the White House at whose pleasure the eight fired US Attorneys General served. She wants to plead the fifth before Congress.

Gosh, how that echoes down the corridors of time.

Apparently Monica told Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty things to tell Congress which weren't true. That's a crime.

Given her position, it also is likely that she participated in discussions with the White House about the firing of the insufficiently "Bushie" attorneys. She may also know things about squelching the DOJ inspector general's investigation.

Monica has hired a criminal lawyer to defend herself.

The White House has not yet contributed e-mails, claiming executive privilege, but someone noticed that a majority of its e-mail traffic was being sent over accounts on the Republican National Committee server, an open target. Congress has asked the RNC to keep close track of their e-mail archives.

As communities around the nation examine their own US Attorney's record to see if there have been spurious attacks on Democrats or shielding of Republicans, more and more of these attorneys may be expected to reveal pressure that was placed on them and how they dealt with it. They are now free to enforce the law equally, with justice for all. They are in the spotlight and must do so.

In the meantime, Congress has passed a bill by a veto-proof majority that rescinds the little Patriot Act codicil that let Bush bypass Congressional approval when he replaced the attorneys. Any new replacements will need the approval of a Democratic Senate.

The patterns of fracture are like rings on a tree. Subordinates are covering their butts so that they don't get turned into scapegoats.

Only one person is not a subordinate.

Three scandals and a Monica.

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