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Friday, February 5, 2010

It's Time For Obama to Play Rough With Richard Shelby

President Barack Obama has tried to play nice with U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), showing unusual deference on federal nominations--especially for the sensitive U.S. attorney position in the Middle District of Alabama.

What was Obama's reward for his careful approach to Shelby? A knife between the shoulder blades. And it appears to be driven by Republican Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts, leaving Democrats without a super majority in the Senate.

Shelby has announced that he is putting a hold on at least four nominees for top federal jobs because he is unhappy with the White House's handling of an Air Force refueling-tanker contract. The Mobile Press-Register reports that, according to a spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Shelby has gone even further. Writes reporter Sean Reilly:

A spokeswoman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said via e-mail that Shelby had placed a "blanket hold" on administration nominees, a move that could affect dozens of candidates awaiting confirmation for a variety of posts.

"He is holding up all of the president's nominations," the spokeswoman, Regan Lachapelle, said.

Alabama Democrats have been alarmed for months because the Obama administration has allowed Shelby and U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to block two highly regarded nominees--Michel Nicrosi and Joseph Van Heest--for the U.S. attorney position in Montgomery, Alabama. The delay means that Bush appointee Leura Canary, who oversaw the prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, remains in office more than a year after Obama became president.

The latest nominee reportedly is Montgomery lawyer George Beck, who has drawn heavy criticism from Siegelman-case whistleblower Jill Simpson. Beck's law firm, Simpson says, has strong ties to former Bush White House strategist Karl Rove and Business Council of Alabama President Bill Canary.

What should Obama do? It appears that Scott Brown's victory has convinced Shelby that he can play hardball with the administration. It's time Obama played hardball in return.

We made a suggestion almost three months ago, and it still holds up today--even more so, now that Shelby has shown his true stripes on matters of federal nominations. Obama should move to nominate a U.S. attorney who is from outside Alabama. We even presented an excellent candidate:

A person from outside of Alabama is exactly what the Middle District needs. A Justice Department source even has given us the name of an excellent external candidate--Christa Deegan of Columbus, Ohio.

Deegan served briefly in the Middle District of Alabama, and our source said she resisted the toxic culture in Canary's office and wound up being replaced by Anna Clark Morris, who was more than happy to go along with the dysfunctional status quo. Ironically, Morris has family ties to prominent Democrats, and her name has been floated as the possible new U.S. attorney in Montgomery. Our source says such a choice would be "disastrous."

But Deegan, according to our source, is exactly what the office needs. Here is what we wrote about Deegan in an earlier post:

Christa D. Deegan, who had 16 years as a federal prosecutor in Cleveland, Ohio, moved to the Montgomery office in March 2007. "She was an excellent prosecutor, a mover and a shaker, very competent--too competent for such a mediocre office," the source says. "More importantly, she conducted herself in a professional manner and worked very hard. She immediately opposed the hostile work environment, refused to participate in the afternoon gossip sessions, and refused to conform to the toxic culture of the office."

After about seven months on the job, Deegan was fired because she "didn't fit in." Said our source: "She was replaced by Clark Morris, who was more than willing to conform, even embrace the culture."

Deegan now is Ohio's director of industrial relations, where she took over an office that was plagued with allegations of racial discrimination and retaliation. Deegan has vowed to restore staff morale in the Ohio agency. "Except for her experience in Montgomery, Alabama, she has a spotless record for competency, ethical conduct, and professionalism," the source said.

If Christa Deegan (or someone like her) is appointed in Montgomery, she will have no shortage of dirt bags to investigate. And one of them should be Richard Shelby. Consider this from one of our earlier posts:

Alabama's senior senator reportedly has curious ties to Doss Aviation, the firm of which U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller (who handled the Siegelman case) is an owner. Scott Horton, legal affairs contributor at Harper's magazine, has written about the Shelby/Doss Aviation ties:

So now let’s look at another prominent Alabama government contractor with a recent streak of politically-linked successes: Doss Aviation. On Shelby’s own website, there’s a press release from February 2006 in which Shelby says “I am disappointed that the Air Force did not choose Selma as the site for their Introductory Flight Training program . . . ” It sounds like the story of an earmark gone wrong. But there at the end of the press release there’s this: “It was announced today that the program was awarded to Pueblo, Colorado, teamed with Doss Aviation.”

Horton goes on to note some curious connections between Fuller, the judge in the Siegelman case, and Richard Shelby:

Today, Fuller and Shelby even have offices in the same building–One Church St. in Montgomery. That’s also where Doss Aviation was registered, with Mark Fuller listed as the company’s president, from 1999-2002.

Sure, it was peculiar that Fuller listed a government building as the registered address of a private company that contracts with the government. But what’s also peculiar is that the offices for Fuller’s previous gig as District Attorney for the 12th Circuit, were at 98 North Edwards in Enterprise (see also). I have no idea why Doss Aviation, with Fuller as president, was registered at One Church Street (the home of numerous government offices including the office of Senator Shelby) years before Fuller became a federal judge. But it does raise a very curious question: who, exactly, was picking up that mail?

Indeed, who was picking up that mail? And here's an even better question: Was Richard Shelby using his power in the Senate to steer contracts to a company in which he held a financial interest? If that is ever proven, could the senator be in some serious doo-doo? Is that why he's so concerned about who becomes U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama?

This sounds like a job for Christa Deegan--or someone just like her. Could the Obama administration be thinking along those lines?

If Obama was not thinking along those lines then, he certainly should be now. It's time to play hardball with Richard Shelby.


UntiringLawPerson said...

Shelby is ridiculous playing games like this. Just as Obama stated, these Senate delays are keeping well qualified nominees out of top federal jobs based on completely unrelated business.

Chris Brown said...

The citizens of Alabama need to take note. This is case in which the pen is mightier than the sword. Smoky backroom cronies Shelby and Sessions are an embarrassment to the State. Alabama needs fresh blood in Washington. It is time that Shelby and Sessions were VOTED OUT OF OFFICE! Send a message to Washington that the people of Alabama have had enough of this cronyism and political powerbrokering!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Shelby was picking up the mail and maybe this is because he is a stockholder. Of course if that were to be true then he would be in deep doo because he has never reported that on his ethics form. Mmmm

Anonymous said...

Obama is not a true sitting President and they all know it - why Roberts and the accidental first miss on the oath taken.

Thus, to continue thinking Obama has power is nonsense - other than the fact his entire cabinet are the Zionists who run Israel and have a global agenda which is not going to stop no matter how many Americans vote blue. Zionists own both parties in other words.

Begin learning the facts about how money runs America and not politics. Politics is the game taught to obfuscate the true power brokers who use the US (since 1901) for the global police to protect the transnational corporate governments:

HAITI proves IT, with CHINA'S UN MANDATE shoving the US-France-Canada OUT.

No amount of pressure can get Obama to do what he said he would - my friends in the PNW are black powerful business folks who have now realized IT IS NOT THE HOPE OF OBAMA to save them, but it is their own selves and they have begun studying the CONSUMER RIGHTS AND PROTECTIONS to save their six properties now in danger of foreclosure and after YEARS AND YEARS of investing.

Where was OPRAH in the Haiti need of blacks? MIA. Hmmmmm, billionaire globalists do indeed have a private agenda.


Anonymous said...

Shelby the Dick, who is best known not for his successes in Congress, but for turning coat on constituents in the 1990s, when he was elected as a Democrat and then switched parties the DAY AFTER HE WAS ASSURED A JOB. The coward. Now that he's getting on in years and enjoying his Universal Health Care as a career pol, Obama should go for his political and ethical throat. I say anything anyone can nail this coward on is fair game, given The Dick's shenanigans. Go for it.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah. The coward Jefferson Beauregard should be nailed to the political wall of shame, too. Get 'em both. Make it a clean sweep. Dig up anything and everything on these two duplicitous, backwards, hypocritical cowards.

Itsmehoney said...

One would think that since Alabama is producing terrorists now that Shelby would want the intelligence agencies fully staffed. What's going on in Daphne that's send the young into the arms of Al Qaeda?

Robby Scott Hill said...

Biloxi is right. Zionists & right wing Christians run both parties. I've spoken to many liberal Jews who believe that the political aims of Zionist Jews & Fundamentalist Christians are getting America into serious trouble and are causing us to lose respect in the international community. Reducing foreign aid to Israel by 90%, leaving only enough cash for peaceful purposes like food and medical supplies would solve many of America's problems in the world. I'm so glad that some of the Jewish People have a homeland where they can be free from persecution, but unfortunately the same is not true for the Palestinian People who have the misfortune of being born within Israel's borders. Hitler & The Nazi Party are gone & most of the Holocaust Generation is dead now. It's finally time for Israel to stop being cry babies and sink or swim on their own. America can't afford to keep pouring money into Israel's bottomless pit. I think a significant reduction in foreign aid from America would force Israel to make peace with The Palestinian People because the Jews will be unable to afford weapons systems for "dispute resolution" and they will have to sit down and talk to their Arab neighbors for the first time instead of pointing guns at them.