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October 24, 2007

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"But what I'm really curious about is the subtle hedge Riley inserted.

I have never requested Karl Rove's ("Mr. Rove") assistance to "speed up" checks for any of Ms. Simpson's clients, or his assistance on any other federal matter, [my emphasis]

Riley is not denying that Rove has helped him out. Just not on federal matters.

Which suggests there's documents and (likely) people who will testify that Karl Rove has done other work for Riley (and likely, his dad), and that Riley was very careful to limit his claim here."

Like you, I'm getting the impression here that Riley asked Rove for help with State matters like gettin' Siegelman out of the running for Govenor, and Riley's papa crowned in his place.

Now just because Siegelman was gettin' indicted by a Federal prosecutor, that don't mean Riley and Riley weren't conducting State business with Rover. Sometimes State business has Federal consequences.

See how nicely that all works out?

No wonder the Republicans on the committee seem nervous about the Siegelman case - it's one thing to put dark-skinned people with Arabic names in dungeons without any probable cause - they think they can wave the national security flag on that and get away with it, and they may be right. Putting one's political opponents in jail, based on allegations that do not involve personal profit or even corruption as that term is commonly understood, "criminalizing" (Democratic) politics, and interfering with both the prosecutors and ensuring the hearing of the case by a compromised "judge" - and at the same time hooked to Rove and the GOP southern machine and the USA scandal? Perfect storm if it is handled properly by the Democrats, and almost anyone can relate to the sense of injustice.

...but then again, according to Fox and the ComPost, outing Valerie Plame was just repeating what all the backyard gossips in Washington already "knew" about her, not exposing Jane Bond and her team to all her and her country's enemies. I have to remember not to get too hopeful about things.

Ishmael

I think we're looking at a more effective Omerta than even protected Cheney's order to out Valerie Wilson. I'm most struck by the dates on these affadavits: October 19 (in one case) and 22 (in two)--just before the hearing. They're waiting to see what evidence comes out and crafting a story around that. Not to mention that Riley first said he had never met Simpson, only to be proved wrong.

One other thing they appear to be trying to do is to say that Simpson wasn't a member of the campaign legal team, so she must not exist.

"One other thing they appear to be trying to do is to say that Simpson wasn't a member of the campaign legal team, so she must not exist."

But in the deposition, she stated that she dealt directly with Rob Riley on sketchy campaign matters and would not be expected to appear on a campaign volunteer list or as part of the formal legal team.

EW - agreed on the Omerta factor - and congressional investigation as opposed to special prosecutor means that the Republicans will benefit from leaks of the evidence that may already exist, as opposed to Fitzgerald's ability to investigate without leaks in the Plame leak. It will be a tough case to make stick legally without the ability to squeeze someone to testify.

Desert Dementia Update. Here is the latest from our little backwoods outpost, where Republicans are manly men, and the sheep are duly concerned. From the Arizona Republic:

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has cited Phoenix New Times reporter Ray Stern for disorderly conduct.

His crime: Taking pictures of records that the county wanted to charge him 50 cents a page to copy.
...
But the timing of Stern's citation is hard to ignore. It came the same night that sheriff's deputies arrested two other New Times employees for publishing information from a grand jury subpoena that, among other things, demanded the Internet activities of anyone who looked at the newspaper's Web site in three years.

The next day, on Friday, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas decried the arrests and the subpoena as an assault on the First Amendment. Much chagrined, Thomas dismissed the case and fired the special prosecutor he had appointed to investigate whether New Times violated the law by publishing Sheriff Joe Arpaio's address three years ago.

That leaves only Stern and his camera facing accusations of criminal conduct. It appears that when a law clerk asked him to stop taking pictures of the documents, Stern had the temerity to ask, “Why?”

Stern says he then asked to speak with the law clerk's boss, Michelle Iafrate, a private lawyer contracted by Thomas in much the same way he contracted with the New Times prosecutor. There was a brief argument. Iafrate threatened to call the police. Stern left. Nine hours later two sheriff's deputies cited Stern at his home with disorderly conduct. Iafrate did not return calls.

Sheriff's spokesman Paul Chagolla says the complaint against Stern “speaks for itself.” It accuses him of making noise.

Stern says he never raised his voice, didn't use obscene language and didn't refuse to comply: “What I did wouldn't be disorderly conduct on Sesame Street,” he says.

Stern says the sheriff's office is harassing him. Chagolla says Stern is the harasser.

At the core of this dispute are the records themselves. It turns out that New Times is not on the sheriff's list of e-mail recipients that includes most of the Valley media.

Stern says he demanded to review months of those e-mails to determine whether information was being withheld from New Times. Rather than pay for each copy, he decided to photograph them. After all, they were distributed free to every other media.

Chagolla says being on the e-mail list is not a right, it's a privilege. New Times and the sheriff's office have been at odds for years and each has accused the other of retaliation and intimidation.

Chagolla says his office is under no obligation to provide New Times with information beyond what the law requires; press releases available to the general public on the sheriff's Web site and any public records New Times specifically requests to review.

There is no explanation for why Stern was required to go to a private lawyer's office to look at records maintained by the sheriff's office. But Chagolla says Stern could either look at the records or pay for copies. He says nothing in the state law allows Stern to make his own copies.

Chagolla, who admits the law does not prohibit the public from making its own copies, says he is protecting the taxpayer's right to collect copying fees. If Stern wants copies, he is going to have to pay for them.
...

They say you can't keep a good man down. Apparently, you can't keep Joe Arpaio down either.

Bmaz - in my neck of the woods, there was a local official that I used to call (sub rosa) Boss Hogg, for the way he would operate as if the law did not apply to him. Joe Arpaio make my Boss Hogg look like Elliot Ness!

Marcy:

On (what I'd like to be) a related note, it there any evidence that Karl Rove or his proxies were involved in the Triad Management issue-ad fundraising scandal back in 1996? Rob Riley Jr. was named in Waxman's minority report as being involved. Involved to the extent, at least, that he was complicit in getting illegal corporate dollars into his dad's Congressional campaign.

Triad was a nexus of nonprofit abuse, illegal corporate contributions, GOP fundraisers, rightwing candidates, and Congressional efforts to bury the results. And Fred Thompson was involved too.

Know anything more?

Assuming Riley isn't lying through his teeth during the careful hedge regarding 'requesting Rove's assistance ... regarding any federal matter.' One possibility allowed by the hedge has already been clearly identified-request for help on state matters that have federal implications. The other interpretation I find a bit more interesting--that Rove initiated assistance on federal matters and informed the others of his actions for coordination purposes.

Taechan

Also, don't forget there's a third party here, Stewart Hall, a good old boy from Alabama who somehow didn't register for helping out, even though he is a lobbyist. Presumably, no $$ changed hands (given teh registry). But also presumably, I can imagine that Stewart Hall did favors--and called Karl--when it was useful for Alabama Republicans.

I view the GOP leak of the Simpson affidavit as an obstruction of justice.

Gary

Well her testimony, at least, came out with the approval of both sides of the committee. Though I wish the Dems would have withheld it until they got affys from the Alabama mafia...

Geez, this is such a pathetic little bunch of weenies. Put the national spotlight on them for even a fraction of a second and they'd wilt, wither, disappear in an instant.

God, give us better enemies 'cause this is just tooo easy.

Marcy, LeftinAlabama.com has a good article on these hearings, and includes some of the Mississippi stuff.

bmaz -- thanks for the update on the shenanigans out your way. Sounds like these jokers really are penny ante operators of the Bush doctrine, do what you damn well please until your caught, then pretend publicly that you're aghast and have put a stop to it, then go back to your previous bad behavior when you think no one is looking. Sounds like the AL Rethugs are working out of the same playbook... And I agree, Riley never said that KKKarl didn't call him (or Stewart) first.

Ishmael, agree with your 14:22 completely. I'd simply add, "...all campaign, election, and prosecutorial shenanigans paid for in part with largess from Abramoff's shake-downs of the Indian Gaming Casinos, which funded Rove's political clients and Permanent Republican Majority plans."

This stench must be connected to Abramoff by more than one pathway. (IIRC, Scott Horton wrote about connections between Siegelman's prosecution and Abramoff's 'fundraising' a day or so ago, but it was only a preliminary sketch.) I'd love to see a diagram showing the multiple connections between Abramoff/gambling $$, and RNC contributors, the Siegelman investigation, and the USAG firings. Bet it has a fairly dense pattern of interconnectedness.

I finally read the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Interview of Jill Simpson on September 14, 2007 in Washington, DC.

Scandal porn, indeed. It looks damning for the prosecution and for BushCo if the Rove ties are proved. Politicization of the DoJ and the ‘criminalization of politics,’ as the Republicans like to call it, are all rolled into one.

Off topic: I was side tracked by something in Simpson’s testimony.

Does George H. W. Bush own a bank? (River Oaks Bank & Trust in Houston). Is this common knowledge?

Simpson mentions it twice in her interview. Each time Bush’s bank comes up, the committee cuts her off. The timing could be just a coincidence. Simpson is quite a rambler--for a lawyer, it seems.

Nonetheless, here are the two occurrences in the transcript. Curious to hear what you think:

From PAGES 7 and 8
A= witness (Dana) Jill Simpson
Q= Mr. Broderick-Sokol, Majority Counsel


A Okay. I guess I would start around 1979 or '80. My
sister worked at George Bush Senior's bank in Houston at the

(page break)

River Oaks Bank & Trust and so she recruited me to help. I
mean -- and I don't know how much help, I mean, but I handed out stuff, put up signs and --

Q And I was raising my hand. That's why the witness
stopped.

Just to jump in, just to really run through the
campaigns. That would probably do it I think.


Then again:

Page 92-93
A Oh, I want to tell you it has been very stressful,
and it's been difficult for my family. People have
challenged that we're Republicans. My mother was on some
kind of business council at some point where the President
would invite people, you know, to come up for dinners and
stuff like that, and she never came, but she got -- you
know, she always got the invitations and all that, and
people have said, you know, "Jo," they say, "you're not a
good Republican." I mean she had all kinds of awards in her
office, when she was an accountant, from Tom DeLay, and I
mean -- and when I say "awards," you know, plaques and stuff because Mr. DeLay sent out a lot of that kind of stuff, and so she -- it's caused her a lot of embarrassment.

My sister, she -- she loves the Bushes, I mean, and
always has. I mean she worked for Mr. Bush before he --

Ms. Lynch (Minority Counsel, Crime Subcommittee): I think we've reached the point where the question is answered here.

The Witness: -- at River Oaks Bank and Trust, so --

Mr. Broderick-Sokol: Okay. I think I just --
The Witness. -- and that's been hard on her, too.

(page break)

Mr. Broderick-Sokol. Okay.

The Witness. So, yes, it's been hard on my whole
family.

Mr. Broderick-Sokol. Okay. With that, I'm done.
Why don't we go off the record.

FYI: River Oaks Bank had a fire in June 1991. The BCCI scandal occurred around this time, I believe. George H. W. Bush was already in the White House.

from Disaster Recovery Journal
http://www.drj.com/drworld/content/w1_124.htm

Thursday, June 6, 1991, was a normal banking day at the River Oaks Bank in Houston, Texas, until 7:30 that evening when fire alarms sounded.
The shrieking alarms forced employees from the building and company officials into a disaster recovery mode — even though the company’s disaster recovery and business continuity plan wasn’t fully operational at the time and had never been tested.
“We had just converted to our current system (IBM AS-400) in November, 1990,” explained John Q. Kershner, senior vice president of River Oaks Bank. “We were scheduled to do a test of our disaster recovery facility in July. Instead, we got to do our test early — in a live mode.”

Rob is telling everyone Up Front that he doesn't want a "30 Years in Prison" PIN for Conspiring to Obstruct/Subvert 'federal' Justice.

Rileys-->Canary-->Rove-->Bush-->(Gonzo?)-->PIN-->Judge/Prosecutors-->Siegelman

When things become as complicated and contorted as the comments above seem to make them, I have to believe that there is not much of substance.

Certainly nothing to prosecute as long as people remember to say "Well I am not really sure about that..., but it might have or might not have happened..." in sworn testimony. The Fitzgerald Lesson will be long remembered.

The Shit Stain Jodi Lesson... or seven steps to willful ignorance

#1 I don't believe it. #2 It's too complicated. #3 I don't believe it. #4 Don't waste time reading closely and developing an undestanding of the essential part of the story that has not yet been explicitly explained. #5 Don't believe it. #6 Don't vet your analysis and pov or solicit feedback from commentors with subject matter experience, it's too complicated and I don't believe it. #7 Nothing is important except the things that are important to me.

pdaly -- Do the 1991 news reports indicate whether any records were lost? If I'm not mistaken banks tend to keep backup records offsite. It is curious that Simpson's questioner was prompted by the bank comment to go off record at that moment.

Hi Phred,

I don't know the answer to your question. In that article I linked to, they said the back up tapes were not yet completed when they had to evacuate the building. One person John Q. Kershner, senior vice president of River Oaks Bank was allowed into the bank after the fire to complete the back up data of the previous day's transctions 'by hand.' The new computer system required some sort of instructions to be entered by a human in order to finalize transactions. He is described as a somewhat brave hero, having to undergo a physical exam before donning an anti-asbestos suit and entering the building.
"Kershner was selected. At 6 p.m. he entered the building and by 10:30 p.m. had completed the task."
The article does not say whether information was lost in the fire nor did it speculate whether by having one person in the room, information could or could not be altered.

The committee's major and minority counsel both seemed quick redirect every time Simpson grabbed the mike and began to run with the blurb about Bush Sr's bank. Grab that mike! Stop her!

Hi pdaly -- thanks for the follow up. Sure is odd, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for more references to River Oaks Bank as the Simpson/Siegelman tale unfolds...

I don't know if this is the same John Kershner but the timeframe fits:

From the Pres. Reagan archives
http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/audiovisual/whtv1984.html

Date 5/30/1984
Control Number 06270-4T-W297-G59c
Tape Number G59
Title Trip to Colorado. President Reagan Presents CINC Trophy to Cadets First Class Marty Louthan, Michael Kirby, JOHN KERSHNER [my emphasis]. Falcon Stadium USAF Academy
Time Counter Reading 23:38-26:09
Sound Type SD
Personal Reference President Reagan, Marty Louthan, Michael Kirby, JOHN KERSHNER [my emphasis]
Geographic Reference Colorado Springs, Colorado
Access Restrictions None
Date 5/30/1984
Control Number 06270-4T-W297-G59d
Tape Number G59
Title Trip to Colorado. President Reagan is given Jersey. Falcon Stadium USAF Academy

Nope, wrong John. I should not be confused with the brave man above. Sorry PHRED.

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