Congressman Artur Davis has asked the Obama administration to hold a sensitive U.S. attorney position for him, should he lose in his bid to become governor of Alabama, sources tell Legal Schnauzer.
One of the great mysteries of the Obama administration has been this: Why has it left Leura Canary in place as U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama? Canary, a Bush appointee who has served under Obama for roughly 15 months now, is notorious for her role in the apparent political prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.
Sources now are shining significant light on the mystery. They say Davis, an Obama supporter during the 2008 campaign, has asked the president to leave Canary in place so the position could go to Davis if he falls short in his bid for governor. The White House apparently has agreed to do that.
This scenario raises all kinds of troubling questions about Davis and Obama and their views of the Justice Department. It also raises questions about possible manipulation of the appointment process:
* If Davis and Obama have struck such a deal, when did it take place? If it was shortly after Obama took office, has there been any legitimate attempt to fill the U.S. attorney position in Montgomery?
* If the deal came more recently, does that mean Davis realizes his run for governor is in trouble, especially in light of his no vote on health-care reform? A report out yesterday said Davis now is drawing less than 40 percent of the black vote in his primary run against Ron Sparks.
* How is this for irony? After possibly harpooning his own gubernatorial run by voting no on Obama's health-care bill, could Davis now be turning to the president for help with a political appointment? Does the man have no shame?
* The names of two Alabama lawyers--Michel Nicrosi and Joseph Van Heest--have been put forth for the Montgomery position. But U.S. Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby, respectively, nixed them. Were Nicrosi and Van Heest serious candidates or were their names floated for show?
* If the names were floated for show, does that mean Davis and perhaps the White House are working with the likes of Sessions and Shelby to deceive the public?
* What about federal crimes that have gone ignored--or non-crimes that were pursued--in the 15 months Canary has served under Obama? This would include an ongoing federal investigation surrounding electronic bingo in Alabama, which appears to be a glorified political favor to GOP Governor Bob Riley, a staunch Canary ally. What kind of costs, financial and otherwise, have the public paid in order to hold a spot for Artur Davis?
* Is the Obama White House remotely serious about justice issues and cleaning up the mess it inherited from the George W. Bush administration? Or does Obama see federal-prosecutor jobs as something to be passed out as political patronage?
* Could there be a worse choice for the Montgomery position than Artur Davis? In his run for governor, Davis has sought the support of pro-business interests led by Bill Canary, who is Leura Canary's husband and president of the Business Council of Alabama. Bill Canary, a longtime associate of Karl Rove, reportedly was in the middle of the plan to unlawfully prosecute Siegelman--and he should immediately be on the radar of the new federal prosecutor in Montgomery? But would he be on Artur Davis' radar?
* If Davis is awarded the position, would he do anything to clean up one of the ugliest cesspools in the American justice system? Would he do much of anything, other than collect a nice government check while he ponders his next political move?
Davis has a background as a prosecutor and, on paper, probably is qualified to be a U.S. attorney. But if he is going to be appointed to such a position, it needs to be outside of Alabama. Davis has spent the past year or so sucking up to the white, corporate, conservative elites who have turned Montgomery into an ethical sewer.
It's hard to imagine that Artur Davis would be the right person to clean up that mess.