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Tonight I raise a glass to those in and out of power, those in and out of the media and those in and out of Government who fight the Bush/Gingrich/Abramoff/Rove/DeLay Republican Kakistocracy.

It is a dirty job to track the lies, schemes and crimes of the arrogantly unprincipled people behind the Bush Administration, the Republican Party and the Right Wing Noise machine.

Cheers!

I want to give a big shout out to Josh Marshall and all the folks at TPM/TPM Muckraker. They smelled a scandal when some US Attorneys were fired. They dug. They asked questions and they did not let go.

Others joined them. Citizens, bloggers, the media, watchdog groups and elected officials are asking questions. This is putting great pressure on Bushies everywhere.

They are starting to crack, especially when they are asked to visit Capitol Hill, take an oath and tell the Truth.  

And to add to the stress on the Bushies, Italia Federici pleaded guilty this week.

Count Two is a warning shot.

To the jump...

The crimes of the Gingrich/DeLay/Bush Era have been hiding in plain sight. For years they have been running scams, washing money and using it to fix elections, bribe officials and establish One Party Rule in the USA. They almost got away it.

Since 1999 I have been researching this crime wave behind an organized effort to fund the takeover of America.

In the 1970s a small group of folks decided to do just that—take over America—and they did. In 2000 they installed a weak, incurious and self-important man as President. In the years leading up to that coup d'état and in the years after the takeover, a great many crimes were committed against Americans and the world.

Most of those crimes will never be punished. Some will never be discussed.

In 2004 a window on this criminal enterprise was exposed. Then the cover-ups began.

Now it is all unraveling.

Part of that unraveling began with the fall of Jack Abramoff. Then there was Duke Cunningham, Iraq, Katrina and many other Republican scandals. Last year the Republican Culture of Corruption became the tipping point that gave Democrats control of Congress.

That tipping point should have happened in 2004, but it didn’t. To protect their source of off-the-books funding, the Republican Congress and the Bush Administration engaged in a full-time cover-up. With the help of a compliant, incurious National media and loyal foot soldiers like John McCain, they were able to cover-up the crimes and keep Bush in the White House.

Then the Truth started to come out. Since Bush’s second term began, new crimes, cover-ups and lies seem to be exposed on an almost daily basis. For the longest time, they were able to keep a lid on most of it. Take the Abramoff Scandal as an example.

Jack was exposed in a February 2004 Washington Post article. Shortly after that, John McCain launched an investigation into Abramoff. His team on the Senates Indian Affairs Committee collected over 750,000 pages of documents. It quickly became clear that this wasn’t an investigation of a corrupt lobbyist. It was an investigation of a corrupt system and a corrupt Party—McCain’s Party. So Straight Talk McCain slow walked the investigation. It became a cover-up.

After the 2004 election the Abramoff scandal was drawing more media attention. McCain had to finish his investigation cover-up. He focused the Narrative on Jack and the Indians. He converted the story into a Hollywood "heist/caper" film, knowing that American prejudices against Native Americans and tribal casinos would help hide the damning details of the Abramoff scandal:

  • Jack’s role as a 25-year bagman for the GOP: hidden.
  • Jack’s close working relationship with the Bush White House: hidden.
  • Jack’s close working relationship with the Republican Congressional Leadership: hidden.
  • Jack’s role in dirty tricks and off-the-books money for the GOP: hidden.
  • Jack’s role in Medicare reform: hidden.
  • Jack’s role energy policy: hidden.

McCain actively controlled the story and he put the investigation into slow motion. He ensured that it was a not a factor in the 2004 election and tried his best to kill the story in the 2006 election.

He also has suppressed a literal mountain of evidence—over 750,000 pages of documents related to Jack Abramoff, his work and his connections in and out of government.

Only about 8,000 pages of these documents have been released. Here is a snapshot:

McCain JA doc chart

In addition to presenting Jack as a Bad Apple Lobbyist and the Tribes as unsophisticated greedy victims of a crime they brought upon themselves, McCain decided to use his investigation to settle some old scores. Specifically he went after Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist, two long-time pals of Abramoff and Right Wing gadflies who went after McCain in the 2000 election. He released just enough of the 750,000 documents to connect Reed and Norquist to the scandal, along with some other players in the slush fund food chain.

One of these lesser known luminaries was Italia Federici. It was her connection to Abramoff through Norquist that pulled her into McCain’s scandal narrative.

She was smug, entitle, evasive and arrogant. Federici was well connected to the power structure in Bush’s Kakistocracy. When McCain called her to testify before the Indian Affairs Committee, Federici treated the request with the same level of contempt we have come to expect from Dick Cheney or George W. Bush when somebody suggests that the Rule of Law might also apply to them.

This week Federici pleaded guilty for her role in the Abramoff scandal and agreed to cooperate with Prosecutors. Count One was all about tax evasion. Federici used the front group she ran for the GOP slush fund—CREA (Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy) as her private ATM. Like many gangsters, she forgot to pay taxes on the money, so the Feds got her on that. (Reed and Norquist should be worried about their tax returns).

The second count was more interesting.

Italia Federici was fined $250,000 and sentenced to Five years in prison for lying to the Senate.

The Information filing behind her guilty plea laid out the facts behind the crime. After establishing that Federici was Abramoff’s conduit to the J. Steven Griles, the second-highest ranking official within Bush’s DOI, the filing goes on to detail Federici’s crime (emphasis added):

25.During both the October 7, 2005 investigative interview and the November 17, 2005 public hearing, the Senate Committee focused on, among other areas of inquiry, the extent to which defendant FEDERICI, Abramoff, and Griles communicated about issues pending before DOI that directly affected Abramoffs clients while Griles served as DOI Deputy Secretary. The defendant was aware of the scope of the Senate Committee's inquiry before her October 7, 2005 interview began.

26. During both the October 7, 2005 investigative interview and the November 17, 2005 public hearing, defendant FEDERICI was questioned about, among other things, the extent to which she, Abramoff, and Griles communicated about issues pending before DOI that directly affected Abramoff' s clients while Griles served as DOI Deputy Secretary. It was material to the Senate Committee's investigation that the Senators and Senate investigators who questioned the defendant learned the truth about the extent of the communication involving her, Abramoff, and Griles during Griles' DOI tenure.

Defendant's Obstruction of Proceedings Before the United States Senate

27. From on or about October 7, 2005, through on or about November 17, 2005, in the District of Columbia, the defendant, ITALTA FEDERTCT, did knowingly and corruptly influence, obstruct, and impede, and endeavor to influence, obstruct, and impede the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which an investigation and review was being had by the United States Senate and a Committee of the United States Senate. That is, during her October 7, 2005 interview with investigators working for the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and during her November 17, 2005 testimony at a public hearing held before members of the United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, defendant FEDERICT knowingly and intentionally made a series of materially false and fictitious declarations to, and withheld material information from, Senators and Senate investigators in response to questions about the extent to which she, Abramoff, and Griles communicated about issues pending before DOI that directly affected Abramoff' s clients while Griles served as DOT Deputy Secretary.

ALL IN VIOLATION OF TITLE 18, UNITED STATES CODE, SECTION 1505.

The Federici Guilty plea will move the Abramoff investigation into more territories. There are quite a few folks in the GOP who should be very nervous about what Jack, Federici and the others are talking about. They should be especially worried because the US Attorney scandal has damaged the ability of Alberto Gonzales and his minions to slow walk the investigation. In fact Alberto and his minions are finding themselves in the position of Italia Federici.

Since the beginning of this year, many Bushies have testified to House and Senate Committees and investigators. Like Federici, their first response was contempt for Congress and the Rule of Law. In the days of a complaint, incurious media and Republican controlled Congress that contempt would have been enough to shut down an investigation. Not this time.

Elections matter and oversight is a good thing. And I think that the investigations into the US Attorney scandal may be among the most important Congressional oversight investigations in my lifetime (I’m 51).

The Bush Administration had been converting the Department of Justice into a political arm of the Republican Party. The primary purpose was to use to power of indictment and DoJ intimidation to win elections for the GOP. A secondary purpose was to protect the Party from criminal prosecution. It was working, but now it is unraveling.

The Gonzales Justice Department worked very hard to protect Republicans from scandal. Almost every Republican corruption investigation has been slow walked. Take the Abramoff scandal as an example.

In January 2006 Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty. There was a lot of movement in the scandal. Then Bush appointed Noel Hillman, the head of the Abramoff investigation, to be a Judge in New Jersey. It seemed like obstruction and some called for the appointment of a special prosecutor. It was a call that was ignored.

Throughout 2006 the investigation seemed to be moving through amber. You could get glimpses of it, but the wheels of justice were turning very slowly. It was intentional.

The Bush DoJ was filled with political operatives who placed Party above Country. The US Attorney scandal is removing their boot from the throat of Justice. These junior and mid-level Bushies are loosing their grip. Many are leaving, one or two steps ahead of the scandal spotlight. Take the case of Robert E. Coughlin.

McClatchy Newspapers recently discussed why his story might be a problem for the Bush DoJ:

Making the situation more awkward for the embattled Justice Department, Robert E. Coughlin II was deputy chief of staff for the criminal division, which is overseeing the department's probe of Abramoff.

After Coughlin’s sudden resignation, things suddenly started to happen in the Abramoff investigation. It was as if an obstruction had been removed. Consider what happened in the first three weeks following Coughlin’s departure:

One can add Federici to the list of post-Coughlin Abramoff scandal developments.

It seems that the professionals in the DoJ are rejecting the Bush/Gingrich/Abramoff/Rove/DeLay Republican Kakistocracy.

They are rejecting the corruption, incompetence and contempt for the Rule of Law.

In the Federici plea they are sending a message:

Stop lying to Congress.

Alberto and his minions should be worried about these facts behind Federici’s crimes:

The defendant was aware of the scope of the Senate Committee's inquiry

did knowingly and corruptly influence, obstruct, and impede, and endeavor to influence, obstruct, and impede the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which an investigation and review was being had by the United States Senate and a Committee of the United States Senate.

knowingly and intentionally made a series of materially false and fictitious declarations to, and withheld material information from, Senators and Senate investigators in response to questions

That applied to the testimony of Italia Federici.

I would say it also applies to the testimony of Alberto and his team of testifying loyal Bushies. NO wonder they will fight like hell to avoid Rove testifying under oath.

Any of them could, and should, be invited to make a plea deal like Italia.

It is way past time to appoint a special prosecutor. He or she should be mandated to review the firing of the US Attorneys, the politicizing of DoJ hires, the politicizing of voter fraud prosecutions and the slow walking of corruption investigation.

They have tried to make the Abramoff scandal (and many others) go away. They have failed. Henry Waxman’s Committee is expanding their Abramoff probe. The Mark Zachares, the Federici plea and the ongoing investigation into John Doolittle, Tom DeLay and Don Young guaranteed that folks are still listening to Jack as he talks and talks in his Maryland prison cell.

And I’m working on the list of Abramoff connected candidates for 2008. It looks like we’ll have Jack’s Dirty Dozen and Abramoff’s Filthy Fifty running on the GOP ticket (I’m taking nominations in the comments). The McCain/Bush Corruption Cover-Up kept the Abramoff scandal off the table in 2004. That will not be the case in 2008. In fact, the cover-up will be an issue, especially if McCain gets the Nomination.

So, tonight I raise a glass to those in and out of power, those in and out of the media and those in and out of Government who fight the Bush/Gingrich/Abramoff/Rove/DeLay Republican Kakistocracy.

It is a dirty job to track the lies, schemes and crimes of the arrogantly unprincipled people behind the Bush Administration, the Republican Party and the Right Wing Noise machine.

It is a job we are doing.

We need to expose this Culture of Corruption and demand change.

We need to extract a political price for the crimes past the Statute of Limitations.

We need to speed things up.

2007 is a year for gathering facts and holding their feet to the fire. 2008 is a year to defeat these scoundrels at the ballot box and put a Democrat in the White House. That will give us a Department of Justice that believes in the law again.

Get involved.

  • Demand a Special Prosecutor. The Bush DoJ has shown it can not investigate itself.
  • Write letters, contact the press, call talk shows, post comments, and otherwise promote this effort. Demand the release of these 750,000 pages of documents. Make it clear that you are concerned about the widespread evidence of criminal activity in the Republican Party and the cover-ups of these crimes.
  • Research. Follow the money. Find the quid pro quos. Dig into the ties of the GOP to CNMI and Guam, or to Cunningham, or to ripping off Native Americans, or to Iraq, or to earmarks, or to any of the entry points into the web of scandal. Grab a mask and a shovel and start digging into the many aspects of this cesspool of corruption.
  • Get out the truth and hold the GOP accountable in 2007 and 2008. Perhaps Republican candidates will want to explain to voters why they wanted to kill the Abramoff and other corruption investigation. We should force the question.

Let’s push this hard.

Cheers!

Originally posted to dengre on Sat Jun 09, 2007 at 10:18 PM PDT.

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