Those dems must all be criminals!
March 14, 2007 8:31 AM   Subscribe

Political Profiling run amok. Right on the tails of the resignation of Kyle Sampson, former chief of staff of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales comes a press conference where he accepts, but does not take, responsibility. All this will come as no surprise to the people who read this report that states that the offices of the U.S. Attorneys across the nation investigate seven times as many Democratic officials as they investigate Republican officials, a number that exceeds even the racial profiling of African Americans in traffic stops.
posted by DreamerFi (29 comments total)
First link and 'this report' link to same document.

In related commentary, one and a half more years of scandals and calls for administration officials to step down. I can't hardly wait. What with the Presidential campaign already in full swing, it promises to be a fun time for all.
posted by sfts2 at 8:43 AM on March 14, 2007

What was the rate in previous administrations?
posted by DU at 8:46 AM on March 14, 2007

Josh Marshall has been an excellent source of information and informed outrage on this shameful spectacle of an administration.

Rule of law. Rule of law. Rule of law. I've said it a number of times in recent months: the rule of law and creeping authoritarianism has to be at the center of any sensible politics today. The degradation is so great and the bar has fallen so low.

I predict: Gonzales gone before April 1. Another major Cheney scandal this spring further weakens his hold on power (as well as his already weak grasp of reality). Presidential impeachment looms, but the tide doesn't crest until late 2007/early 2008, and they run out the clock as the election consumes media space and the administration draws its last rasping breath. The tide receeds, leaving behind a tide of finger-pointing books by major and minor administration figures and the nauseating smell of raw sewage.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 8:53 AM on March 14, 2007

here is a great video of Senator Schumer and Feinstein talking about this issue. We also talked about this just yesterday.
posted by delmoi at 9:16 AM on March 14, 2007

I predict: Gonzales gone before April 1.

Actually, a number of folks are predicting that he'll be out by Friday afternoon at the latest.
posted by blucevalo at 9:18 AM on March 14, 2007

For what it's worth, editorial pages across the country are calling for Gonzales' resignation.
posted by rtha at 9:23 AM on March 14, 2007

I have to say I'm kind of surprised at the reaction to all of this, I mean after all the crazy shit they've pulled over the years this doesn't seem to be nearly the worst of it. I guess the main difference is that it happened with democrats in congress. That whole "oversight" thing. It's pretty amazing to see them actually get called on their bullshit. It's nice to see Alberto Gonzales without his smug smile.
posted by delmoi at 9:31 AM on March 14, 2007

What was the rate in previous administrations?

Maybe not as high as 7:1, but what does it really matter? It's about using the judiciary to amplify the political power of the executive branch. Arguing percentage is accepting that this is in any way acceptable. "But Clinton...." But nothing. He was wrong to do it to.
posted by three blind mice at 9:31 AM on March 14, 2007

US Attorneys are political appointees, and the President has every right to sack his predecessors' appointees; but consider that, since US Attorneys serve four-year terms, Bush appointed every one of these recent resignees.

Here is a great report from the Congressional Research Service that gives some perspective on just how common it is for eight US Attorneys to up and resign without obvious reason. Summary:
At least 54 U.S. attorneys appointed by the President and confirmed by the
Senate left office before completion of a four-year term between 1981 and 2006 (not
counting those whose tenure was interrupted by a change in presidential
administration). Of those 54, 17 left to become Article III federal judges, one left to
become a federal magistrate judge, six left to serve in other positions in the executive
branch, four sought elective office, two left to serve in state government, one died,
and 15 left to enter or return to private practice.

Of the remaining eight U.S. attorneys who left before completing a four-year
term without a change in presidential administration, two were apparently dismissed
by the President, and three apparently resigned after news reports indicated they had
engaged in questionable personal actions. No information was available on the three
remaining U.S. attorneys who resigned.
I post this in the interest of providing the public with ammunition to refute the preposterous right-wing talking point that "Clinton did it too!" Clinton dismissed George HW Bush's and Ronald Reagan's appointees as was his right; that's a horse of another color entirely.
posted by Mister_A at 9:33 AM on March 14, 2007

That's precisely why it really matters. It is clearly wrong, but I'd like to know how common it is.

I like how the document dump shows the orders came from the White House but Gonzales is the only one whose resignation is being called for.
posted by DU at 9:34 AM on March 14, 2007

While I agree that this whole affair is completely messed up, the racial profiling comparison is completely off.

Consider what percent of our governing officials are democrats vs. what percent of any given population is black, and you'll see it's a lot easier to get 7:1 on the dems than it is to get as many pull-overs, tickets and police searches on black folks.

In other words, it takes a lot less effort & bias to get those numbers on the dems than the multigenerational, non-centralized persecution of black folks...
posted by yeloson at 9:39 AM on March 14, 2007

Oh, and Gonzalez is a horse's ass. I just hope he develops some integrity after he resigns, and tells the Senate what really happened.
posted by Mister_A at 9:54 AM on March 14, 2007

Non-apology apology; see also "mistakes were made."

Bad sign for Gonzales? President Bush says he has confidence in him, just like he said about Rumsfeld right before firing him.

Gonzales Chief Of Staff Rebuts Rove Claim That Clinton Purged Prosecutors Too

When will Mr. Gonzales be prosecuted for lying to Congress?

I like how the document dump shows the orders came from the White House but Gonzales is the only one whose resignation is being called for.

It's like how the testimony in the Libby trial shows the White House was involved in leaking Valerie Plame's identity but only Libby's getting punished.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:08 AM on March 14, 2007

Personally I find it utterly disgusting that Rove and his monkeys are still getting away with murder----and worse. Firing Gonzales won't fix very much.
posted by metasonix at 10:18 AM on March 14, 2007

This one's got some legs, though. This is becoming the type of scandal that ripens precipitously, becoming more rotten with each flimsy denial or justification. Also, we have a Democratic congress now.
posted by Mister_A at 10:22 AM on March 14, 2007

Help me understand this, because I really don't.

Gonzales may have perjured himself before congress, so I understand what law was broken there.

What are the other crimes involved in this situation? It seems ethically questionable, but I don't get why it is criminal.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:38 AM on March 14, 2007

Joey-- it's not criminal, just highly improper.

Just like a mayor might be able to fire a DA, it looks really bad if that DA was investigating the mayor's cronies.

In this situation, there was political pressure from the White House for the AG's office to fire USAs who investigated wrongdoing by Republicans, or, more commonly, who didn't investigate enough Democrats.

There have been a series of shifting party lines and lies from the WH and its defenders. "It's perfectly normal to fire 8 USAs out of the blue!" (False, as Mister_A's link shows.) "It's not like there was any involvement by the White House!" (False, as the info released the other day shows.) "Everybody puts political pressure on USAs all the time anyway!" (False. That's not how the rule of law operates. See Mister_A's link.)

Read Josh Marshall to get ahold of the story.
posted by ibmcginty at 10:59 AM on March 14, 2007

I like how the document dump shows the orders came from the White House but Gonzales is the only one whose resignation is being called for.

If Bush were to resign, I'd be cool with that.
posted by ken_zoan at 11:09 AM on March 14, 2007

I wouldn't be too quick to conclude that Gonzales' apparent perjury is the only crime here. Wouldn't there be something about obstruction of justice if White House staff conspired to get rid of prosecutors who were investigating alleged corruption?
posted by palancik at 11:10 AM on March 14, 2007

We really need to stick with one thread. Anyway Joey:
18 USCS § 1503

§ 1503. Influencing or injuring officer or juror generally

(a) Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any grand or petit juror, or officer in or of any court of the United States,

or officer who may be serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate, in the discharge of his duty,… or corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).
Prosecutors are officers of the court. Improperly influencing their jobs/careers to influence their handling of grand jury investigations would seem to violate this law. Whether that would apply to Gonzalez, as their boss, is an interesting question. However some of the people pressuring them to change tactics, that looks worse.
posted by caddis at 11:14 AM on March 14, 2007

he'll be out by Friday afternoon at the latest

posted by owhydididoit at 11:50 AM on March 14, 2007

Thank you caddis and ibmcginty. That makes this story make a lot more sense to me.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:55 AM on March 14, 2007

Nixon fired Cox legally too.

This stinks so bad they're issuing gas masks. I think Gonzo is gone by Friday as well, Monday at the latest.

And happy fucking day. No one believes anything these people say any longer, even if any of it is true. About time.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:26 PM on March 14, 2007

All roads lead to Rove
posted by homunculus at 8:42 PM on March 14, 2007

All roads lead to Rove

How dearly would I love to see Rove, and Cheney, behind bars for many years over this. Don't drop our soap.
posted by caddis at 9:29 PM on March 14, 2007

E-Mails Show Rove's Role in U.S. Attorney Firings -- "Unreleased E-Mails Contradict White House Assertions That the Firings Originated With Harriet Miers."
posted by ericb at 3:13 PM on March 15, 2007

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