Thursday, June 14, 2007

Connecting the Dots of Corruption

Remember this name: Swatek. It's at the heart of the wrongdoing in the lawsuit that was filed against me. And it is surfacing in reporting about the U.S. Attorneys scandal.

When the firings of eight U.S. attorneys began to receive national attention in March 2007, a new phrase was introduced to many Americans--"the politicization of the Justice Department."

The politicization of the justice system in Alabama, however, had been going on for some time. It was happening on two levels--in the state's federal courts, and more quietly, in its state courts. And we are now beginning to see that the two are connected.

First, let's look at Alabama's federal courts and how the name "Swatek" plays a role. Glynn Wilson's Locust Fork World News & Journal is the place to keep up with the evolving U.S. Attorneys scandal in Alabama. He provides facts, context, and links to reporting from a variety of sources. (He also publishes the complete affidavit of attorney Jill Simpson, who states that the prosecution of former Alabama governor Don Siegelman was politically motivated and driven by White House political guru Karl Rove. To my knowledge the Simpson affidavit has not been published anywhere else.)

One source Wilson cites is Scott Horton of Harper's magazine. In a June 9 piece, Horton examines several issues related to Simpson's affidavit. First, Horton excoriates The Birmingham News for its lame coverage of the story. Of course, the News is a "conservative" newspaper and has shown little or no interest in uncovering Republican wrongdoing that is taking place right under the paper's nose. Then Horton ties the Siegelman/Rove story to the mother of all Republican sleazefests: the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Horton notes the number of Republican operatives in Alabama who have ties to Abramoff. (These operatives also have ties to current Alabama Governor Bob Riley, who barely beat Siegelman in 2002 and now is at the heart of the Siegelman/Rove story.)

One operative drawing special attention from Horton is a Montgomery-based political consultant named Dax Swatek. Horton notes Swatek's close ties to William Canary, who is identified in Simpson's affidavit as the man who assured Riley and others in a conference call that the Justice Department would "take care of" Siegelman. Horton goes on to note Swatek's role in working with former Canary partner Pat McWhorter to form a fictitious non-profit organization in 1999 to benefit Channel One, an Abramoff client.

Journalist Russell Baker reported on the Channel One case for New Republic. The Montgomery Advertiser has profiled Swatek, noting his close ties to Canary and his work for a number of Alabama Republicans, including at least one state appellate judge.

So we have one Swatek who has played a role in the Republican "culture of corruption" story that is now unfolding on the national stage. But another Swatek has played a role in the corruption that plagues Alabama's state courts--courts which became Republican-dominated thanks to the campaign efforts of Rove and Canary in the mid 1990s.

While the problems in Alabama's federal courts are beginning to receive national coverage, corruption in Alabama's state courts has been ignored by the mainstream press.

It will not be ignored by your humble blogger, who has experienced it first hand. And just as in the federal story, a Swatek is front and center. We turn our attention to the "other" Swatek next.

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