Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Draining the Bush DOJ Swamp

Is it possible that some of the muck finally is being removed from the cesspool created at the Bush Department of Justice?

Are the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and Office of the Inspector General (OIG)--both units of the Justice Department--capable of cleaning up the mess from within?

I put a lot of faith in what Scott Horton writes at Harper's.org, and he has indicated that he has little faith in OPR. Horton seems to hold OIG, particularly director Glenn Fine, in pretty high regard.

So what to make of news reports that OPR and OIG are combining to unearth evidence of criminal activity in the political machinations by loyal Bushies at main Justice?

Like Horton, I'm not convinced these DOJ units are "man enough" to truly drain the Bush sewer. But at least they are exposing political hacks like Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson. And perhaps that's a belated, if worthwhile, start.

The New York Times gets appropriately riled up in an editorial today, calling the OPR/OIG findings "appalling" and saying Attorney General Michael Mukasey's response was "disgracefully lukewarm."

Richard B. Schmitt, of the Los Angeles Times, adds to the story today with a major piece about employees or job candidates being rejected based on rumors about homosexuality.

The bottom line? The Bush Justice Department was willing to break the law in its efforts to appoint only conservative Republicans to what are supposed to be apolitical positions.

Was this mindset present when U.S. attorneys were being appointed? I suspect that it was.

And what did the public wind up with as a result? In Alabama, we have political hacks like Leura Canary in Montgomery and Alice Martin in Birmingham.

Canary led the effort to get former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman, and that case has become the "poster child" for political prosecution by loyal Bushies.

But don't forget Alice Martin. We certainly haven't here at Legal Schnauzer. She was the first prosecutor to go after Siegelman, with a case that was so weak it was promptly booted out of court. She has a lengthy record of going after Democrats, particularly those with dark skin, while ignoring wrongdoing by Republicans. And in the shameful case of Alex Latifi, she appears to have intentionally ruined a man's business, all because he happens to be of Iranian descent.

I have my own Alice Martin stories, and they point very strongly toward her involvement in my termination at UAB. Martin reportedly is under investigation by OPR and OIG, and I will make sure folks in those offices know about my experiences with our local prosecutor.

My research in recent days is yielding some interesting connections between Alice Martin and UAB, connections that might help explain why I no longer have a job. I've also uncovered connections between the Department of Justice and the University of Alabama Board of Trustees.

Many more details to come.

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