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So who is going to be in charge of the Abramoff prosecution?
A Bush recess appointment that couldn't get confirmed because she wouldn't testify about what she knew about torture at Guantamo.

Here is what Senator Leahy has to say about Ms. Fisher

There have been reports that she has had ties to Congressman Tom DeLay's defense team. We will also want to know what steps she intends to take to avoid a conflict of interest in the Department's investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and possibly Mr. DeLay. I would like to know her priorities for the Criminal Division. I will be interested in her plans with respect to the growing problem of computer crime and identity theft, the responses to the Supreme Court's recent sentencing decision, and prosecution of intellectual property theft. .

There's more

Alice Fishser has never worked as a prosecutor. She worked as a litigation associate in the Washington office of New York-based Sullivan & Cromwell. Where she represented corporate scum.

So how is she qualified for the job?

Fisher first worked with Chertoff in 1995, when he hired her as deputy special counsel to the Senate Whitewater investigation. Following her work in Whitewater, Fisher moved into the Washington office of Latham & Watkins in 1996.

In 2001, Michael Chertoff -- now secretary of Homeland Security -- picked Fisher to serve as his deputy assistant attorney general in DOJ's Criminal Division. Fisher also worked with Chertoff at Latham & Watkins.

And what did she do while she was there?

Well it seems she was critical of torture.

Mr. Chertoff said at his confirmation hearing that he did not engage in detailed discussions of interrogation policies and never offered specific advice when he headed the criminal division at the Justice Department from 2001 to 2003, when he left the department to take an appointment to a federal appeals court.

But the newly released version of the memorandum identified for the first time four of Mr. Chertoff's top deputies who, according to the document, attended weekly meetings with F.B.I. officials in which the military's interrogation methods were frequently discussed and criticized as ineffective and unproductive.

The four Chertoff aides, whose names were edited from the previous version of the memorandum, were identified in the newly released version as Alice Fisher, David Nahmias, Laura Parsky and Bruce Swartz.

Leahy letter

This pdf.  contains her senate testimony and a list of who's who of the corporate scum she represented, including guess who HCA ( Bill Frist insider trading ).

There is also a wonderful talk around the torture issue. Which is why she never got confirmed. And her Bush campaign cridentials are undisputable.  But there is more to the story.

Here is Senator Leahy's entire statement about Ms. Fisher

I am somewhat concerned, however, that Ms. Fisher is nominated for one of the most visible prosecutorial positions in the country without ever having prosecuted a case, and she brings to the position minimal trial experience in any context. In contrast, previous Criminal Division AAG's such as Mike Chertoff, James Robinson, and William Weld were seasoned federal prosecutors prior to taking this job.

I hope that this hearing will illuminate Ms. Fisher's views on checks of controversial provisions of the Patriot Act and her opposition to the Act's sunset provision; her participation in meetings in which the FBI expressed its disagreement with harsh interrogation methods practiced by the military toward detainees held at Guantanamo, and her ideas about appropriate safeguards for the treatment of enemy combatants.

There have been reports that she has had ties to Congressman Tom DeLay's defense team. We will also want to know what steps she intends to take to avoid a conflict of interest in the Department's investigation of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and possibly Mr. DeLay. I would like to know her priorities for the Criminal Division. I will be interested in her plans with respect to the growing problem of computer crime and identity theft, the responses to the Supreme Court's recent sentencing decision, and prosecution of intellectual property theft. .

In the middle of the Katrina disaster Bush made yet another [recess appointment http://talkleft.com/new_archives/012101.html] that of Alice Fisher.

So we have yet another unqualified political hack heading up the biggest scandal to hit Washington perhaps ever. Have Leahy's questions been answered? Have his fears been allieviated? Will there be justice at Justice? Or are we just going to get more of the same bullshit?

So how do we demand that she remove herself from the Abramoff case and we the people get a real prosecutor?

Update I posted this late last night and just started to read through the comments. I would agree that the lead prosecutor is doing an excellent job. However, If you think that the lead prosecutor is making the big decissions on how this plays out you have been living in never never land. Watching "Law and Order" should be enough to tell you that much. Watching how this administration has been functioning over the last five years should be more than enough to prove they don't let the law stand in their way. So before you minmize the importance of this information I suggest you wait and see how many other indictments are issued. My guess is very few.

Update: They are talking about this on the Majority Reporrt right now!!!!

Originally posted to Tanya on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 10:43 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Recommend! This is important (4.00)
    Who's going to be able to put away the foxes guarding the hen house when the AG's office is infillitrated with foxes?

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 10:44:13 PM PST

  •  I am no lawyer... (none)
    If a democratic judge in texas could prosecute a republican congressman, I see precedence for removing her.
    •  Hold on a minute (3.95)
      Alice Fisher is the head of the Criminal Division, but she is NOT the prosecutor in this case.  The hands-on prosecutor is Mary K. Butler.  Alice Fisher just shows up for press conferences.

      You may find this hard to believe, but Fisher will have little to do with this. Her name is not even on the plea agreement. Butler's is. She'a a career DOJ trial attorney, first joining the US Attorney's office in 1987. She has worked on public corruption since that time. Take a look at the plea agreement.  It's a pretty stiff deal.  And if Jack doesn't sing the proper tune 24/7, he is REALLY screwed because he has pled.  His sentencing will be deferred until he is no longer useful.

      It is clear from the plea agreement that some debriefing has already occurred.  My experience with US Attorneys and career DOJ attorneys is that they are professional and courteous (since they hold all the cards, you can see why).

      So before we go off screaming for Fisher, be advised that she does mostly paperwork and administration.  Oh, and press conferences.  Can't let the boss miss one of those.

      We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

      by Mary Julia on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 11:45:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agree, but (4.00)
        all that having been said, Fisher damned well better keep her hands off each and every aspect of this case, and all related cases.

        Which means, as an attorney, she needs to avoid the appearance of impropriety or her bar card may be forfeit.

        How best to accomplish this complete separation from all aspects of these cases ?

        Glad you asked. SHE SHOULD QUIT HER JOB !!!

        Let's get some Democracy for America

        by murphy on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 11:52:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  need context (none)
        that's good news, I hope you are right.  

        However, if what you're saying is true, why would Leahy make all this fuss?

        Also, I read the plea agreement, too, and perhaps you can give us some more context.  Definitely, there seemed to be a lot of stern language in there about Abramoff cooperating -- but honestly, it seemed like boilerplate to me.  Why is he pleading guilty only to single counts of his various offenses, when we know that he has done much more than that?  is having just one charge per type of crime typical in this kind of arrangement?

        •  The Leahy statement... (4.00)
          ...was issued on May 12, 2005, at the time of Fisher's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Leahy is the ranking Democrat.  His fuss is not Abramoff indictment-specific.

          He is pleading to only single counts because that's what you do in a plea "agreement," the federal term for what most of us call a plea "bargain."  You provide assistance to the prosecution and don't make the prosecution go to the burden of proving its case in open court, and in return, you get to plead guilty to charges that are reduced from those you would have faced if you'd gone to trial.

          As to the independence of career prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia,  I'm not overly concerned.  What I do worry about is the potential for reversal of their decisions by their higher-ups in the Criminal Division.  I've worked with the AUSAs in D.C. many times, and I've found each to be zealous, committed professionals.

          The good news is that U.S. Attorney's Offices have a great deal of independent authority.  The U.S. Attorney him/herself serves at the pleasure of the AG, but the career prosecutors in the office have latitude.

          However, the U.S. Attorney does indeed make policy decisions which his underlings have to carry out (I say "his" because the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia is Kenneth Wainstein).  Some of these are unpopular.

          As to whether Wainstein himself would be susceptible to political pressure from Gonzales, I don't know.  He's the former general counsel of the FBI under Mueller and former director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys.  He clerked for Thomas Penfield Jackson, former judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia most noted for deciding the Microsoft case.  Jackson himself was a Reagan appointee but actually ordered the breakup of Microsoft.

          From his background, Wainstein doesn't seem like the political sort.  He seems more the career prosecutor sort.  Whether Gonzales, et al., could get to him or not, I don't know.

          What I do know is that Leahy and Co. will be keeping the pressure on in the Judiciary Committee.  It was Leahy, Durbin, and Schumer who made Ashcroft recuse himself in the Plame/Wilson matter and forced the appointment of Patrick Fitzgerald.  I have no doubt that they will be following this matter closely and that if any hijinks come to their attention, they will raise a similar stink.

          The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

          by DC Pol Sci on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:01:44 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  We'd all be glad if that was the case... (4.00)
        But remember that even though 6 attorneys at DOJ said that the redistricting DeLay was engineering was wrong a political crony of bush, who was their boss, overrode them.
        •  And the tobacco settlement was reduced (4.00)
          from $130 billion to $10 billion at the 11th hour, by orders from the political appointees, not the career prosecutors. I don't trust Abu's 'DoJ'.

          The War on Terror is terrorism

          by Halcyon on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:04:02 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This was the Civil Rights Division... (none)
          ...not a U.S. Attorney's office.

          The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

          by DC Pol Sci on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:03:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Its a pattern.... (none)
            Good people at DOJ do their job properly, then a political crony overrides them and issues a decision.
            •  its (none)
              the pattern w/bushco.  if the career "civil service" type employees won't play ball they're removed from the loop or removed altogether.  

              personally, i don't take anything for granted.  the one optimystic note i hear is that there are now some questions being asked about the fiddling around with the prosecutors office in guam, so everybody touching the current abramoff/gopergate litigation will probably act with some circumspection and will think a few times before ratfucking the investigatory/prosecutorial process.  but we'll have to watch like hell.

              we'll stand him up against a wall and pop goes the weasel /rufus t. firefly

              by 2nd balcony on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 12:38:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  Mary K Butler (4.00)
        This is who Mary K. Butler is...

        Butler practiced law in Chicago before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida in 1987, where she prosecuted white-collar crime and public corruption. She was part of the independent counsel's office, which investigated former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. She joined the Public Integrity section six years ago and has been considered for supervisory positions but apparently was not selected.

        Butler reports to Noel Hillman, section chief, whom President Bush nominated to a federal judgeship last week. Hillman, an avid surfer and Bruce Springsteen fan, was an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey before coming to Washington.

        He led the Campaign Finance Task Force, which investigated contributions made by foreign donors to the Democratic Party in the 1996 election, and investigated Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.), who resigned from the Senate in 2002 because of allegations he accepted illegal campaign donations and gifts.

        http://www.hillnews.com/...

        I know that that isn't much, but hopefully we can find out more about her. What I don't like is the fact that she reports to Hillman,(That's right, another BushCo appointee), who reports to Fisher, who reports to Gonzoles, who Reports to Bush. Face it guys, no matter what you do, there is ALWAYS some close association to BushCo to run interferrence at every turn. BushCo has been in power with no oversight for five years now and they have been extremely thorough in their destruction of any barriers to their nefarious objectives.....
        It truly is the fox guarding the hen house....
        But then again, what did we expect out of this bunch?

      •  Well done and correct (4.00)
        The work at DOJ is being done by good career people.

        And just so people really get the gist of the plea agreement, the key is 10 years, either way.  Why?  Because a sentence of 120 months or more means the person is NEVER, even with only a little time left, eligible for minimum security "country club" time.  In other words, play nice, or you spend every minute of your time with the bad guys.  That is the hammer (pun intended) still hanging over Abramoff.

        •  Interesting (4.00)
          But the Boston Globe is reporting in this morning's paper that Abramoff's exposure may only be 9.5 years. Does that mean he might still get country club?

          Abramoff, 46, faces up to 30 years in jail for the Washington-based charges, but prosecutors said that could be cut to 9 1/2 years under sentencing guidelines, with a possible further reduction for cooperating with the government in cases against others. He is expected to pay $25 million in fines to his victims and $1.7 million in evaded federal taxes. Prison time from his Miami charges could be served concurrently with his Washington-based charges, a Justice official said.
          •  Once again (4.00)
            let's get the facts straight:  Justice has agreed to recommend a sentence of between 9.5 and 11.5 years, which was originally reported as a straight ten years.  The federal judge, Ellen Segal Huvelle (who I have been in front of on numerous occasions, and is no pushover), IS NOT BOUND BY THE DOJ RECOMMENDATION.  She can sentence Abramoff to anything up to and including the maximum possible sentence, which in this case is 30 years.  Huvelle made this clear to Abramoff repeatedly during the plea hearing (see the Post article of this morning).

            And as to "country club," a sentence of 9-11 years will not get you a minimum security facility.

            I don't have no use for what you loosely call the truth -- Tina Turner

            by jsmdlawyer on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 06:11:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks for the clarification n/t (none)
            •  And once again... (4.00)
              ...to contradict jsmd, whom I greatly respect, but to end up emphasizing his point further, there's also the carrot in the plea agreement of what's called a 5K motion.  If Abramoff provides sufficent help to the Government (read that as strings up enough Congressmen), he's eligible to be considered for what's called a "downward departure," i.e., a further reduction of sentence.  This is not automatic.  Only the Government can move for such a downward departure.  He has every personal incentive to cooperate.

              I fully endorse jsmd's comment that Huvelle is no pushover.  I've worked for her on numerous occasions and indeed have quite a good rapport with Her Honor.  She is, by the way, a Clinton appointee.

              The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

              by DC Pol Sci on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:08:11 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, but (none)
                do you honestly think that Justice will make a 5K motion in this case, absent some compelling testimony from Abramoff that DOJ doesn't already know about?  And even then, they could claim that he was holding out in the first instance and therefore doesn't warrant the 5K.  Like you say, it's ENTIRELY up to them, and there's no way to force them to file it.

                In my (admittedly limited, compared to some) federal experience, 5K motions are almost never filed in a case like this one.  They are usually reserved for drug kingpin or RICO cases, where a low-level stooge rats out five or six or a dozen higher-level guys in the gang.  Absent the help, the feds wouldn't have gotten the higher guys.

                In this case, Abramoff IS the kingpin.  From the publicity point of view (and the partisan, of course), getting Ney and other Republican congressmen is the big enchilada, but from the legal perspective, Abramoff ran the show, dispensing cash for favors and favors for cash.

                My guess is that he's looking at 10-15 years, assuming stupendous cooperation, and the sky's the limit if he doesn't fully play ball.  Don't forget, Huvelle can consider unconvicted, dismissed and even uncharged crimes in fashioning a sentence.  As Abramoff testifies, if he testifies fully, he will implicate himself in Lord alone knows how many different crimes.  And if he doesn't?  Then he's not cooperating, and the deal's off.  Either way, he's fucked.

                Sucks to be Jack Abramoff, huh?  Heh.

                I don't have no use for what you loosely call the truth -- Tina Turner

                by jsmdlawyer on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:52:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  jsmd, (none)
                  I don't know if cumulative effect can be considered a legal doctrine but I used it once in a case I was involved with as an expert witness.

                  Abramoff played the game but the game was only possible by the cummulative effect of those in congress who sell their votes.  That is their sideline illegal business.  They are in fact the godfathers and capos of the congress.  

                  This is not unlike protection rackets where organized crime gets paid off very well for making things happen.  Organized crime can stop your trucks from making deliveries and congressmen can stop legislation or put forward legislation that will allow you to operate sucessfully.

                •  Yeah, it sucks to be Jack... (none)
                  ...but if he moves half the Republican leadership from the House to the Big House, I think he's got a shot at a 5K.  As I'm sure you know, these things are decided by a committee at the USAO.  The committee has to be convinced that his cooperation has been really, really significant.  They don't give 5Ks for garden variety cooperation.

                  Abramoff is a kingpin in one sense, but he's small fry compared to Tom DeLay et al.

                  You're probably right that, in the end, he won't get the 5K.  Ellen Segal Huvelle, however, has never been known down at Third and Constitution as one of the "throw the book at them" judges.  My bet is the 9 to 11 year range holds.

                  The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

                  by DC Pol Sci on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:49:59 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  I've heard that.... (none)
              ....the days of "Club Fed" are largely over.
            •  That's just a brilliant way to get cooperation (none)
              Be nice, you get to walk on grass and conduct your business.  Be difficult, you have to align yourself with someone to stay alive.
            •  It's been a while (none)
              since I did criminal law, but the rule used to be a sentence of 119 months or less permitted eventual Club Fed time, even if only for the last part of the sentence.  However, a sentence of 120 months or more required that NONE of the time, not even the last week, month, or year, be there.  That's the distinction- not the entire time of the sentence, but ANY part of it, is barred with a sentence > 10 years.  Has that changed?  I do not believe so, but am certainly prepared to be wrong.  In this case, the plea sure seems built around a very narrow range of time, a range of time that will tip Abramoff under or over that magic 119 month sentence.
      •  Sorry, not buying the 'Butler's in charge' spin (none)
        of your comment.

        Everyone except supposedly Head Prosecutor Mary K. Butler appeared at "Smirking" Alice S. Fisher's Justice Dept Abramoff plea 20 minute news conference yesterday, 01/03/06.

        To me, that speaks volumes that either:

        • Head Prosecutor Mary Butler is getting squeezed out of case by the Bushie-planted Alice Fisher, or
        • Head Prosecutor Mary Butler wants absolutely nothing to do with this strange Abramoff plea agreement deal.

        Watch the C-SPAN video of Fisher dog and pony show, and judge for yourself. (She's no Fitzgerald, although she is trying to sound like one).
        •  Minute 7-8 of video (none)
          Smirking Alice does not even mention or acknowledge supposedly Head Investigator/Prosecutor Mary Butler's efforts, during Alice's "and I would like to thank...." portion of her Ambramoff press dog-and-pony press conference.

          This is a classic Bushco limited hangout coverup, imo, and Mary Butler probably does not want her name associated in any way with it, in contradistinction  to the apparent thrust of Mary Julia's comment above.

        •  D00d, (none)
          I don't think they can really get away with it to the point others won't, or can't, speak up and try to fight back,make their voices heard.

          We aren't speaking of just Abramoff, we are speaking of the whole country.

          BUshco, mikey, made alot of enemies themselves, don't forget.

      •  If you think that the lead prosecutor (none)
        is making the big decissions on how this plays out you have been living in never never land. Watching "Law and Order" should be enough to tell you that much.

        So before you minmize the importance of this information I suggest you wait and see how many other indictments are issued.

        To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

        by Tanya on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 11:57:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  But you don't want to minimize the importance (none)
          of this case.

          So much is at stake here, the very future of the United States.

          We have to fight for the right to live peacefully, andd free.

          We aren't in Kansas, any more Toto-Wizard of Oz

          All we are is dust in the wind Kansas

          Fart Blazzing Saddles

        •  I'm not in never never land (none)
          I based my comment on my experience with AUSA's and DOJ attorneys I know. I am a criminal lawyer with quite an extensive background in federal criminal law.

          Butler has managed to get Abramoff to plead.  Usually, before a DOJ attorney will be willing to even consider a plea, the defendant is debriefed before hand.  I imagine that Abramoff has already demonstrated that he will be valuable to the Government, and in all likelihood, he will be testifying against the big fish that Butler will catch.

          If Fisher was trying to protect the big fish, why have Abramoff plead? Why not ignore the whole thing?

          It is standard prosecutor's 101 to turn the guy with the most info, and use him against the big fish.  Undoubtedly, Abramoff will cooperate. Moreover, I have always told clients before a debriefing not to lie to the Government for two reasons - it is a crime to lie to federal law enforcement, and also because the Government usually knows more than the defendant thinks they do.

          Fisher can't meddle in the case because any DOJ attorney worth his or her salt will resign.  Secondly, this is just too big a "media case" - any meddling will eventually make its way to the media.

          My experience with plea agreements and 5K motions is that if your client comes through for the government, he or she will gain the benefits of the agreement. One thing that prosecutors do is, if your guy comes through, they hold up their end of the bargain.  The last thing any prosecutor wants is a reputation in the defense community (and with the judges)for not keeping their word.  The ONLY way to tag everyone is getting someone like Abramoff to roll.

          We have no evidence that Fisher is meddling in the case. It is common to have the top boss at your press conference (the trial prosecutors line up behind her). So, until something weird happens, I think we should give DOJ a break.

          We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

          by Mary Julia on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 02:24:53 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  As long as we're dealing with (none)
        Abramoff, we may as well scream to the DOJ to cover and expose Jack's work with ILLEGAL FOREIGN INFLUENCE, and the now-gagged testimony of Sibel Edmonds. It is likely Fisher's job to steer the DOJ's inquiries away from the bigger crimes that lead to the White House, and to keep the gag order on Edmonds.
        •  SOmetimes, mikey, you have to fight for (none)
          the right thing.

          Interesting, how something is legal when it's important to Bush, but illegal when it catches up to him.

          Like foreign intelligence intercepts being used to spy domestically, say.

          I don't know why this White House thought they could get away with harming others, turning America from Bedford Falls to Pottersville.

          get that, mikey?

  •  Gear up the noise machine (4.00)
    Special prosecutor! Special prosecutor!
    •  I agree but who do we call (4.00)

      To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

      by Tanya on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 10:51:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  pssst (none)
        Diary Police Facsimile here.

        Not to alarm you, but gremlins have been spotted cavorting in and amongst the verbiage of your diary. Reports from highly placed, confidential sources state that letters have been stolen and others have been added to various words. You might want to run a visual inspection and verify the veracity of this information.

        Remember. Tell no one of this conversation.

        Bush - the ultimate example of the Peter Principle.

        by PatsBard on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 11:04:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Who (none)
        Sits on the "Judicial Ethics Committee"? That is the course for recusal of Justice Department appointees to individual cases. This looks to me the only chance to get another non-biased prosecutor. Who is it that complains to this committee? Is it Senators? Congressmen? or is it just another one of those famous "Checks and Balances" that are non existant in our current government whereby the Attorny General has to request that the judicial ethics committee looks at it?...

        This is truly a bag'O' BS.

        •  Durbin and Schumer. (none)
          They're the ones primarily responsible for the appointment of a special prosecutor in the Plame matter.

          The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

          by DC Pol Sci on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:09:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And when I say Durbin and Schumer... (none)
            I don't mean they sit on the Judicial Ethics Committee.  They sit, of course, on the Senate Judiciary Committee.  I mean that they led the charge to get Ashcroft recused, and they may be the ones to lead the charge to get the Judicial Ethics Committee to act.

            The last time people listened to a talking bush, they wandered 40 years in the desert.

            by DC Pol Sci on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:52:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  It does get confusing, doesn't it (none)
              like it makes your head go whooooo....

              As in John Yoo, sorry.

              This whole mess, I hope they can get a clean and truely patriotic judiciary to finally put these assholes away.

              About time we finally get back to living our lives again, as opposed to fighting our own government.

              Damn.

              A bunch of two penny thugs with all the toys at their disposal.

      •  Silence is golden, mikey (none)
        Did you like that song?

        White House crime patrol....

    •  And the special prosecutor... (none)
      ...is investigating, who, exactly?

      Unless and until Abramoff implicates someone in the EXECUTIVE branch, it's a no go.

      The "special prosecutor" law was enacted to investigate members of the executive branch so that there was no conflict of interest between the Department of Justice and the executive.

      Didn't say anything about a special prosecutor investigating members of Congress.

      If Abramoff can get administrative officials, great.  Call for your special prosecutor.

      But if this concentrated with Congress, the appropriate place for it is with the DOJ attorneys.

      The world is made for those who are not cursed with self-awareness. -- Annie Savoy, from "Bull Durham" Yeah, and George W. Bush is living proof.

      by wmtriallawyer on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:40:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Google "Bush Abramoff Guam" (none)
        Evidence of questionable meddling by the Exec in the Abramoff-Guam case, e.g., "politically convenient" replacement of prosecutor. Josh Marshall in particular has investigated this in TPM.

        Now, planting of an obvious with no prosecutorial experience crony who would never pass muster in Congress through recess appointment.

        Pattern?

        •  Sorry (none)
          but demotion of an acting U.S. attorney in Guam does NOT rise to the level of independent counsel.

          U.S. Attorneys are appointed by the President and serve at the pleasure of the President.  So, for better or worse, Bush was within his rights as President to demote Black, whatever his motivations.

          The independent counsel law requires that "the Attorney General receives information sufficient to constitute grounds to investigate whether any person described in subsection (b) may have violated any Federal criminal law other than a violation classified as a Class B or C misdemeanor or an infraction."

          The persons in "subsection (b)" referenced above include the President.

          Moreover, you are making a very big leap and assumption that Fisher was placed at Justice SOLELY to tank the Abramhoff case (of which, so far, no evidence exists that they are actually tanking it...)

          The world is made for those who are not cursed with self-awareness. -- Annie Savoy, from "Bull Durham" Yeah, and George W. Bush is living proof.

          by wmtriallawyer on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:45:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Clarification (none)
            I am not personally putting forward the suggestion that there may have been actual obstruction in justice involved in the Guam case, just passing it along. As I said, google it or go to TPM and  check it out. Seems that a special prosecutor is needed to look into this, because the administration sure isn't going to go there unless it is forced to.

            Also, I am not claiming that cronyism is about putting a particult person in a position in order to influence a particular situation. Cronyism is about putting someone who is in your pocket in a position of power, especially one for which they are not qualified, with the intention of using influence over them directly  or presuming on their loyalty to affect the outcome of possible future matters of law or governing. This is improper and unethical conduct at minimum, and the noise machine should be letting everyone know about it, even though it may not rise to a legally culpable offense.

            •  I understand your claim. (none)
              But my point is that in order to get a IC you need evidence a possible crime.  And evidence of a possible crime committed by the member of the executive.

              In the Guam scenario, I've read and heard a lot of blaring about obstruction of justice, but nothing to indicate that actual obstruction occurred.

              I think we can all agree that the hiring or firing of an individual for a given job is not prima facie evidence of obstruction of justice.  Particularly when it's within the rights of the President to hire and fire who he wants for said job.

              Reading the stuff on TPM and on Google does not convince me that an IC is warranted.  

              Politically motivated? Sure.

              A felony? Not likely.

              The world is made for those who are not cursed with self-awareness. -- Annie Savoy, from "Bull Durham" Yeah, and George W. Bush is living proof.

              by wmtriallawyer on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 10:01:24 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I see your point but (none)
                The replacement of the prosecutor apparently wasn't just a routine matter but occurred concurrent with an investigation into a deal involving Abramoff et al in a manner which suggests possible undue influence of the Executive in a manner involving an investigation into corruption, which meets the test of obstruction of justice. If this were not part of a pattern (conspiracy) relating not merely to a "few bad apples," but the culture of corruption that characterizes the GOP way of operating under this Administration and Congress, it might be dismissed as irrelevant or peripheral. But what we are seeing here is the unwinding of the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" right before our eyes and Bushco is into it up to there ears, not only the Repug congress folks that are in K Street's pocket.
      •  The Interior Department connection would be (none)
        ...an "executive branch tie-in" would it not?

        I have a particular interest in this of several years' standing but have been following the havoc in the National Park Service primarily, not DoI as a whole. Several matters suggest that DoI has been used as a front for money-shuffling in the past:

        (1) The lawsuit over the Indian mineral & ranching royalties case (presided over by Judge Royce Kennedy, who in yet another bizarre twist turns out to be on the FISA court as well right now) has been in progress for going on ten years, and has had Interior secretaries back to Bruck Babbitt threatened with jail for refusal/claimed inability to produce records of amounts paid and owed. The amounts involved are well into the billions ($b) that can't be accounted for, which gives a lot of leeway for slush to slosh from here to there untracked.

        (2) Funding for the torture interrogation center at Fort Huachua was routed through DoI, which co-owns it as a historic site, to keep it off the Army budget when people went looking.

        (3) At least for NPS the BushCo administration has been touting big budget increases every year, but somehow the amounts available for every single park have gone down every year. Expenses have gone up for things like making employees spend time filling out exhausing forms to see if their own jobs should be outsourced to "private contractors." Grass does not get cut and bathrooms don't get cleaned when people are spending their time this way.

        Sorry this is lengthy and seemingly unrelated to the topic, but if the objective is to justify a special prosecutor because of executive-branch involvement in misdeeds, there seems to be plenty of grounds for such an action via Interior.

        Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?

        by Xan on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:33:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Ok, this is troubling (4.00)
    It seems most of the top jobs in the federal government are now headed by political appointees.

    She along with Alberto Gonzalez have to recuse themselves.

  •  Man you gotta eat your Wheaties (4.00)
    because on some days this shit is overwhelming. BushCo is like a landfill. There may be green grass on top but them birds ain't circling for nothing. [Recommended]

    Blah, blah, blah. Pretend that was something profound and that I said it.

    by niteskolar on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 10:59:01 PM PST

    •  Man, it's like birdshit, isn't it (none)
      You almost don't want to take it seriously, not give it the real attention it deserves.

      Whay do you think that is?

      To keep people focused away from the truth, and make them feel worn-out and unfocused on Rove's and Bush's crimes?

      Mike and Ike's

  •  what to do about it, though? (none)
    could she be pressured to recuse herself?
    •  Maybe but we have to get the press and the (4.00)
      politicians screaming about it.

      To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

      by Tanya on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 11:03:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have to get the screaming about something, (none)
        that's for sure, but it is difficult to face down the mafia.

        It takes courage.

        That's why were not all Patrick Fitzgerald, I suppose.

        I wonder how Libby is doing, wondering about his future, in prison?

        I hope they can't get to the judges in the case, or anything else.

        Sure would be horrible if they tried to intimidate the court, as in Karl will take care of this...

        Because I don't think he'll be able to help Scooter this time, as he has own problems to worry about, big time.

  •  Everybody does it. (4.00)
    Haven't you heard...

    Abramoff is a Democrat.

    A Liberal Democrat.

    "I am not a crook" - The Honorable Richard M. Nixon

    by tricky dick on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 11:01:01 PM PST

  •  Time for another Special Counsel (4.00)
    Since Bush has taken funds from Abranoff and there is a discussion about staff and possibly officials from the Whitehouse being recipients of improper gifts and gratuities, the Justice Department Bush appointed prosecutors need to recuse themselves.
    •  Sometimes I pretend things are normal again (none)
      and we don't have to deal with this mafia in the White House.

      Remember when Clinton was President, how you could sleep every night knowing the country would be safe in the morning.

      It was nice to have a sane President, wasn't it, who behaved responsibly, upholding and respecting the law, as opposed to abusing it.

      Good heavens, we are in a predicament.

      :)

  •  Ok, this is starting to make sense (4.00)
    Today Scott McClellan distances the WH from Abramoff. Virtually every GOP politician he contributed money to is returning the check. Conrad Burns says he wishes Abramoff was never born. Bob Ney claims there was no way he could have known what Abramoff was up to. Tonight Matthews called him "satan" on Hardball, and virtually every guest joined in heaping scorn on him. And now this.

    It appears that a high-level decision has been made to contain the potential damage that Abramoff could do to the right by distancing them from him on the one hand, while putting a loyalist in charge of his "prosecution" on the other (the way Jack Ruby was tasked with taking care of Oswald?). Yet another example of how BushCo does business.

    Chilling. Scary. Unacceptable.

    •  ney had no idea what Abramoff was up to? (4.00)
      Sure.  Here are the Ney's two comments relating to SunCruz.

      Congressional Record March 30, 2000 - Ney rags on SunCruz's then owner, Gus Boulis, saying that he runs a crooked casino.

      Congressional Record October 26, 2000 - Ney heaps praise on SunCruz's new owner, Adam Kidan, who pled guilty in mid-December.

      And here's the indictment for the murder of Gus Boulis in February 2001.

      Rep. Ney was unaware of what Abramoff was doing?!  Right.  It's the Howdy Doody defense.  He was unaware that someone's hand was up his ass, making him say things.

      •  I object! (none)
        Howdy had no-one's hand up his ass, he was a marionette. Someone was pulling his strings, in other words.

        But if you'd like to discuss the Jerry Mahoney defense, then I'm your woman.

        -8.25,-8.36 As long as I count the votes, what are you going to do about it? - William Marcy Tweed

        by sidnora on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:41:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think he's beginning to understand the (none)
      game is over, and there is no where left to run.

      At a certain point, the old gurad will simply not put up with this, and will use anything at their disposal to bring things back into line...

      What could they have been thinking, to do the things they did?

      Hmmmm....it's as if Hitler has taken over the White House..

      It's my impression sometimes he doesn't understand that his power isn't invincable, and he can't be brought down.

      Well, everyone needs to keep working at it, making sure they are held fully accountable for their crimes.

  •  Agreed... Special Counsel! (4.00)
    This goes up there with... Hmmmmmm. let me see:

    1. Appointing a Commissioner from an Arabian Horse Association to head the nations principle dissaster relief organization.

    2. Appointing a gay male prostitute to the Washington White House press corp.

    3.Letting Ken Lay appoint his own FERC regulators.

    4. Trying to appoint Harriet Meyers to the Supreme Court.

    At least he didn't try to appoint Babs "you darkies never had it so good" Bush or his dog to the Supreme court.

    Geeze there so many to choose from yet...

    •  Oh man! (none)
      "you darkies never had it so good"

      Ya know, when she was talking about the people in the Astrodome, what she said and her attitude toward them was obviously way, way wrong.

      But ya kinda wondered "what the hell is the thinking"?!

      Thinking......

      I think you nailed it exactly.

    •  What is with those Arabian horses? (4.00)
      Late to this thread (can't sleep), but this reminds me of a particularly bad case the lawyer I worked for handled in the S&L loan scandal.

      Several WIVES of partners in our law firm ended up in this scandal and my attorney had the great pleasure of serving the wives of these senior partners.  All of our partners were major republican donors and bigwigs in local politics.  The crime that got them in trouble was they had obtained loans - very large loans - based on certain Arabian horses they had purchased.  They valued these horses at between $100,000 and $500,000 a piece.  (maybe this arabian horse business is another Abramoff slush fund and they knew Brownie up close and personal)

      One of my jobs was to evaluate the real value of these horses.  Three experts all concluded their value did not exceed $5,000 per horse.  The wives were sued.  We had one of those supposed "chinese walls" between us and the partners.  Yea, that certainly worked.  The case pleaded out and the horses went back from wence they came.  And wives were looking quite pleased at the next Christmas dinner.

      sorry.  OT

      •  If you judged the value (none)
        of these horses, you know the tremendous bubble in value the Arabians enjoyed in the 80's.  As no surprise, there was a lot of speculation. Prices have leveled off now.
        Even so, $5,000 is a pretty low price for an Arab of good pedigree, conformation and temprament.
        I love this breed and hope no one will denigrate the Arabian horse. Because of their history, beauty and versatility, I think they are priceless.
        Not that you were.  
        •  $5,000 is low for 'good' arabians, (4.00)
          but these were grade horses out of local stock.  And some fakey paperwork to boot.  This loan amounted to some people went to their local bank run by some 'political buddies' who then handed over the cash for their pet horses.  All in all, these women walked away with well over $2 millin.  Good horses, but not the quality Arabian horses you talk about and are known internationally.  It was just a scam.  Like fake diamonds.

          When the Savings & Loan scandal broke, all collateral was called in to mitigate the loan.  Oops.  Lots of overvalued 'cabins', horses, property, etc.  The bank was being used as a cash machine for a certain group of people, much like the charities and fake no-bid contracts are used now by Abramoff and DeLay and others now.

          Those that were fixing the correct price for the horses, and in the Arabian breeding business themselves, were A N G R Y that these people were getting away with this.  The women lost their pet horses but were not asked to return any money.  The blame was layed at the lender, not the women faking the value of the horses.  This was a very cozy relationship between these wives and the man at the bank doing the lending.  Their were political allies.  

  •  Shriek and howl time (4.00)
    I've gotta write and call and let the usual suspects know this isn't kosher. We all need to.  This is absolutely wrong and an insult to justice.      

    War is not an adventure. It is a disease. It is like typhus. - Antoine De Saint-Exupery

    by Margot on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 11:45:46 PM PST

  •  Is it just something about titles? (4.00)
    How is it I didn't make it when I had the same type of diary as you do? I think that is is odd how it works out like that but to me it doesn't matter. I'm actually going to bed soon so maybe someone here can answer a few questions for me in mine http://www.dailykos.com/...
    at the very bottom I started to see this pop up

    http://www.usdoj.gov/...


    Moschella then e-mailed Edward Whelan, the Acting Assistant Attorney General in the Department's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). Moschella copied Deputy Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher and Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, both of the Criminal Division, on the e-mail. In the e-mail, Moschella described his conversation with DeLay's Counsel and asked whether "the Department has the legal authority to assist the Texas House's Sergeant-at-Arms enforce the 'arrest' warrant issued to bring certain Texas State legislators back to Texas to vote." The e-mail stated that the Counsel had already spoken to U.S. Attorney Sutton, whose opinion was that the Department did not have authority to intervene. The e-mail asked that something be turned around in a "couple of hours" and suggested that "we give them a preliminary read with the caveat that their [sic] are substantial issues to consider."

    In response to the e-mail, Fisher called Moschella on the telephone. She told the OIG that her response to Moschella was that the Criminal Division is not involved in enforcing warrants - that is the responsibility of the USMS. She referred Moschella to Associate Deputy Attorney General Paul Murphy, who handled USMS issues for the Deputy Attorney General's Office. Fisher said she told Moschella that "this is not something the Department should be getting involved with."

    Whelan told the OIG that after he received the e-mail from Moschella, he sent a follow-up question to Fisher and Chertoff, asking if they knew of any federal criminal violations that had occurred in the Texas legislator case. They did not respond to Whelan's e-mail. He told the OIG that he thought that any idea of the DOJ getting involved in this matter struck him as "wacko." He said he presumed that Moschella was just checking, and that Moschella felt the same way he did.

    Since it is late I ask if this is the same Alice Fisher? I think it is important to know for sure. Second I honestly don't know what I'm looking at here even though I am a Texan. If this is not important please tell me. I do not want to start sending people in the wrong direction. The only reason I went that direction is because I did a google search of Alice Fisher Tom Delay. Keep in mind it was google so there is always a chance the information itself is wrong. I am glad that your diary made it on the recommend's list.

     If someone could tell me also what I can do to improve mine then I a willing to learn. I'm not a research expert and have made mistakes in the past by trying to look into something I didn't understand. I am however a political junkie and I want to help on research if I can, but be aware I'm not perfect  so that is why I'm willing to learn and listen to what others have to say advice wise. Last thing this will be the only place I push information.

    If I find stuff I'll start my own diary that way I don't confuse others. Since that diaries were on the same track that was the only reason I asked since I'm going to bed. I'll check back in the morning. Please forgive me if I'm on the wrong track and please let me know so I don't make the same mistake twice.

    •  Yes, same Alice Fisher (none)
      thanks for the congrats. Titles do mean a lot. This is actually the second title. I changed it after I saw the first one and had no idea what my own post was about.

      To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

      by Tanya on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 12:03:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One thing I've learned (4.00)
        Is one person doesn't make the difference and what is important is the information itself. I'm just glad the diary made it to the recommend's list. If you and me ever have similar ones again feel free to use whatever information helps. I'm not the best person at this and I've made a lot of mistakes as my own title proved.

        I am sorry if I did invade your diary with that information, but I just wanted to know because I have a feeling a lot of information is going to be coming out that is tough to understand. I'll look forward to reading other diary's of yours as well. I'm turning off my monitor as we speak.

        •  I'm glad you added it . I didn't know you had a (none)
          diary on the subject. If you would like to link it please feel free.

          To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

          by Tanya on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 11:23:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  yours got a lot more attention (none)
            To me that is all that matters because this information was bugging me when I heard it on the Mike Malloy show. I had read a link at Democratic Underground as well. I was actually shocked nobody before me had started one as well because of his show talking about the information. I felt a little nervous posting the information only because I haven't looked at it in the past.

            What got me started on looking into the connections was Mike Malloy's radio show on Air America Radio. Because I have been burned in the past by bad links I've made a point not to inject myself into others research. I'm still trying to become a better researcher instead of really focusing on diary's. It's the curse of becoming a political junkie.

    •  Yes it is the same... (4.00)
      Alice Fisher.  She was then the Deputy Assistant AG in the Criminal Division reporting to Chertoff (who later became "Brownie's boss" at Homeland Security).

      Fisher is now the recess appointed Assistant AG in Criminal Division--taking over Chertoff's old job.

      Also, it was Senator Levin who put the "hold" on Fisher.  Questions arose about a conversation she had with an FBI agent over a chat she had with him concerning interrogation of "terrists".  Gonzales wouldn't let the agent testify--wonder why?

      There's a ton of info. on all nominations that AG Gonzales has bungled.  Google Timothy Flanagan for another interesting read, and a laugh over his supposed semi-direct tie to Abramoff.

      The justice dept. just isn't what it used to be.  I think this comes from hiring all of those bimbos who were college rethugs back in the 80's and 90's.

      •  Wow. It looks like Timothy Flanagan (none)
        was an unsuccessful attempt (unlike Alice S Fisher) to slide in another blatantly conflicted Bushco-GOP-Abramoff torture-loving, higher-up excusing crony at a high Justice Department position, who the Bushies only gave up on trying to push through the Senate in October 2005, just as the Abramoff case was coming to a head.

        Flanigan's Nomination Withdrawn as Deputy AG

        Earlier this week, I [Senator Durbin] asked for a follow-up hearing on the nomination of Timothy Flanigan to be Deputy Attorney General because serious concerns had been raised about his relationship with indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff and about his role in crafting the Bush administration's policies on torture. I wanted to make certain that no conflicts of interest would have prevented Mr. Flanigan from performing his duties.

        .....

        The ACLU weighs in:

        "Flanigan was hit from all sides during this confirmation process, about his role in multiple scandals. When pressed, he refused to account for his role in the development of policies that led to the abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. Flanigan had no business supervising prosecutors responsible for investigating and prosecuting torture and abuse that his own policies helped facilitate.

        "While Flanigan may fade away from the spotlight, lawmakers must continue to focus on the decisions that led to interrogation policies that abandon the rule of law. Low-ranking individuals like Private Lynndie England have been charged and sentenced, but the higher-ups that crafted these policies have gotten off scot-free.

    •  focusing on one of Fisher's quotes (none)
      from AHSaint's helpful post:

      "In response to the e-mail, Fisher called Moschella on the telephone. She told the OIG that her response to Moschella was that the Criminal Division is not involved in enforcing warrants - that is the responsibility of the USMS. She referred Moschella to Associate Deputy Attorney General Paul Murphy, who handled USMS issues for the Deputy Attorney General's Office. Fisher said she told Moschella that 'this is not something the Department should be getting involved with.'"

      A disengenuous statement to say the least: if it were none of the Department of Justice's business, then why did she refer Delay's thugmeister to the US Marshalls Office?  Last I heard, they were an agency of Justice.

      Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

      by nailbender on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:57:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just one last comment (none)
    Mike Malloy also talked about this on his radio show. Not for sure how far it was into his show, but he was very pissed off about it.
  •  So... (none)
    I'm sure that any day now, we'll see a full Democratic hay-making on this whole thing.  We'll see Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid whipping this thing up and riding it out for all it's worth, and using it for the next election cycle.  

    Right? Hellooooo!  Is this thing on....?

    Of course Abramoff can't catch us up in this! That's why the DLC and tne DNC keep speaking like they have some sort of moral authority - because they do!  Right?

    Look.  Think.  

    Yes, continue supporting Democrats (where you can).  But, pay attention.

  •  Rock on Tanya! (4.00)
    It would be nice to know the influence on the plea bargain.  

    Another log on the fire!  Burn, baby burn!  

  •  Oops! (none)
    I forgot, in the excitement, that I had already given a recommend and hit it again.  Sorry! Of all the ones to f.u. on, it most surely shouldn't have been this one.  Dmit!
  •  I just read the PDF from her Senate hearings.... (4.00)
    No wonder she wasn't confirmed. All of the questions pertaining to her knowledge of Torture and Prisoner Abuse at Gtmo by Senators Kennedy and Durbin were met with a lot of "I can't recall" and double speak. I also learned something else. Searchs without Prior Notification under the PATRIOT ACT are NOT limited to terrorism as a precursor according to her testimony to Durbin. Also, on PG 143 of the Senate Hearing Congressional Record, it was noted that she did an interview on MSNBC, playing the fear card in support of the PATRIOT ACT. In that interview she drummed up this scenario whereby Mohamed Atta had sent a package to someone prior to 911, and she asked if the person who recieved the package should be "tipped off" to the prior to the search! She used this bullshit scenario in order to obviously press the point of the necessity of non disclosure to defendants prior to search. If I had to pick someone to run an investigation and I wanted to make sure that the case would fail or be weakened to protect people I did not want to get hurt, this is EXACTLY the women I would pick to do it.
     This is the whole fucking reason she was a "Recess Appointment". Bush and Gonzales tried to get her confirmed, and when that was held up, Bush just said "Fuck You" and did it anyway.
     Is there nowhere that this corruption doesn't end? I am just so completely beside myself at the total gaming of the system that this administration is engaged in. I really am starting to feel like it is just too late for our country.
     According to her disclosure statements concerning her work history, she was also involved in "Helping Tribes to insure that they were being properly represented to the Government" while she was in private practice a couple of years ago. Apparently, the only chance for recusal is if the "Judicial Ethics Committee" rules that her involvement in the Abramoff Case is a conflict of interest...
     Who sits on the "Judicial Ethics Committee"? Does anyone know? I'll bet you dollars to donuts it's lousy with bush appointees as well. I am gonna try to check this out.
  •  Bigfooting a press conference is not the same (4.00)
    as being in charge. As mentioned elsewhere in the comments her name does not appear on the plea documents.

    As profiled in The Hill, the lead on the Abramoff case is Mary K. Butler, another DOJ prosecutor with roots in Chicago:

    Although there has been intense scrutiny of Abramoff and his associates, little is known about the career government attorneys investigating him. A Department of Justice spokesman declined to comment, but lawyers who represent a witness in the Abramoff investigation or who have dealt with Justice helped flesh out how the section operates.

    Butler practiced law in Chicago before joining the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Florida in 1987, where she prosecuted white-collar crime and public corruption. She was part of the independent counsel's office, which investigated former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. She joined the Public Integrity section six years ago and has been considered for supervisory positions but apparently was not selected.

    Butler reports to Noel Hillman, section chief, whom President Bush nominated to a federal judgeship last week. Hillman, an avid surfer and Bruce Springsteen fan, was an assistant U.S. attorney in New Jersey before coming to Washington.

    He led the Campaign Finance Task Force, which investigated contributions made by foreign donors to the Democratic Party in the 1996 election, and investigated Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.), who resigned from the Senate in 2002 because of allegations he accepted illegal campaign donations and gifts.

    The section has had few high-profile cases, in part because independent counsels swiped some of the higher profile cases that, had it not existed, would have been investigated by Public Integrity.

    That said we should be raising Hell about even the suggestion that a partisan Bush pocket appointee is taking any role (even reviewing documents) in this case.

    We need to call our members of Congress, the Senate, WH and the media.

    We need to go all right-wing-screechy about this until Ms. Fisher is out of any role in this investigation.

    •  Even given her spokesmodel role.. (none)
      ...(or whatever you want to call it) this shows, at a minum, lack of regard by the lead counsel, whosomever that might be.  On the other hand, it could just as easily be collusion as incompetence.  We know this from ample recent experience.

      We agree that this should be a cause celebre in and of itself. This one has big knobby tires.

      I also think it's interesting that Public Itegrity seemed to have plenty of Dems to pursue despite the relative shortage of criminal activity during Clinton's term.

      Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

      by nailbender on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:25:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  oops, got that wrong (none)
        she is lead counsel's boss.  The lead counsel obviously had no hand in choosing her.  Sorry.

        Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

        by nailbender on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:49:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  She is the boss, just under Gonzales the lead has (4.00)
      to report to her.

      To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

      by Tanya on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:17:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fits the pattern (4.00)
    This has the hallmarks of what we have come to expect, another permutation on an old Nixonian trick for GOP honcho/sleaze-in-a-tight-spot: the Limited Hangout Prosecution, aka (when you have the advantage of being in control of an investigation of "former" bedfellows) the Kid Glove Treatment.

    Time to call for an independent prosecutor, ala Fitz, to run this show.  The Abramoff tendrils go too close to the boss for any other arrangement to be logical.  

    Gonzalez needs to be raked over the coals on this one.  I was wondering when a shoe like this would drop in this case.  

    Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

    by nailbender on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 04:20:57 AM PST

    •  ps. /This/ is why the Independent Counsel law (none)
      should be reinstated. What are the arguments against it?  That it exposed Clinton for a groper?  That was a good thing; the process actually worked! (That is, unless you don't mix your politics and your morals. An intern?)

      I mean, how weird was that when they canceled that law just as they became the suspects?  Talk about coincidence.

      Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

      by nailbender on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:04:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  An independent counsel (none)
        could not be used in this case.  Special prosecutors are used to investigate crimes by government officials.  As no government official has yet to be implicated, an appointment of an independent counsel in Abramhoff's case means exactly nada.

        This is going to be more like ABSCAM, wherein Justice has the primary investigatory role.

        The world is made for those who are not cursed with self-awareness. -- Annie Savoy, from "Bull Durham" Yeah, and George W. Bush is living proof.

        by wmtriallawyer on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:35:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Moreover, (none)
          Special prosecutors were used to investigate members of the EXECUTIVE, not CONGRESS.  It was created to avoid a conflict of interest between the Justice Department and the members of the executive they were investigating.

          The world is made for those who are not cursed with self-awareness. -- Annie Savoy, from "Bull Durham" Yeah, and George W. Bush is living proof.

          by wmtriallawyer on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:41:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I wasn't suggesting... (none)
          I was lamenting.  A tangent.  In my original post above I used the uncapitalized "independent prosecutor" to be taken generically.  Fitz is an SP, and I believe that another one is called for here.  I was expressing the hope for someone like Fitz because there is no chance that

          I still stand by my comment that the Independent Counsle Law should be reinstated.  It would be applicable in this case, by the way, if any leads take them to the Executive (as if they won't).

          Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

          by nailbender on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:36:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  unfinished sentence: (none)
            (Always hit Preiew, always hit Preview) "I was expressing hope for someone like Fitz because there is no guarantee that someone of his caliber would be chosen as a Special Prosecutor for the Abramoff scandal."

            Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

            by nailbender on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:43:49 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  At the time of the Clinton impeachment (4.00)
      I remember, back in the 90s, Daniel Shore on NPR saying that he thought one of the ultimate strategies underlying the impeachment was to make the whole process and usage of the Independent Prosecutor law so distatsteful to the public that they would be in favor of letting it die, so that it would be gone when the Repugs took power.  Looks like Dan was soooo right.

      Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night.

      by Glorfindel on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:06:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The cynic in me say's (none)
    the only reason they've gone to a plea bargain is that they would just as soon not have a public trial - and they don't intend to pursue much of anything else.
  •  "Fishy, yer doin a heckuva job..." (none)
    It's so easy coming up with these li'l cutesy nicknames even a preznit could do it. ;)
  •  Did anyone notice from Fisher's press briefing (none)
    yesterday on the Abramoff plea, that Alice smirks just like Abu Gonzales?

    And Bush recess-appointed Alice Fisher to Abarmoff case during height of Katrina flooding and dying on Wednesday August 31, 2005. What could be more important to Bush than Katrina?

    just wrote this rom another diary: That press conference is what bothered me.

    •  Here is the buried press announcement of (none)
      Bush's recess appointment (only one he made that day of 08/31/05 as far as I can tell) of  Alice Fisher to head Justice Dept Criminal Division in charge of Abramoff case.

      Recess rules used to fill Justice post

      WASHINGTON - President Bush has used a constitutional provision to bypass the Senate and fill a top Justice Department slot with an official whose nomination stalled over tactics at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval facility. Bush used a "recess appointment" Wednesday to name Alice Fisher to lead the agency's criminal division. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., had blocked the nomination because he wants to talk to an agent who named Fisher in an e-mail about allegedly abusive interrogations at the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo. Fisher can serve until January 2007.

  •  All for Show (4.00)
    Boy is this ever BushCo. at its best.

    Jack will get 5 years max, a generous "restitution" arrangement, no testimony against Delay, the Bushies whistle past yet another graveyard, and they'll end up calling the scandal "BiPartisan politics as usual".

  •  OK, I'm officially lost (none)
    I don't understand about why these ties are relevant.  So she's a recess appointment.  So she's a republican.  So?

    There are two separate investigations going on -- one in Florida, one in DC.  The people handling these investigations appear to be line prosecutors.  Who cares that one of the political appointments has oversight over this case?

    Look, I'm all for paranoia -- I'm an attorney in Texas for Christ's sake -- but I don't think that we need to call for a special prosecutor right this instant.

    As a matter of fact, I'd say the line prosecutors are doing a pretty fine job -- they've just gotten Abramhoff to cop to two separate pleas for about 10 years, assuming he tells everything he knows.  They've got Scanlon.  They've got the goods on Ney.

    Let's not immediately assume that the DOJ prosecutors are going to roll over and play dead.  The wheels of justice tend to grind slow, but very very fine.

    •  Bingo (none)
      And, I think people are confusing a special prosecutor's role to begin with.  As I pointed out upthread, we won't be able to get an independent counsel in the Abramhoff scandal unless members of the EXECUTIVE are implicated.

      So far, only Members of Congress and their staffs have been implicated.

      Remember, the independent counsel law was designed so there was no conflict of interest between the Department of Justice investigating members of the executive.

      The world is made for those who are not cursed with self-awareness. -- Annie Savoy, from "Bull Durham" Yeah, and George W. Bush is living proof.

      by wmtriallawyer on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 07:53:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Independent Counsel law has lapsed. (none)
        Following the Clinton impeachment.  The Dems let it happen because the law was abused by Starr.  Do I see a pattern? The Dems (aside from Feingold, may his name be remembered) also rolled over on the Patriot Act because the FISA law was misinterpreted.  So, it seems that if the GOP fucks something up bad enough, we will agree to eliminate the thing they fucked up, rather than address their incompetence or corruption. Not a bad strategy, if you plan to run a nation into the dirt.

        Jorge's a renegade; there's blood on his hands, oil in his arteries and cyanide inside his glands...

        by nailbender on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 08:24:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  History repeats (4.00)
      Think Abramoff 2002; North Marianas/Guam criminal case; DoJ US Attorney Frederick Black prosecutor demoted/removed  by Bush (thru an crony DoJ appointee superior to Marianas criminal case prosecutor).
    •  Not roll over and play dead just minimize (none)
      Let's see how many other indictments come out of this. From the press conference it sounded like Ley but very little on anyone else.

      As an attorney you should know better than anyone that no major deal gets cut with out the big guns approving. To think that Fisher and Gonzales are not involved is naive.

      To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men~~ Abraham Lincoln

      by Tanya on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 11:12:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Only Concern (none)
      Is that political appointees in the Department of Justice will leak information either for political purposes or to sabotage the line prosecutors.

      By the way, if you think Alice Fisher is bad, the pending nomination of Paul McNulty (another lawyer with little or no actual litigation experience) to fill James Comey's Deputy Attorney General position, is very sad.  Mr. McNulty is a very partisan Republican.

  •  Jack Abramoff show on C-Span TONIGHT (none)
    I tried all night last night to call in on the 3 hour show last night on C-span to ask the Business Week reporter if he knew about Alice Fisher's Background.  It was a pretty good program, especially for those people who would say Jack WHO ? Surprisingly there were very few calls blaming the Dems.  Man oh man, were people pissed off about this !!! Second night, Tonight, start @ 8est and they ran it back to back here in Seattle.  Tonight Mike Crowley from New Republic and another reporter I hadn't heard of before.  Give it a look and try calling in about Fisher.
    •  Previous Prosecution (4.00)
      Watched part of the CSPAN coverage too.  Business Week guy, (Eamon Jeevers?), was asked by one caller about the previous prosecution of Abramoff's dealings in the Mariana Islands (Guam?) and couldn't answer it.  He knew that something went on but just didn't have the basic facts on hand.

      This is why we have to push this stuff.  I trust everybody implicitly but cut the cards.  The reporters may be good but they get mired in the immediate details.  The politicians have their own agendas.  The commentators have their own slice of the pie to protect.

      Called in to "On Point," an NPR program, this morning and got through to the screener.  Told them I was worried about another level of possible corruption, namely the previous squashing of an Abramoff prosecution and Ms Fisher's ties to DeLay.  He kept me on hold and then told me that they wouldn't have time for my call.

      You gotta fight for your rights without quarter.  We have to hold their feet to the fire and force the media and the politicos to mind their manners, cross their T's and dot their I's.  If we don't, something is liable to fall through the cracks and that just may be our freedoms.

      PS:  It wasn't until 3/4 quarters of the way into the NPR hour that the guest from opensecrets.org finally mentioned that the K Street Project they'd been talking about for 45 minutes was designed to cut Dems off from trade association and lobbyist jobs and make sure that only Repubs were hired and contributed to.  Gee, ya think that could lead to a culture of corruption?

      Solar is Civil Defense

      by gmoke on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 11:30:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  A crony appointment to protect other cronies (4.00)
    This fits very neatly into the Abuse of Power meme.

    Bush: Worse.Than.Nixon.

    by res on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 09:54:44 AM PST

  •  Gingrich Sticks His Fork in DeLay (none)
    This is great.

    When Newt sounds like a reasonable moderate, you know the radical-right GOP has Jacked the Shark.

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