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Congressional Staffer Attacked
November 7, 2005 11:51 PM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Emilia DiSanto, chief investigator for Chuck Grassley was attacked at her home. Was the attack connected to the Finance Committee's investigations into Medicare Fraud, drug secrets and insider trading, or the Abramoff scandal? (via)
posted by pandaharma (22 comments total)

 
The post contains the wrong address for Senator Grassley's page. Here's the correction.
posted by pandaharma at 11:57 PM on November 7, 2005


Gee, I guess it's dangerous to not be for sale or have skeletons in one's closet, in her line of work.
posted by Goofyy at 12:32 AM on November 8, 2005


Ridiculous. Why would anyone kill a person over money or going to jail?
posted by Smedleyman at 2:04 AM on November 8, 2005


Smedleyman, it could easily just be an intimidation tactic. Not kill her, just beat her up and try to get her to back off of something that some people don't want her knowing about.

Why would someone do this? They might be a lower man in one of these fraud schemes. They're vulnerable and an easy fall guy, and more likely to serve hard time than the big guys. Why not risk an assualt on an investigator who might just put you away for 15-20 years? It's one thing to be a fall guy when you just fall into obscurity or reduced power, but serious jail time for one of the little guys who can't afford a team of power lawyers could be intimidating enough to act out.
posted by Saydur at 2:40 AM on November 8, 2005


I think Smedleyman was being sarcastic... right?
posted by brundlefly at 3:15 AM on November 8, 2005


I don't think this was Abramoff. Despite his sleaziness, he's just not in the same league as the types listed above. These others usually get the job when silencing critics.
posted by allen.spaulding at 5:11 AM on November 8, 2005


I guess we'll be seeing a Bob Novak column revealing details of Miss DiSanto's life shortly. That is, if the douchebag can still get a column inch these days.
posted by clevershark at 5:38 AM on November 8, 2005


It happened in Virginia and her assailant was white so obviously it had to be politically motivated.

He's also on the Judiciary, Agriculture and Taxation Committees. Maybe Harriet Miers pulled a Tonya Harding or some farmer was ticked about his subsidies being cut.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:42 AM on November 8, 2005


Pollo, for sure. I can't shake the feeling that if it was a tall black guy who beat her up with a baseball bat, the FBI would be nowhere near the case.
posted by anthill at 6:19 AM on November 8, 2005


I don't think this was Abramoff. Despite his sleaziness, he's just not in the same league as the types listed above.

I wouldn't sell Abramoff short, he's got a few friends who have a long history violence.
posted by doctor_negative at 6:21 AM on November 8, 2005


I'm never inclined towards conspiracy theories but even rightie blogs talk about what a potential toxic hazard Abramoff is.
posted by phearlez at 6:45 AM on November 8, 2005


The attack on DiSanto came two days before a bomb threat caused alarm at an Iowa veterans home where Grassley was scheduled to appear.

According to the Iowa Times Republican, an anonymous caller told a switchboard operator Friday that a bomb would detonate in the center’s cemetery shortly before 1 p.m. The threat was not in the area where Grassley was scheduled to appear and later was deemed a false alarm. Grassley made the visit to the center as planned.

No evidence has surfaced that definitively points to DiSanto’s work on the Finance Committee as the trigger for the attack, but sources say there are a number of clues that suggest it could be.

The assailant was trying to hide his identity, wearing a hood and black gloves. He also did not make any demands before attacking the 49-year-old staffer. A working assumption among investigators is that he was waiting for her to arrive home.

Sources say acts of violence in DiSanto’s neighborhood are rare.

Grassley is known for his aggressive oversight of the public and private sector. Over the past year, he has scrutinized healthcare fraud, organ-donation procedures used by hospitals, drug-safety matters and the use of nonprofit groups related to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

In her line of work, DiSanto “doesn’t make a lot of friends,” an aide said.

Grassley spokeswoman Jill Kozeny said federal and local law-enforcement officials have not ruled out the possibility that the attack was work-related. She said Grassley and DiSanto have discussed the incident.

The only reason why the FBI is involved is because the assault may have been work-related.

There is no indication that the bomb threat and the DiSanto event are related.

Fairfax County police are treating the attack as an attempted homicide.

Some Senate staffers said Capitol Police did not initially treat the attack as work-related late last week.

“We don’t do law enforcement, but that one was a really hard one to swallow,” a Senate aide said.
posted by Tlogmer at 9:17 AM on November 8, 2005


Sources say acts of violence in DiSanto’s neighborhood are rare.

Apparently "sources" means that they just went with what they think rather than actual incidents.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:26 AM on November 8, 2005


Here are a couple incidents of blunt force trauma by unknown assailants in Herndon.
posted by Pollomacho at 10:01 AM on November 8, 2005


Sources say acts of violence in DiSanto’s neighborhood are rare.

I would bet that's just bad reporting. They should say "random violence." Those police reports are sparse, but you figure that there's a easier-to-figure motiviation in those assault cases (road rage, robbery, etc.)

There's just not enough info about this attack yet. Ms. DiSanto could have all sorts of enemies.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:45 AM on November 8, 2005


The incidence of hooded guys attacking 49-year-old women with a baseball bat at 6:30 p.m. in their driveways without saying anything is very, very small. Unless it's a domestic incident. I'd say assuming it was work-related is not jumping to hasty conclusions. Seems like the FBI thinks so too.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:52 AM on November 8, 2005


It happened to my roommate's girlfriend, except she was hit with the butt of a gun. She yelled, but no one heard her so the guy got away with her wallet. She was in a quiet part of Georgetown, a couple blocks from the homes of several Senators and government officials. She worked for a Congressman, I believe he was on the Energy Committee. My immediate reaction is to blame a cabal of oil tycoons angry over the Enron scandal.

This is life in the city. Unless there is some specific threat which they aren't reporting, I'm not really buying it.

Incidentally, DiSanto lives in the town where the Minuteman organization is harassing and filming day laborers. Her boss happens to be on the Judiciary committee, the committee that oversees Immigration.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:52 AM on November 8, 2005


"I think Smedleyman was being sarcastic... right?
posted by brundlefly at 3:15 AM PST on November 8 [!]"

Phsheah, right.


....I don't even know anymore. Lousy Generation X.
*shakes fist*
posted by Smedleyman at 12:28 PM on November 8, 2005


It happened in Virginia and her assailant was white so obviously it had to be politically motivated.

Right, because only black people commit non-political crimes. Is that what you're saying? I'm having trouble parsing that any other way.
posted by delmoi at 12:54 PM on November 8, 2005


Oh, sorry my sarcasm detector failed.
posted by delmoi at 12:55 PM on November 8, 2005


Smedleyman, that was the perfectest MeFi post EVAR.
posted by swerdloff at 3:30 PM on November 8, 2005


Smedleyman, that was the perfectest MeFi post EVAR.
posted by swerdloff at 3:30 PM PST on November 8 [!]

Danke. So I'm one for about 1600.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:01 PM on November 8, 2005


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