Eight US Attorneys were fired by the Justice Department. And the evidence is piling up that that were fired for doing their jobs, rather than for not doing them. Evidence is also piling up that Karl Rove is the man who caused these attorneys to be fired. The most notable of those fired is Carol Lam, pictured above, who successfully put together the case against Duke Cunningham, and was well into other cases that appeared to implicate top Republicans. She was fired before she could conclude her investigation.
But the big question is: what were the attorneys who were not fired doing to keep their jobs, and please Karl Rove and Attorney General Gonzalez.
Of the 375 investigations or indictments of candidates and elected officials by US Attorneys since Bush took office, 298 involved Democrats. Were many US Attorney’s following Republican political instructions? It sure looks that way.
The allegations of political corruption against Democratic Senator Bob Menendez just before the November election now seem to have been politically motivated. If Menendez had lost, the Republicans would still control the Senate.
In the last few days we’ve also learned that Republican members of Congress called prosecutors to pressure them on politically charged cases, even though doing so seems unethical and possibly illegal.
The bigger scandal, however, almost surely involves prosecutors still in office. The Gonzales Eight were fired because they wouldn’t go along with the Bush administration’s politicization of justice. But statistical evidence suggests that many other prosecutors decided to protect their jobs or further their careers by doing what the administration wanted them to do: harass Democrats while turning a blind eye to Republican malfeasance.
Donald Shields and John Cragan, two professors of communication, have compiled a database of investigations and/or indictments of candidates and elected officials by U.S. attorneys since the Bush administration came to power. Of the 375 cases they identified, 10 involved independents, 67 involved Republicans, and 298 involved Democrats. The main source of this partisan tilt was a huge disparity in investigations of local politicians, in which Democrats were seven times as likely as Republicans to face Justice Department scrutiny.
How can this have been happening without a national uproar? The authors explain: ”We believe that this tremendous disparity is politically motivated and it occurs because the local (non-statewide and non-Congressional) investigations occur under the radar of a diligent national press. Each instance is treated by a local beat reporter as an isolated case that is only of local interest.”
And let’s not forget that Karl Rove’s candidates have a history of benefiting from conveniently timed federal investigations. Last year Molly Ivins reminded her readers of a curious pattern during Mr. Rove’s time in Texas: ”In election years, there always seemed to be an F.B.I. investigation of some sitting Democrat either announced or leaked to the press. After the election was over, the allegations often vanished.”
(Department of Injustice; [Op-Ed] Paul Krugman. New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Mar 9, 2007. pg. A.23)