Saturday, March 31, 2007

What’s a 100 million dollars between friends?

It is Saturday, my people’s Sabbath, and so you might think I would take a break from publicizing Republican scandals. No can do. They keep coming, and if I take time off, I just fall too far behind.

So here’s your Shabbat parsha … *

As we all know, the Republicans snuck an unnoticed provision into the USA Patriot Act that enabled them to appoint U.S. Attorneys without Senate confirmation. One of the beneficiaries of that act was a certain Rove protégé named Tim Griffin. His previous claim to fame was that he engaged in what appears to be a felonious plot to suppress the African-American vote in Arkansas. See, Had your fill of Republican scandals? Here’s another for you..

Well here’s yet another.

U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor was appointed directly by Attorney General Gonzales without Senate confirmation when D.C.’s U.S. Attorney, Kenneth Wainstein, was promoted to assistant attorney general for national security. Prior to that Taylor worked as counsel to Attorney Generals Aschcroft and Gonzales for four years. And before that he worked as an aide to Senator Orrin Hatch.

Last Wednesday a judge ruled that in the largest tax prosecution ever, the treasury can’t recoup at least $100 million in restitution. Why not? According to U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman the binding plea agreement listed the wrong statute and failed to include any discussion of probation as is routine in such deals.

This is being described as a blunder. The Judge said, “I’ve come to the conclusion, very reluctantly, that I have no authority to order restitution. . . . This is a very poorly drafted agreement.”

Am I the first person to wonder aloud if maybe this “mistake” was not completely an innocent one? I am just wondering. It wasn’t poorly drafted from Walter Anderson’s point of view, was it?

This same Jeffrey A. Taylor may have a huge role in the upcoming confrontation with Ms. Monica Goodling. She is expected to take the fifth, as she has promised to do in letters to the Senate leadership, and more recently to the House leadership, too. For reasons that I described here, her claim of privilege is bullshit. If a congressional committee decides that she ought to be prosecuted for contempt of congress, responsibility for that would rest on Mr. Taylor.

For that reason, Congress may want to consider alternative means of coercing her testimony. As we all know, there is the immunity route.

There’s also another route. Congress can direct the Sergeant at Arms to arrest her, and let her fight her way out of jail in court. They may not have covered that at Regent Law School.

“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”

* Shabbat parsha literally means, Sabbath portion. It usually refers to the weekly portion of the 5 Books of Moses that is read during Sabbath services.

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