Brendan DeMelle, at Huffington Post, writes that the Obama administration's decision to turn a blind eye to politicization of the U.S. Justice Department has profound implications for the country--not to mention the victims of political prosecutions, such as Don Siegelman in Alabama, Paul Minor in Mississippi, and Charles Walker in Georgia.
Veteran investigative reporter Wayne Madsen reported earlier this week that it was Emanuel, not former White House Counsel Greg Craig, who nixed support for new trials or investigations in the apparent political prosecutions. From the Wayne Madsen Report (WMR):
WMR has learned from sources close to ousted White House chief counsel Greg Craig that it was not President Obama’s top legal adviser who balked at ordering the Justice Department to review the politically-motivated criminal cases brought by the Bush administration against three top Democrats in the South, but it was White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel who made the decision to nix any White House backing for new trials for the southern Democratic officials involved -- former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, former Georgia state Senate leader Charles Walker, and Mississippi attorney Paul Minor.
Walker and Minor are currently incarcerated in federal prisons while Siegelman was freed from prison pending an appeal of his conviction in a trial headed by a corrupt Bush-appointed federal judge and former Republican operative, Mark Fuller.
Madsen says the new information essentially puts Emanuel as providing cover for Karl Rove:
Craig announced his resignation as chief counsel last November. Although press reports indicated that Craig was forced out by Emanuel over Craig’s determination to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, prison and to release Bush administration Justice Department memos on harsh interrogation techniques, the new information suggests that Craig and Emanuel also differed over Bush-era Justice Department prosecutions of Siegelman, Walker, and Minor, with Craig favoring a Justice Department review of the cases and possible new trials.
The involvement of Emanuel in blocking Justice Department review of the cases against Siegelman, Walker, and Minor is the first evidence that ties Obama’s chief of staff to the continuation of the political prosecutions of a number of Democrats that was brought about largely by President Bush’s top political adviser Karl Rove.
DeMelle, understandably, reacts to the news with a sense of outrage:
With friends like Rahm Emanuel, who needs Karl Rove to destroy the Democrats? Rove is widely reported to have been the mastermind behind the politically-motivated criminal cases brought by the Bush administration against three top Democrats in the South--Paul Minor, Don Siegelman and Charles Walker--and many more nationwide.
Assuming the Wayne Madsen Report is accurate, we now know that Rahm Emanuel is a willing accomplice in that distortion of justice, turning a blind eye to the shameless political prosecutions waged by the Bush administration. Why?
DeMelle also provides an update on the Paul Minor case and what it could mean for America's political system:
Paul Minor, the former Mississippi attorney turned political prisoner, is set to file a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court to address the central issue in his case - whether a U.S. citizen can be convicted and imprisoned for donating to a political campaign without the court requiring any evidence of an explicit quid pro quo agreement between the candidate running for elected office and the campaign contributor.
This may be the most important case of the 21st century. If the court decides against Paul Minor, then every U.S. citizen--even corporations, despite the inherent fallacy of corporate personhood-- could be convicted for bribery and thrown in jail simply for donating to a political campaign.
Just let that sink in for a moment. Every single donor--and even the candidates themselves--could be accused, tried, convicted and jailed simply for taking part in democratic elections. This isn't happening in the Soviet Union or a repressive Middle Eastern dictatorship. It is happening right here in the United States, in plain sight, although very few people seem to understand the repercussions given the mainstream media's lack of coverage of Mr. Minor's plight.
Who got in the way of possible justice in the Paul Minor case and other political prosecutions? DeMelle makes that clear:
We now also know that President Obama's top legal advisers were ready and willing to review Paul Minor's case, that is until Rahm Emanuel put his foot down to unilaterally stop the White House from urging the Justice Department to review the case of Paul Minor and the others.
That a chief of staff in a Democratic administration could take such a wrongheaded stance is hard to comprehend. DeMelle outlines the implications for all Americans-including Rahm Emanuel, who might someday learn that he isn't above the fray:
Paul Minor's appeal to the Supreme Court represents an incredibly significant moment in the history of participatory democracy. It is critical for the Supreme Court to enforce the requirement for proof of an explicit quid pro quo in cases involving campaign contributions.
If the Supreme Court Justices provide that clarity by ruling the honest services statute unconstitutionally vague, or even simply enforcing the quid pro quo requirement, then Paul Minor must be freed.
In any event, if the Supreme Court fails to require a clear quid pro quo agreement, then every campaign contributor - citizen and corporation alike - should be concerned about his or her freedom to participate in our democracy. Whether it's an ExxonMobil or U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive, a wealthy trial lawyer, or even Rahm Emanuel, nobody deserves the injustice endured by Paul Minor. Let his be the last partisan political prosecution to tarnish our democracy, and set him free to be with his children.