Saturday, September 22, 2007

Did the DOJ target trial lawyers supporting John Edwards?

From Scott Horton's "Tracking Political Prosecutions" at Harper's Magazine:
In the last two weeks, two sources, one of them inside of the Justice Department, have told me that a scheme was hatched in the upper echelons of the Bush Administration shortly after it took office in 2001 or early in 2002. The project identified John Edwards and Hilary Clinton as likely Democratic challengers to President Bush, and identified prominent trial lawyers around the United States as the likely financial vehicle for (Edwards's) rise. It directed that their campaign finance records be fly-specked, and that offenses not be treated as administrative matters but rather as serious criminal offenses.

The scheme contemplated among other things that raids be staged on the law offices involved, and that the records seized not be limited to campaign finance—there was an acute interest in all politically oriented documents, in order to seize valuable intelligence on strategic planning from the enemy camp.
As Horton points out, this goes beyond even Nixonian tactics to something that you'd find in Third World dictatorships. Karl Rove was likely behind it and, of course, it can be tracked to the highest levels of the administration:
Why, I wondered, would the attorneys involved not scream bloody murder about this? Then it struck me. The threat of criminal investigation and prosecution is devastating to their law practices. Of course, they would keep it completely secret. And that silence has made the entire scheme possible. I am told that these cases involved the attorneys general personally—both John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales—that their go-ahead was needed to stage the raids. And that in each case, the greatest concern within the political pirates commanding the operation has been that the public would get wind of the bigger picture. It was essential to pull it off that each case be viewed as something standing all on its own, and that the fact that there was a politically motivated project be obscured.

The key factor here is that all the cases involve campaign finance violations which are of a rather mundane nature. And in each case the FEC violations have been hyped into something quite preposterous. The political angle, I am told, is simple: make trial attorney’s money radioactive. Dry up the source. Take out a key element of the Democrats’ campaign finance strategy.
This again shows the lengths the Bush people will go to in using U.S. government departments for purely political purposes. Horton says it best:
If the scheme to get the Edwards trial lawyer supporters is as described to me, then it was a criminal conspiracy and those involved in it need to be tracked down, removed from office for their abuses, and punished.
Indeed. I would hope this will go to the top of the list of things Democrats have to investigate.


Xanthippas said...

Nice catch...I emailed myself this to write about it later!

I'd give a non-critical part of my body to know who his sources are. Horton doesn't get played by his sources so I trust his source is in position to know about this, and is being truthful (if perhaps self-serving at the same time, as many "sources" can be.) At this point though, the revelation hardly surprises me, and it would explain why the Bush administration has stone-walled so hard on the US Attorneys scandal. If they don't, someone's going to jail.

Anonymous said...

Won't work. You have NO idea what really happened. You have NO idea what you are spewing forth about. You will learn. I only hope you make the right decision when you do. But I doubt it. It is obvious (as Orwell would be mentioning) that you missed the obvious in order to create the hopeful. But you'll learn. In the mean time please, keep this up. It will just make you awakening that much harder. I don't enjoy seeing people realize things. But I do enjoy the realization. Do I know what I'm saying? Yep.

Xanthippas said...

Do you know what I'm saying? Yep.

Nope. But I'll be awaiting the email from you that explains to three of us what REALLY happened in the US Attorneys scandal, since you seem to imply that you actually know. Please contact us at

Nat-Wu said...

The anonymous commentor obviously means that the Bush DOJ was simply doing its job putting criminals behind bars! It's just natural that all those criminals should be attorneys who donated to a Democratic candidate's campaign! We certainly shouldn't criticize them for doing their jobs!

Anyway, back in the land of reality this fits way too well with what we do know for me to assume it's not true. In other words, we know that to Bushies the government becomes an arm of the political party, laws don't matter as long as you're the one with the power to enforce them, and all opposition must be crushed by any means necessary. So how does this revelation not fit that pattern?

We are going to see some of these DOJ people go to jail, hopefully starting with Gonzales and taking everyone who helped him with him.

We're going to realize something alright. We're going to realize our dreams of sending half the Bush administration to jail.