Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why Is Obama Hesitating on a U.S. Attorney Choice in Alabama?

Not long after George W. Bush was "elected" president in 2000, he nominated Leura Canary and Alice Martin for U.S. attorney posts in Alabama.

Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, Alabama's two Republican U.S. senators, quickly signed off on the appointments, and Canary and Martin went on to become two of the most incompetent and corrupt federal prosecutors in modern American history.

That experience indicates that Shelby and Sessions wouldn't know a good U.S. attorney candidate if one fell on them from out of the sky. So why is the Barack Obama administration allowing the two Alabama senators to block the appointment of a U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama? And why is U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) reportedly pushing a candidate who, according to our sources, never should be considered for the post?

Alabama Democrats are getting impatient with the delay. The Middle District is based in Montgomery, which was site of the Don Siegelman political prosecution and could be called Ground Zero for justice-related sleaze during the Bush administration. The U.S. attorney's office in Montgomery desperately needs a tough, competent, independent prosecutor to clean up an enormous mess left by loyal Bushies. But the Obama crowd hardly has distinguished itself with its hesitant efforts to fill a critically important position.

At one time, frontrunners for the position appeared to be Michel Nicrosi from Mobile and Joseph Van Heest from Montgomery. But Sessions came up with some lame excuses for opposing Nicrosi, who we hear is the best in-state candidate for the job. And Shelby apparently is opposed to Van Heest. That means the abominable Leura Canary still is in office, more than a year after Obama was elected. And the folks at mainjustice.com are baffled:

The odd thing about the Van Heest nomination is how deferential the White House is apparently being to Shelby. We know the White House doesn’t want any controversy (ie: no senatorial “blue slips” filed against their nominees.) But in Van Heest, the administration has a guy who’s ready to go – and who would replace one of the bĂȘte noires of the Left. The George W. Bush White House would have just rolled any Democrats who tried to object to their nominees – and they didn’t have a 60-vote supermajority in 2001.

Could the delay cause Obama to wind up with an unqualified prosecutor in Montgomery? Jill Simpson, an Alabama attorney and key whistleblower in the Siegelman case, says the answer is yes.

According to a recent report at Doc's Political Parlor, Artur Davis now is pushing Montgomery lawyer George Beck for the U.S. attorney spot. And Simpson says Beck has no business being anywhere near such a position.

First, Simpson says Beck works at the firm of Capell & Howard, which has strong ties to the Business Council of Alabama and its president Bill Canary (Leura Canary's husband). Says Simpson:

Mr. Beck works at Capell & Howard, a law firm that represents Leura Canary's husband and the Alabama Business Council--and is the office used by Karl Rove when he holds meetings in Alabama.

Also, Beck represented Nick Bailey, the key witness who apparently was coerced into giving false testimony in the Siegelman case. Says Simpson:

Mr. Beck is the gentleman who represented Nick Baily and let him be questioned 70 times and be bullied by Leura Canary's team of lawyers. And George never saw a conflict here even though his firm represents Mr. Canary who was causing (the Siegelman case to be brought).

According to Simpson, Beck has ties to Stephen Glassroth, a lawyer who had his license suspended for his actions and inactions while representing Simpson in a tax matter. Simpson came away unimpressed with Beck, to put it mildly:

George Beck is the gentlemen who went with the lawyer who ran off with $50,000 on my tax case and told tall tales on me this past year to the Alabama bar. He said I was a drug dealer, a member of the "Dixie Mafia," an arsonist, a tax evader, a baby buyer. He said I could have people seriously hurt. And when asked by the Alabama bar to put this in writing, he refused and bailed on Steve Glassroth, who was then suspended from practicing law for what he did to me.

What will happen in the Middle District of Alabama? That remains unclear. But Jill Simpson clearly does not intend to sit quietly by while Artur Davis pushes George Beck for U.S. attorney. She says Joe Turnham, chair of the Alabama Democratic Party, should examine why Davis is pushing a candidate with ties to Bill Canary and Karl Rove.

Is this about Davis' attempts to gain support from business interests in the 2010 campaign for governor? Simpson has some pretty clear thoughts on that, and she is calling on Democrats to help her stop it:

Please call everyone you know to stop this appointment. I will be fighting it daily, 24/7, because I believe Mr Beck is the wrong guy to clean up the Middle District in Montgomery. Also, I am asking all state Democrats to call Joe Turnham and ask him to bring Artur Davis before the State Democratic Executive Committee and ask him to explain how he can support a guy who was key to wrongfully prosecuting Don Siegelman. If Artur Davis is going to support all of Bill Canary and Karl Rove's picks, shouldn't he be running as a Republican?

For far too long, I have held my tongue, but now is the time to speak up. When I first started in the Siegelman matter, Artur Davis spoke up for us. But then one day, Bill Canary started inviting him to events, and next thing you know, Artur was talking about how wonderful Governor Big Bob Riley is.

Well, my suggestion is Artur Davis needs to switch parties and run for governor as a Republican. After all, they are footing his campaign bills to help destroy the Alabama Democratic Party.

The Democrats of Alabama need to wake up and throw Artur Davis out on his behind. Please tell the White House that we know down here in Alabama that Artur Davis is curled up with the Big Republicans and doing what they ask.

Help me with my campaign to stop Artur Davis from getting George Beck appointed for Bill Canary. The citizens of Alabama deserve a good U.S. attorney. And trust me, George Beck will not be a good U.S. attorney for Alabama. Also, send a message to Artur Davis that we know who is funding him.

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