I've long had a special interest in the activities of former Bush Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Ashcroft is from Springfield, Missouri, my humble hometown. And Ashcroft comes by his God-Squad credentials honestly because he grew up in the Assemblies of God, which has its international headquarters in Springfield.
A number of my family members, conservatives to the core these days, seem to think that Ashcroft is a salt-of-the-earth sort. I don't happen to share those views. (How did my family become a bunch of conservatives? I've been asking myself that question for about 15 years now. My mother grew up in rural Arkansas and used to regale me with stories of all that FDR did to help her family and friends survive the Great Depression. She used to love to read books about the Kennedys and didn't even seem to mind it when tales started to surface about JFK's unsavory activities with members of the fairer sex. But when I announced in 1992 that I planned to vote for Bill Clinton, my mother looked at me like I had lost my mind. Somewhere between 1980 and 1992 some tectonic shift occurred in my family's politics, and with me being in Alabama most of the time, I wasn't aware of it taking place. Evidently, for reasons I still find hard to figure, similar shifts took place in many white, middle-class families. And our country continues to pay a huge price for that.)
Anyway, back to John Ashcroft. The favorability ratings for my Missouri homeboy didn't go up here at Legal Schnauzer after reading Scott Horton's post today about the vanishing Jack Abramoff investigation.
And why has the Abramoff case, which Horton calls the most important public-corruption scandal in the nation's history, been off the radar screen? Well, looks like we can thank John Ashcroft for that, to a great degree.
Turns out my God-Squad homeboy was wading in the Abramoff muck with hip boots. Horton points out at least six close connections Ashcroft had to Abramoff. And when the U.S. attorney in the Northern Marianas began to raise questions about Abramoff's activities there, Ashcroft had the USA removed from office.
When demands were made for a special prosecutor to handle the Abramoff matter, Ashcroft denied them.
Few people on the planet probably have benefited from Ashcroft's coverup quite like Alabama Governor Bob Riley. What does that mean for those of us who live in Alabama. It means we have people like Bill Canary and Dax Swatek close to the seat of power in our state. It means we have an unholy alliance between state government and federal prosecutors such as Alice Martin and Leura Canary. It means we have a corrupt state judiciary that feels free to trample the law and cost the state billions of dollars.
I'm sure you could not convince many of the folks in Southwest Missouri that John Ashcroft has helped cover for one of the sleaziest figures in U.S. history. And many Alabamians probably do not realize just how much that cover up has cost our state.
Will we ever get to the bottom of the Jack Abramoff scandal? Will we ever know Bob Riley's true connections to Abramoff, ties that GOP presidential candidate John McCain evidently helped keep under wraps?
Horton doesn't seem to be terribly optimistic about it. If we don't get to the bottom of the Abramoff case, it's pretty much a certainty that more Jack Abramoffs are waiting in the wings. And I wouldn't be surprised if they are being groomed in Alabama.