See also MB Williams' post on this Eid piece here.
Let me make something clear up front. I have no reason to believe that Troy Eid did anything wrong in the Abramoff scandal. I am not alleging he worked closely with Abramoff. What I'm writing here is only designed to raise questions about the way USAs were chosen after DOJ went hyper-political under Monica Goodling and Alberto Gonzales in 2005.
But I would feel a lot better about Troy Eid if he used the same definition of "few" that most people do. In his carefully parsed denial of any association with Abramoff on Thursday, Eid trots out the same line he has always used to deny a connection with Abramoff (thanks to MBW for the link--she'll have more on this soon):
GT is one of the world's largest law firms, and like many others it does engage in lobbying - but at heart it is a full-service, litigation and transactional law firm. There were more than 1,600 attorneys in 34 offices when I was there from Oct. 2003 to Aug. 2006.
Abramoff and I overlapped in the same firm for only a few months of my GT employment. During that time, while he was a non-lawyer lobbyist in the DC office, I was a litigation partner in the Denver office focused on environmental law. We did not work together. [my emphasis]
As I understand the word "few" means two. If you push it, it means three. Update: Apparently, I'm in the minority, and most normal people think few is three or four--so Eid is parsing correctly. Well, Eid is pushing it a little further than that, since Abramoff's resignation from GT was effective March 2, 2004, over four months of overlap with Eid by his own reckoning. This is the same kind of word game that DOJ played when they replaced an explicit reference to GT iin Eid's original resume with a reference to "a national law firm" in his current one (if you're wondering, the new resume went up some time since the USA Purge scandal broke).
But it's not the length of time Eid overlapped with Abramoff that is the real cause for concern. As MBW and Rayne and I have pointed it, it's the lobbying, lobbying that Eid also does not admit to when he insists he was a "litigation partner" as distinct from Abramoff's "non-lawyer lobbyist." Because that's where guilt by association does become an issue. Take the people that Eid lobbied with for Convergys.
- Kevin Ring: A member of Team Abramoff, is a former John Doolittle aide who asserted his Fifth Amendment before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and who appears to have reached a plea agreement in the ongoing Abramoff probe. Ring's close friend, Robert Coughlin, recently had to resign his position as DOJ's Deputy Chief of Staff in the Criminal Division (presumably one of those positions over which Monica Goodling had hiring authority) because he may be implicated in the Abramoff scandal. Ring remained at GT until October 13, 2004.
- Edward Ayoob: A former Harry Reid aide and a member of Team Abramoff, who went on to lobby for Tyco. And about the time when Eid's nomination was submitted to the Senate, Ayoob was busy lobbying in support of Tim Flanigan's failed bid to be Deputy Attorney General. Ayoob left GT with Ring to join Barnes & Thornberg.
- Stephanie Leger Short:A former John Breaux aide and another member of Team Abramoff. With Kevin Ring, Short was found to have taken improper payments and was asked to resign from GT on April 30, 2004.
Eid may not have worked "with" Jack Abramoff. But he was a registered lobbyist on a team on which every other member was also a member of Team Abramoff. And on which two members were found to have acted improperly. And note--with Ring's ties to Coughlin and Ayoob's attempts to get Flanigan approved as DAG, two of these three people were actively tied to the politicized wing of DOJ.
One more point. I don't know whether writing a Cabinet Secretary on behalf of one of your firm's clients counts as lobbying or not, but if it does, then Eid conducted lobbying for which he didn't register. He wrote a letter to fellow Coloradan Gayle Norton on behalf of GT client the Mashpee Tribe.Now, Eid didn't register as a lobbyist for Mashpee. But Mashpee was one of Abramoff's key tribal clients. Again, Team Abramoff.
All of which is not to say that Troy Eid has done anything wrong. Perhaps there is a very good explanation for Eid's letter to Norton, for his close ties to Team Abramoff.
But he hasn't given us one. Instead, he has hidden precisely the issues which deserve a real explanation.