NMFBIHOP: DOJ emails shed light on Iglesias “talking points”

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It looks like LP has been sifting through the latest DOJ document dump:

Yet another set of e-mails relating to the firing of the US Attorneys has been released by the DOJ. Included were some e-mails relating to David Iglesias.  The interesting of which was the “draft talking points” on why he was fired.

Still no e-mails saying why he was REALLY fired, though it has been clear for weeks politics played a very large role in his firing.

You probably recognize the right-wing talking points, but here it is when they are actually discussing it.  The e-mail is from Brian Roehrskasse to Monica Goodling, William Moschella, and Richards Hertling.  It was CC’d to Courtney Elwood, Kyle Sampson and Tasia Scolinos. You can find it on page 36 the sixth set of e-mails released last night.

You’ll have to follow the link to LP’s blog to find out what was in the e-mails (and stay tuned, LP has promised more), but here’s a teaser:

I just spoke to Kyle on the plane and have incorporated his input as well as edits from Courtney and Tasia.  The McClatchy story is below — I think it comes from an interview rather than a press conference.

Please send me you [sic] final comments now so I can begin to use these talking points.  Thanks.
DRAFT Talking Points

Meaningful ethics reform: a pipedream?

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Harpers today has an interesting look at “The Perks of Being a Disgraced Member of Congress” and, specifically, Congressman Rick Renzi. For those of you who haven’t heard, it was rumored last week that the Arizona Republican is contemplating resignation, following a raid on his wife’s business. He’s also under investigation. What would you do under the circumstances:

Logically speaking, one would expect a congressman to relinquish his seat under such circumstances. But Renzi says he intends to tough it out—and he’d be a fool not to. That’s because the common folk must pay lawyers out of their own pockets or turn for help to a public defender, but members of Congress can use campaign funds to hire a dream team of defense attorneys. As of March 31, Renzi has only $80,561 on hand. Given his legal predicament, he’ll burn through that in a couple of months. From a fiscal (if not moral) standpoint, he’d be wise to stick around and see what other funds he can raise.

He’d be in good (relatively speaking) company. During the first quarter of this year, seven current and former members of Congress (six Republicans and one Democrat) used their campaign treasuries to pay legal defense bills.

This just screams at the need for some actual ethics reform (as well as meaningful campaign finance reform). Setting aside the large donors to many of these Senators and Representatives, I know ordinary Americans have given money in support of these campaigns. That money shouldn’t be used to pay legal fee when they have to defend themselves following an investigation.

Harpers has more.

House committee approves immunity for Goodling

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According to TPM Muckraker, the House Judiciary Committee has approved immunity for Monica Goodling, the former Alberto Gonzales aide many think can answer a whole bunch of questions regarding the firing of the eight U.S. Attorneys:

The House Judiciary Committee, by a vote of 32-6, just authorized a subpoena for Monica Goodling’s testimony and an offer of immunity.

As former U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias pointed out yesterday, Goodling should prove to be a very valuable witness to investigators. Since Goodling acted as the liaison to the White House at the Justice Department, communications from Karl Rove or other White House officials are likely to have gone through her. As Iglesias put it, she has “the keys to the kingdom.”

Some back info here.

Iglesias initiated OSC probe

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I’m heading to a Town Council meeting, but I just saw this over at Think Progress:

Tonight on MSNBC, fired U.S. Attorney David Iglesias revealed new key details about the Official of Special Counsel’s (OSC) probe into Karl Rove and other White House officials reported today by the Los Angeles Times.

Iglesias said that on April 3, he filed a Hatch Act complaint with the OSC, charging that Karl Rove and others may have broke the law by firing him over his failure to initiate partisan-motivated prosecutions. Iglesias said he subsequently spoke with OSC chief Scott Bloch, who made clear that he was planning to launch an investigation.

TPM Muckraker today had more on the investigation, which will examine Karl Rove’s involvement in several possible Hatch Act violations:

Bloch (who is, by the way, a Bush appointee) seems to have combined a host of investigations — 1) whether U.S. Attorney for New Mexico David Iglesias was wrongly terminated due to his Navy reserve service, and 2) the White House’s use of RNC-issued email accounts to conduct government business, and 3) Rove’s and his deputy’s presentations to federal employees about Republican electoral prospects — into one big stew pot of wrongdoing.

Of all three, Rove’s now-infamous briefings would seem to be the most fertile investigatory ground for Bloch.

More details about Bloch were revealed this afternoon (also via TPM Muckraker):

But government watchdogs have accused Bloch himself of similar behavior. In April 2005, they and others complained the White House appointee had allowed his office to “sit on” a complaint that then-White House National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice used government funds to travel in support of President Bush’s re-election bid.

By contrast, they said, Bloch ordered an immediate on-site investigation of a complaint that Bush’s challenger for the White House, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., improperly campaigned in a government workplace, which had been filed around the same time.

Keeping your eye on the ball

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Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo reminds us about the big picture:

But let’s not get distracted by Alberto Gonzales. He’s just a cog. In almost every case, what we’re talking about here is Gonzales’s willingness to take orders from the White House — most importantly from Karl Rove and President Bush — on firing US Attorneys for corrupt purposes and using the Justice Department to suppress Democratic turnout in swing states. Mr. Gonzales is a secondary issue. The real players are in the White House.

Indeed. And we still don’t have any response (that I know of) from Sen. Pete Domenici on whether he called Bush personally to complain about former US Attorney David Iglesias.


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From Kevin Drum:

Suppose you’re the agency tasked with overseeing county programs for the developmentally disabled. And suppose a couple of workers at an adult day-care program were caught on cell phones abusing developmentally disabled patients. And suppose the video was made public. What would your policy response be?

Answer: tell workers not to bring cell phones to work, of course. Your tax dollars at work.

The Los Angeles Times article he’s talking about:

The video made national news: a worker caught on a cellphone video repeatedly striking a developmentally disabled man as he cowered in fear and moaned.

In the weeks following the discovery, the administrators overseeing Orange County’s programs for the developmentally disabled have declined to discipline the adult day-care program in Anaheim where the abuse occurred, saying they were isolated incidents.

But officials did encourage workers not to bring cellphones to work and to use the video function only in emergencies away from the facility.

The two workers accused of the abuse are awaiting trial, which is well and good, but this still seems like a strange response (though the officials are saying it was planned before the abuse was discovered).