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May 19, 2007


this is really nice investigative reporting.

re the first paragraphs,

has eid been after you with lawyers?

i completely agree with your sense
of the connection between the eid
letter on behalf of the tribe, and
the "team abramoff" lobbying
efforts, here EW. . . and, a great
"connect-the-dots" piece. well-done. . .

i actually think, though, that the
length of time of overlap is pretty
much a non-issue -- the issue is that
eid did the work, at all. a "few" (he he!)
experience- based notes, here, if i might:

(1) at large law-firms, like greenberg
traurig ("GT"), if one rain-maker (abramoff)
asks another attorney (eid) to write a letter
for him, and handle the discussions, it is
a very clear sign of a close working relation-
-- how long it "lasts", matters far
less than that it exists -- these are self-
-of-association. . .

so, i.m.o., it is not likely that mr. eid
was simply "required by some executive
" to take this assignment -- he was
selected, based on mutual affinity. . . that is
the way it works, in almost every large law firm
i've ever worked for -- they admired his work,
and asked for him -- the "they"?

team abramoff.

(2) his "few" months may be accurate -- as ambramoff
exited, he may have actually had his last day in the
office, on the clock, more than a month prior to his
official end-of-employment date. again, based on my
experience in large law firms, there are lots of
reasons related to benefits calculations, profit-share
vesting-calculations, etc. . . that often lead to situ-
ations where "the departed" are not actually coming
into the office for as long as 45 days prior to
their actual "last day" of employment. . .

now, i haven't looked for anything to disprove
this admitted-supposition
of mine, but i
do think it likely that ambramoff left GT
"earlier" than his final day of employment.

i mean, look at the cloud he would have been under.

(3) so, i think THIS -- the bolded part from eid's
carefully-worded statement of thursday -- is
the best lede on this finely-reported story:

". . .The reason for the hold-up in naming
a new U.S. Attorney in Colorado had nothing
to do with background checks or investigations,
but with the politics of whittling down the list
of the three finalists recommended and supported
by Colorado's two U.S. Senators. . .

. . .because we now know (thanks to your reports of
last evening!) that BOTH of colorado's senators
did NOT get their first choices. so, it seems
clear -- at least to me, anyway -- that eid was
being "rewarded" for something; and
that reward was coming from outside of colorado. . .

hmmm. . . that is the lede, i think.
[love the colorado connection, btw!]

just my $0.02.

-- nolo

um, not to be pendantic or defend a member of the A-team, but, I think you're parsing the meaning of few too closely. Personally, I consider "a couple of" to be two. I would not consider "a few" to be less than three, since "a couple" is more precise than "a few" if you are referring to two. Of course "a few" should be less than "a half-dozen," and probably also less than "several" but I have been guilty of thinking of "few" as "three or four." but closer to three than five. If he pushed it to "almost five" than I wouldn't think of that as "a few."

As for the lobbying, good work, sadly.

I'm with kt,as few means more than two, but maybe not more than 6. Especially when you are talking about months. But the real point is the lobbying that Eid did. Writing a letter to a gov't official probably does count--it certainly would it we were talking about the conflict-of-interest rules that bar working on an issue for x years after leaving government.

I said a week or two ago that I think BushCo's greatest vulnerability here is that they messed with one of the Senate's sacred patronage perks. That will do them in with just enough GOP Senators, and this is a classic example of it.

And the failure to appreciate the importance of the patrtonage perk to Senators is, of course, a testament to the inexperience of Goodling et al. and the total disdain whith which Rove et al. approach Congress.


You raise an interesting prospect, that USA spots (such as CO) could have been vetted through non-WH sponsors, such as the A-team.

I could see WH removing Lam to obstruct justice in the Foggo/et. al. case. I could see Rove putting a goon like Griffin in Arkansas to bedevil Hillary.

The idea that USAs might be up for sale to influence specific case outcomes in some jurisdictions would round out the set of evil machinations. It would help explain how the USA target list got up to 30.

Speaking of which, I would still like more follow up on the tobacco litigation interference....Anybody hear anything further about that?

Maybe I'm being naive but isn't writing a letter to a government official on bahalf of a client of your law firm one of the things that a lawyer does as part of his or her work? Are you saying that any such contact counts as "lobbying" and that the person in question must register as a "lobbyist?" I'd like to see where in the canon of ethics it says you have to do that.

I would argue that writing a letter in itself means nothing as far as lobbying is concerned.

Now the contents of the letter may indicate lobbying, or not.

I am sure that there are probably definitions of "lobbying." There must be.

Or anytime someone expresses an opinion or an inquiry to someone else, they are in danger of (gasp) being a lobbyist.

Oh yes. on few.

My little handheld Franklin says
few: not many, a small number

Looking at various other definitions, I would say
2 or more, but less than 6.

I believe that sometimes when you don't know (or can't remember) about the time of the beginning and the end of a period of time, you try to be more vague but still correct.

Is from the 23rd of June to the 5th of July counted as two months? It certainly isn't 60 days, but it is parts of 2 months.

You could say that is 2 months or less than a month, or a week or so, or so many days, or,... and so what?

Well, I see that a few of you have caused Marcy to make an update.....

I would feel better... ...after you with lawyers?

the advertisement at the bottom of his carefully parsed denial was:
"Gunshot Ringtones"


Sorry for my apparently twisted definition of "few."

But as to teh definition of lobbyist--Troy Eid registered as a lobbyist for Convergsys, so he was undoubtedly a lobbyist with 3 members of Team Abramoff.

As to the Norton letter, it would be interesting to see if the Mashpee were charged for the letter, and if so via what account. But the matter was one that was a central lobbying issue in Abramoff's relationship with the tribe.

The whole point of this post, though, is that Eid engaged in at least two lobbyist-related issues--neither of them related to the environmental law he says he was practicing--for clients of Jack Abramoff's. Again, I'm not saying he did anything wrong here. But his repeated attempts to underplay the connection between him and Abramoff--extending so far as to hide his registered lobbyist activities--don't provide confidence that this was completely innocent.

As far as Eid writing a letter to Norton, his law firm was a registered lobbyist for the client. However, Eid was not listed as one of the registered lobbyist. Also, Eid specifically discussed an issue for which GT had been hired, i.e., federal recognition.

One thing which bothers me is Bill Leone's even making a "firing" list, as he was only acting USA - all DoJ needed to do was appoint a permanent replacement, and Leone would revert back to #2. Why the need to force him out altogether?

I'm still looking into Eid's connections with Holland and Hart (big Denver lobbying/law firm.) Tom Sansonetti and Bill Myers joined H&H when Eid was at GT - in fact, all three were El Paso Gas lobbyists fighting against tribal sovereignty and energy rights-of-way on Indian land. Myer's deputy in the Interior Solicitor's office (Matt McKeown) is now acting Assistant Attorney General of the DoJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), the position Sansonetti held from 2001 - 2005, and more recently vacated by Sue Ellen Wooldridge, aka, Mrs. J. Steven Griles, indicted former #2 at Interior. The Denver USA office is considered one of the most important to resource extraction industries, and as such, AAG of ENRD would be heavily consulted as to the USA. In 2006, that would have been Sue Ellen Wooldridge, also former Interior Solicitor and Dep. Chief of Staff and Counsellor to non-other than Colorado native Gale Norton. Yes, an incredibly incestous crew, DoI and DoJ's ENRD. In fact, energy lobbyist Sansonetti was head of the transition team which originally staffed Interior, including the selection of Norton. So there was no way these guys were going to put in one of their own. That would be Eid.

(BTW, Sansonetti and Myers have their own Abramoff connections, but I guess here isn't the place to go into that.)

I finally got my piece on this up this morning, Marcy, as after I emailed you the press release, my computer crashed when I'd almost finished the post. Stupid me for not saving.

So there was no way these guys were going to put in one of their own. That would be Eid.

Oops -that should have read, "So there was no way these guys were NOT going to put in one of their own. That would be Eid."

following Albert Falls:
You raise an interesting prospect, that USA spots (such as CO) could have been vetted through non-WH sponsors, such as the A-team.

If they dreamed of deposing thirty, just who did they envision replacing them?
I hope the committee asks Monica for yet another list... WHO were the replacements?

I hope the committee asks Monica for yet another list... WHO were the replacements?

I'm particularly interested in the replacements for other resource-rich fed/indian land states: AZ, NM, NV, and WY. Okay, CDCA too. We already know who got placed in Utah (Tolman).

My vote on the "few" issue (btw, the references don't always precisely agree with me but are not inconsistent with my take, and definitely support "few"):

Few: 2-3, reference: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/few

Several: 4-7, reference: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/several

Many: >7, referrence: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/many

Marcy - you are correct :-)


Interesting question. In the one known list of replacements, none of the resource-rich states' USAs are on there yet.

Myer's deputy in the Interior Solicitor's office (Matt McKeown) is now acting Assistant Attorney General of the DoJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD), the position Sansonetti held from 2001 - 2005, and more recently vacated by Sue Ellen Wooldridge, aka, Mrs. J. Steven Griles, indicted former #2 at Interior. The Denver USA office is considered one of the most important to resource extraction industries, and as such, AAG of ENRD would be heavily consulted as to the USA. In 2006, that would have been Sue Ellen Wooldridge, also former Interior Solicitor and Dep. Chief of Staff and Counsellor to non-other than Colorado native Gale Norton.

Jeebus, that is incestuous. Though note that Eid was first nominated in 2005, so perhaps under Samsonetti.

Oh, one more thing, MB.

I look at the discussion of replacements for Domenici here. I'm guessing--though I'd love to confirm it--that Domenici wanted to replace Iglesias with Pat Rogers, one of the guys who was clamouring to replace him.

But here's what's interesting. On December 14, the WH recommended a replacement for Iglesias. And apparently Domenici hesitated. That's almost surely not Rogers, since Domenici later recommended him and had been pushing him in the past (unless Domenici was just pushing Rogers to be a good soldier). But if the overriding goal in a replacement candidate would be someone who would take trumped up cases against Democrats, Rogers seems like he'd be ideal.

So whom did the WH recommend in mid-December? (Which, of course, Sampson denied under oath).

What about Marco Gonzales? State Chair of Viva! Bush-Cheney, and another lobbyist for El Paso Gas. Plus, he lost out on Attorney General to Iglesias' #2 man - probably no love loss there.

And, no relation to Alberto.

Jeebus, that is incestuous. Though note that Eid was first nominated in 2005, so perhaps under Samsonetti.

I'll have to look at the timing, but it could have been Kelly Johnson, as she took over when Sansonetti resigned. She was the one, with Kyle Sampson, who had Tom Slonaker fired for testifying honestly on the trust and against terminating the advisory council. Btw, Johnson now works for Holland and Hart in their DC office.

Wooldridge took over in October, 2005.

Sansonetti resigned in April 8, 2005.

And forgot to mention, Kelly Johnson is an El Paso lobbyist as well (that makes Bill Myers (former Bush nominee for the 9th Circuit), Tom Sansonetti, Kelly Johnson, Troy Eid and former Domenici aide, Marco Gonzales.)

Finally found it - Allard was purportedly pressured to by unnamed GOP bigwigs to submit Eid's name in mid-December, 2004; Allard only wanted to submit one, Stu VanMeveren, Larimer County DA. Once Eid name was submitted, he became the automatic front runner, because of his connections.

So Sansonetti would have still been at DoJ-ENRD, and Wooldridge newly installed as Interior Solicitor. While the initial Abramoff scandal had begun to unroll, most people weren't yet all that interested, as it was only about us Indians - that was because McCain had done his job properly starting in May, 2004, and buried most of the juicy, Administration-related stuff until after the November election. The involvement of Reed, Norquist, Griles, Ney, Delay, etc., etc., really didn't start to come out until early 2005. So it's in that environment that we should consider Eid's nomination. All these guys knew they were on the hook for a ton of corruption and malfeasance, but they either thought they were golden boys and safe from being held accountable, or, they just didn't know how much would come out, and figured they'd then stack the cards in their favor. So putting loyal Bushies in place, particularly in key areas, looked mighty appealling.

As I've said, I don't think there's one answer for all the fired and/or replaced USA - I think we need to look at them case-by-case, rather than using a general cookie-cutter (such as JMM and "voter-supression".)

From the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia:

lobbying, practice and profession of influencing governmental decisions, carried out by agents who present the concerns of special interests to legislators and administrators. The term originated in the United States of the 1830s, when representatives of interest groups tended to congregate in the lobbies of Congress and state legislatures. It is now used in a broader sense to include attempts to influence any governmental actions.

Let's get that one straight [Jodi]: the letter from Eid to Norton was an attempt by a employee of a registered lobbying firm to influence the decision-making of a federal government official. The only issue on this matter that is in contention is Eid's registration with the federal government as an individual lobbyist working on the Mashpee account.

I had looked at the spreadsheet posted on line by the House Oversight Committee which outlined the contacts with the White House related to Abramoff; I suspect the search terms were narrow enough that contacts related to the Mashpee's contract were included in the spreadsheet, since Norton is not in the White House per se, or the content may have been redacted as non-responsive to the specific query. Perhaps a note to Waxman's office is warranted?

Another important facet to note is the interrelationship of the Nortons of Colorado -- Gale Norton, Tom Norton, Jane Bergman Norton -- and Eid's circumstances. Are the Nortons family members? Perhaps someone from Colorado can tell us. Was Eid placed in Colorado to help run interference for Jane Bergman Norton to run for higher office, who attended Eid's investiture? Was Colorado on the list of states in play on Scott Jenning's presentation to the GSA?

Oh nuts, forgot to mention that Holland and Hart is the same firm for which Colorado's former Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell also worked; seems that H&H specializes in both energy and Native American issues.

Rayne, I've made this error before as well, so I correct in all kindness. Campbell works for Holland and Knight. Very big Indian Law firm. Somewhat better reputation on Indian issues than rape and pillage Holland and Hart.

Oh, and Jane and Gale are sisters, and, if I recall (since I'm looking at that law program), both graduates of UColorado law school, the meanest, baddest, pro-extraction industry program in the West. They're also both "graduates" of the Leadership Program of the Rockies (Gale, 1989, Jane, 1994), a Colorado-based right-wing indoctrination program. Troy Eid, btw, was a 1994 grad, Italia Federici, 1996.

Thanks, MBW. I think I searched for both names and came up with something that matched them, but perhaps the latter document was Holland and Knight, not Hart.

I couldn't readily find anything that confirmed that Jane and Gale were sisters; maybe instead of searching by Norton (married names?) I should have looked under Bergman...running to do that now.

Are their spouses related to Tom Norton, I wonder? Awfully cozy, the whole mess...

Oh cripe, not that I don't believe you, MBW, but I still can't find anything that confirms Gale Norton is Jane Bergman Norton's sister. Wikipedia says Gale's married to John Hughes, and I see nothing to tell me she was born Bergman or divorced from a Norton.

However...while poking around, I ran across this bit from Provincetown MA. Did Norton stick her nose in to help another Bergman, maybe Jane's brother, in regards to Cape Cod seashore advisory commission?

I think Norton is their maiden name.

According to her bio for State of CO, Jane is married to Michael Norton -- coincidentally, a former U.S. Attorney for the same state.

Is Michael Norton Gale's sibling, making Jane Bergman Norton Gale's sister-in-law?

From SquareState.net (the Colorado section). I remember, too, seeing in the Univ. of Colorado alumni section.

There are references for Gale Norton in Who's Who back to 1994 or 1995, maybe earlier. Those might give parents' names, and also possibly a high school name (leading to yearbooks).
Wiki says she was born in Wichita, KS.

You've convinced me. I'm wrong.

I know Gale was a near-prodigy, graduating from College and Law School at a very young age. She's only around 53, and yet worked in Reagan's Administration in the early '80s (under Watt, her mentor at the Mountain States Legal Foundation.)

Okay, not so young for law school (24). I just can't get my memory to work right today. Usually I'm a lot better.

Hmm. I think we need to do more legwork on this. I think I buy the idea of Jane Bergman Norton possibly being the sister-in-law to Gale Norton, and former U.S. Attorney Michael Norton possibly being Gale's brother.

Particularly after finding that he was the USA involved in Rocky Flats cases (ugh, perhaps the environmental assault runs in the family?) and reading his ZoomInfo biography.

Theory: Gale Norton can't run for office any longer for CO after the scandal, but Jane Bergman Norton is still viable. They have to have one of these folks at a fairly high level because of the size and impact of the issues (baggage?) certain corporate and political entities hold in CO. So they bring in a fairly heavy hitter with political cred (Troy Eid isn't exactly a logical choice for USA based on law enforcement background) to help lay the groundwork to get the state ready for Jane to run against Salazar. ???

It's funny, I think I know more about Italia Federici than I do Norton, as she (Norton) never seemed like a true central figure in the Abramoff-CREA scandal. More a figure-head at Interior; Griles as COO held the real power.

Ugh. Jane Norton's involved in International Foundation for Election Systems. What a tangled, nasty mess this is; how do we tell if this is just resume padding, or something worse?

Gale's parents: Dale Bentsen and Anna Jacqueline (Lansdowne) Norton

I think he was born about 1925; she was born in 1927 (found her in the 1930 census).
There's a record that says Gale went to HS in Thornton, CO.

Ok, I just got to remark. And nothing bad, no hidden meanings, or anything else implied in this.

You folks revel in this kind of scratching about!

You folks revel in this kind of scratching about!

As a long-time lurker, I'm thankful for all of the fantastic analysis. Aren't you?

P J Evans -- thanks for the info on Gale; can you scratch about and look into Jane Ellen Bergman Norton next? And her spouse Michael Norton? You might even want to start with Mr. Norton first.

I wonder if Eid was brought in to start suppressing Hispanic vote if Salazar runs again, just can't get around the idea that there's a reason that glues all these players together.

If Eid was brought in for voter suppression, I would think it might, judging from the timing (December, 2005) have been to benefit his former boss, Bill Owens, whom, at the time, was still a pretty hot ticket item and was contemplating a run for Allard's seat (Allard all along has suggested he was sticking to his "term limits" pledge.)

I can't figure out why Eid was such a hot item in Colorado - he didn't come from an old or powerful family - in fact, his dad was a poor immigrant from Egypt (hence the non-typical surname.)

Rayne, here's what I've found on Mike Norton:

American University’s Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C., J.D., 1968
Colgate University, Hamilton, New York, B.A. 1960
Currently at Burns, Figa & Will, P.C., in Greenwood Village, CO

There's a directory that has him and his family in Englewood, CO, with his mother Jane L, b 1914 (Mike was b around 1938).

MBW -- that makes a lot of sense, but I wonder whether the Hispanic vote would be quite as much in play with a Owens race versus a Salazar race? given the 2008 window, it's likely Owens -- or Jane Norton.

Any chance Eid's placement also had to do with cases in the docket, like this one?

P J Evans -- thanks, that sure makes it unlikely that Mike is directly related to Gale by blood, unless remote cousins.

"Few" is almost definitely more than two. A "couple of", can be more than two sometimes as well, but I take to mean "approximately two".

"Few" is also a very relative term. Out of a 12 month period, I would expect "four" to be really streching the the definition. When you are talking about a total number in the thousands or millions, a "few" out of that number can mean significantly more than 3 or 4 (but a precise speaker would then say "a few dozen/hundred/thousand").

Oh, geez! I'd forgotten about that one, Rayne. Bobby Maxwell and the other MMS and IMS whistleblowers. That also reminds me that we should be looking at what GWB did to the 10th Circuit, where he's placed six judges (more than half of the non-senior status justices.) Check out what Sen. Leahy had to say about Timothy Tymkovich. And then you've got Michael McConnell.

MBW -- that kind of case certainly encourages a premium on attorneys with background in energy, yes? Will look at the 10th later this evening; they must have been gearing up to do something similar in the 9th since it took the heaviest hit during Gonzo's Pearl Harbor Massacre.

MBW - just had a passing thought...I don't have Lexis/Nexis, can't check, want to know if there's some way to locate all cases by defendant or by plaintiff. I'm thinking about MMS-related cases, in particular, but possibly cases by/against energy companies that are being handled at federal or state or local level. If we mapped them out, would we see a pattern?

Sorry, Rayne, I haven't responded, but we're on the road again during the day. The Ninth Circuit is clearly critical, and Bush has tried for years to get William Myers (yes, the former Interior Solicitor and current El Paso Gas lobbyist) confirmed. Both the 9th and 10th are the oil, gas and mining states.

As far as locating files by plaintiff/defendant - I'm know there's a legal website which might probably can do it, but I can't remember the name right now. I'm sure it will come to me, but any of our legal eagles can jump in ;-).

There is a resource called Shepherd's something or other... I remember learning "to shepherdize cases" and check the pockets in the first quarter of law school, but that was decades ago.

Apparently some of that research can be done online, and it can be more up-to-date than waiting for the printer. This article has some links which might lead to the resources you need:


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