Thursday, October 15, 2009

Obama Justice Department Hangs Siegelman Whistleblower Out to Dry

Has President Barack Obama improved the U.S. Department of Justice since inheriting a dysfunctional mess from George W. Bush almost 10 months ago?

If you were to pose that question to Tamarah Grimes, a former paralegal in the DOJ's Middle District of Alabama, she almost certainly would reply, "Heck, no!"

Grimes blew the whistle on prosecutorial misconduct in the case of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, which took place under the Bush regime. But much of the abuse Grimes has suffered as a result has happened on Obama's watch.

Joan Brunwasser shines unflattering light on the Obama DOJ in a compelling two-part interview with Grimes at OpEd News. You can check out the full interview here and here.

What conclusions can we draw from Brunwasser's splendid piece? Failure to address abuses in the justice system is the great shame of the Obama presidency. And if the situation does not improve quickly--if Obama does not show some Alan Grayson-like guts on the matter--his presidency might be at risk.

As Grimes and Brunwasser make clear, it no longer is a matter of "looking back" at abuses under the Bush administration. The abuses are happening right now--under Obama. And there is little sign that they are going to be addressed anytime soon.

How long are progressives, who put Obama in the White House, going to tolerate an administration that turns a blind eye to grotesque abuses in the justice system.

How grotesque are the abuses? Consider that Grimes wrote a letter on June 1, 2009, to Eric Holder--Obama's attorney general--and eight days later, she was fired from her job. (See the complete letter to Holder below.)

It's hard to imagine a more clearcut case of unlawful retaliation. But the Obama Justice Department now is trying to ensure that Grimes does not receive unemployment benefits, and she has been denied health-care insurance--and she has a special-needs child! A hearing regarding Grimes' benefits was held on October 7, and a final decision has not been reached.

Is that change we can believe in? Is this the administration that is pushing for health-care reform? Sheez. Here is Grimes, from Brunwasser's story:

My honesty and integrity have been called into question, which has rendered me virtually unemployable in my field. I am not employed. My family has no income. I was without insurance for a few weeks while the government processed the conversion to COBRA benefits. In July, I applied for and received unemployment benefits. The Department of Justice has appealed on the premise that my termination was the result of misconduct connected with my employment.

If I lose unemployment benefits, I will be forced to repay the benefits I have received. This month I am unable to pay my mortgage. If I am unable to find a job in the very near future, foreclosure of our home is imminent. All of this pain and heartache is the result of my decision to speak out, to tell the truth, to perform my duty as a federal employee and defend the Constitution of the United States.

This is how the Obama administration rewards whistleblowers. And this comes after the Middle District of Alabama, led by Bush appointee Leura Canary (who still is on the job), had heaped abuse on Grimes:

I know firsthand how selective prosecutions are engineered in the Middle District of Alabama because it almost happened to me. When Leura Canary learned of my complaints, she summoned me to her office to attempt to threaten and intimidate me. According to her own sworn statement, on November 1, 2007, Canary socialized for several hours at the bar in the Embassy Suites Hotel with her cousin and colleagues from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys in Washington DC.

During that time, the group discussed my complaints and began to speculate on what I might have done, or could have done. The next day, on the basis of nothing more than this baseless speculation, I was referred for criminal investigation. After two unsuccessful attempts to subject me to selective criminal prosecution in the Middle District of Georgia, I was terminated for my denials that I had done what I was accused of. According to DOJ, my continued assignment posed an unnecessary and unacceptable risk to operational security. I was escorted from the building by security and told not to return.

Did this make a lick of sense? Nope:

I waited three long weeks to learn why. The answer is equally stunning. I was no longer "afforded the opportunity to gain access, to Secret and/or Confidential NSI (National Security Information) or grand jury information." My job in the civil division did not involve Secret or Confidential National Security Information and, as a civil employee, I am precluded by statute from accessing grand jury information. In other words, my employment was terminated because I could no longer access material that I am neither required nor legally entitled to access as part of my job!

Then Grimes had to watch the DOJ's Office of Special Counsel, reporting to Obama, issue a report stating her allegations were "unsubstantiated." Never mind that she had presented e-mails that proved Canary had not recused herself from the Siegelman case as she had claimed:

In reading the Office of Special Counsel report [that dismissed Grimes's claims of prosecutorial misconduct], I am reminded of the famous children's fable The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. Like the prime minister in the story, Interim Special Counsel William E. Reukauf would have you believe that the actions of the Department of Justice are irrefutable--even in the face of e-mail communications which clearly contradict its position--so much so that only the incompetent and unreasonable fail to recognize its merits.

Like the emperor, I feel duped by the Office of Special Counsel. Federal employees have access to the Office of Special Counsel's whistleblower's website which prominently features its whistleblower duties. Relying upon the information I obtained from the Office of Special Counsel website, I placed my trust, my career, my entire life and the lives of my family in the hands of the Office of Special Counsel on the premise that whistleblowers are protected from retaliation by federal law. Based upon my personal experience, nothing can be further from the truth.

Grimes also has had to endure insults from federal prosecutors, who now theoretically answer to Holder and Obama, claiming she had not made her allegations under oath. What is the truth about that matter?

I have been called a "coward" and a liar by federal prosecutors Louis Franklin, Steve Feaga and J.B. Perrine because I have not given testimony under oath. As these career prosecutors well know, I am prohibited by statute (18 USC 207) from giving testimony under oath to any court or federal official on behalf of any party other than the United States in any matter in which I had substantial participation. This is a lifetime prohibition. I can only surmise that calling me names for not testifying under oath was an attempt to provoke me into breaking the law so that they could attempt a third criminal prosecution against me.

Are these the actions of honest and ethical federal prosecutor who hold themselves to a higher standard as representatives of the Department of Justice--or are these representative of the less-than-honorable conduct these prosecutors have exhibited all along?

Why is madness still going on in the Middle District of Alabama? Why has Team Obama been so reluctant to clean up the cesspool? Grimes offers a possible answer. And it points a finger directly at U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL):

I think the appointment of Sen. Sessions to chair the Judiciary [Committee] is a key factor in the holdovers, especially Leura Canary, who is a Sessions protegé. Sen. Sessions wields a great deal of influence with the Republican minority. The Obama Administration favors diplomacy and appears somewhat hesitant to follow through on some key issues. The Administration certainly has a clear majority to pursue its agenda without Republican support should it choose to do so. I suspect that there have been some concessions made on some issue which allow the holdovers to remain in office.

Grimes Letter to Holder


Anonymous said...

Student jailed indefinitely over alleged anti-Bush remark

15 October, 2009, 12:40

Internet crime is rapidly becoming a major focus for authorities around the world, but the case of an Indian student, ...

continue reading this story at


this is why NO CHANGE:


In other words the corporations run America and they do not give a hoot whether their puppets are in 4 years or ?

Here's HILLARY proving we are now looked at by all the world for what we are and Ms. Grimes is unfortunately one of the most glaring examples of our problems here in the US:

"... American politics, Russia is beginning to understand, is a lot like a professional tennis match: There are only two sides in the game, the top players rarely change, and only a few individuals, mostly corporations, can afford tickets to the contest.

This is the reality of the American political game, and it is a spectacle that Russia, not to mention the American voters, are stuck with every four years: Today the Democrats are the Masters of the Universe, tomorrow it will be the Republicans.

Without a legitimate third party to shake up America's stagnating political scene, it will continue to be politics as usual in the so-called Land of Liberty, and fear and loathing about the true nature of American foreign policy intentions in Russia...."

All the best, Biloxi

Anonymous said...

Consider that Grimes wrote a letter on June 1, 2009, to Eric Holder--Obama's attorney general--and eight days later, she was fired from her job.
end quote
Is there any way to know if Holder handled this matter personally?

legalschnauzer said...

Ah, that's a good question. Don't know the answer now, but I would think that could surface. Are you asking, "Did Holder OK, or push for, Grimes' firing?"

If you are an Obama supporter, or just someone concerned about justice, that's a pretty disturbing question. But doesn't mean it isn't legit.

Anonymous said...

This president has instituted no changes to the disastrous policies of his criminal predecessor. I think the Democrats are in for a rude awakening come the midterm elections next year.

As an independent, formerly Democratic, voter I am in no hurry to vote at all when my choices are Republicans who I KNOW are going to vote against my interests and Democrats who I SUSPECT are really no different than the GOP.

Where is the principled push to get Dawn Johnsen confirmed? Why aren't Obama's people all over the news screaming about the obstructionist tactics of the GOP in keeping his nominees from confirmation?

The president talks a great game but he comes up very short in implementation.

Anonymous said...

Thought this may be of interest from the Pacific Northwest:

Local Corruption In The Courts
And Law Enforcement | By Joel Skousen | World Affairs Brief


Most conservative Americans have traditionally had a great deal of confidence in "states rights" and local law enforcement to protect them from the evils of the federal government. I think that confidence is misplaced and naive. Except for a brief time at the founding of the constitution, when some very principled country lawyers rose to the top of state governments, notably in Virginia, states have been just as corrupt as federal officials. State governments, in fact, were the first to be corrupted, and it reached a peak during the days of the old West in the 1840-60s when newly formed state governments in Nevada and California, for example, were literally bought and controlled by mining and railroad interests. Historically, the fact that states were not bound by the bill of rights produced egregious laws ranging from business and church-state monopolies to state sponsored segregation; and even the infamous extermination order against the persecuted Mormons by a Missouri governor. Political corruption was always rampant in the major cities of Boston, New York, and Chicago. Now, corruption, pay-offs and granting exceptions to the rule of law to friends and cronies is more sophisticated and hidden, but it's still there. This week I'll concentrate on court corruption in California and Oregon, and law enforcement corruption in South Carolina--they are symptomatic of cases that happen all the time in other states as well, so learn to see and recognize the pattern. No state is exempt.


In his blockbuster account of police and court corruption "Don't Get Arrested in South Carolina" author J. B. Simms writes, "In the early morning hours of Saturday, September 30, 2000, a beloved middle aged Jewish dentist was struck from behind and killed while riding his bicycle. The investigation into the death of Dr. Harry Sunshine would expose the corrupt underbelly of criminal prosecution in the heart of South Carolina, and the corrupt acts of the three largest police agencies in the state who assisted the prosecutor." Indeed, and it would read like a real-life Perry Mason thriller, except that Mason's ever-present private investigator Paul Drake would have to be the hero of the story because, tragically, not a single attorney of Mason's caliber could be found in Columbia that had the moral honesty to stand up to the pressure that would be brought to bear on anyone assisting investigator Jim Simms in his fight to save an innocent black man from being framed by the police.

continue reading ...

AND although the story about Oregon which is where I have sued USBancorp., is somewhat ultra-conservative with regards to the story of Bill Sizemore (whom I have personally met) ...

.... Bill is the Republican Siegelman, and thus, "there's not a dimes's worth of difference."


pete said...

Alabama Unemployment Trends - September 2009

Alabama Unemployment Trend Heat Maps:
A map of Alabama Unemployment in September 2009 (BLS data)

versus Alabama Unemployment Levels 1 year ago

disability insurance Canada said...

Hello. Speaking as a foreigner, I think that people are confused and don't know who they should actually believe. Many Obama's opposers are blackening his name, on the other hand, Obama also lost his supporters because of his reforms such as the health care reform which doesn't seem to be economicly friendly even though he claims otherwise.
Take care,