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May 09, 2007


And what is it about the plan that Rove's not even willing to share with loyal soldiers like Bond and Kyl?

Simple, Karl wasn't happy with the results of the traditional way of appointing USAs. If your goal is to put your own players in those positions, you sure aren't going to go through all that trouble and then just hope that your 'loyal soldiers' won't knife you in the back.

As a bonus, you get to telegraph to your soldiers that their opinions mean squat, just keep that rubber stamp handy.


This is a key part of the scandal. It's not just about the "permanent Republican majority", it is about ensuring that the Rove wing of the party maintains control of an autocratic Presidency. With the exception of Carol Lam, Sampson and Goodling, et. al., were more than willing to provide outplacement services to the fired USAs. Of course, some (Wong Yang) got better deals than others. Undermining the role of the Senate was key to the whole effort. Notice how nobody ever contradicted Sampson's repeated emphasis on using the Patriot Act to get the replacements in. He never comes out and says that they would prefer to ignore Republican Senators, but the implication is clear.


I agree with your post, but I am curious about your assertion that a "permanent Republican majority" is somehow different than an autocratic Presidency. How could any permanent majority (i.e. without viable opposition) not be autocratic? Just curious how you distinguish this..

I keep seeing religious zealotry as being behind many of these things. Can Karl have made the calculus that to make a permenent Republican majority would be easier if it were the thumping-wing of the right that was calling the shots? While not a zealot himself, might Karl not see them as easier for him to influence, and as making far fewer demands on power than, say, the fiscal conservative wing? After all, for them, you have to be responsible, with the sheep, all you need to do is spread the hay.

As WO writes above it was about "ensuring that the Rove wing of the party maintains control of an autocratic Presidency". IMO it wasn't even about the Repub party it was all about Rove cronyism to ensure they were above the law and all opponents would be investigated and harrased by DoJ. In addition it was about stacking the courts so that they would now have court aproval for their "monarchy". This would then give them carte blanche to loot the treasury and terrorize opponents ensuring a compliant and subjugated populace. In other words a "legal" coup. What they didn't count on was some of their handpicked vassals were utterly incompetent in executing the coup plan and folks like Josh Marshall and EW and Waxman and Conyers and Leahy did not get the letter. Maybe they'll succeed yet in not being held to account as they jam the process. I wonder if and when the screams will get to a crescendo for a special counsel and grand jury or even better impeachment.

Here's Josh Marshall's latest take on this:

As noted below, we now know that there were not 8 but 9 US Attorneys fired last year by the Department of Justice -- the earliest, Todd Graves in Kansas City, way back in March 2006, right after the passage of the revised USA Patriot.

Now, there's a lot more we want to know about what happened here. And our reporters at TPMmuckraker are working the story as we speak to bring you more.

But here's one nugget that's really got me interested. By his own account, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) has known Graves was fired since March 2006. Meanwhile the Senate Judiciary Committee has been investigating the firings story for three months.

Graves's ouster is highly relevant to that investigation. Did Bond not share this information with the Committee? If not, why not? Did committee investigators know conclusively, as Bond did, that Graves was fired. And have they spoken to him since the news broke last night?

Here's Graves' statement, released last night, from TPM Muckraker:

"This would be humorous if we were not talking about the United States Department of Justice. First, you tell me that DOJ staffers were making secret hit lists and my name was on one of them. Then, you tell me that a staffer for Missouri’s senior Senator had a hit list so secret that not even the Senator knew about it.
I was an elected state prosecutor before I was appointed US Attorney. As a prosecutor I was always fiercely independent--I just called balls and strikes. For instance, when I gave now Senator Claire McCaskill her non-prosecution letter in 2004, I didn’t ask for permission, I just did the right thing. I thought that was my job.

When I first interviewed in 2001 with the United States Attorney screening committee at DOJ, I was asked to give the panel one attribute that describes me. I said independent. Apparently, that was the wrong attribute.

Public office is not an entitlement. I served nearly 12 years as a public prosecutor. It was a privilege. I loved every minute, but it is far better to take a graceful exit than to do something that you should be ashamed of."

The folks at TPM are asking, what might Graves be "ashamed" to do?

What, specifically, did the higher-ups at the DOJ ask Graves to do that he would be ashamed to do?

I would like to see Graves asked this question.


I think Rove, et. al., realize that it'll always be easier to win the Presidency than control Congress. That is, the permanent majority they really want is a majority of the electoral college. With that, they can copy the Roman dictators that transformed themselves into emperors by making the Roman Senate irrelevant.

The formula works like this. First, you drum up a war for no reason other than to ensure your guy a second term. Then, you turn the DOJ into your own little oppo research house / corrupt incumbent protection racket. Rove doesn't really care about Cunningham, Doolittle, Renzi, Domenici, etc. He just wants to own them so they'll acquiesce to their own irrelevancy.

All the answers in the above comments.

1) Denigrate and undermine Congressional oversight systematically, at every opportunity, tradition be damned.

2) Bypassing Congress, place only the most loyal Bushies as storm troopers, ones whose aspirations are only to serve The One rather than the public, who are unquestioning authoritarian followers.

3) Maintain a permanent Republican majority, even if it's the thin one that exists in reality in the Senate (if there was a true Dem majority, we'd be exiting Iraq now - think about it), by ensuring storm troopers in the field are in place and prepared to shake down enough progressive voters to maintain status quo.

4) Manipulate the judiciary by moving proven storm troopers into judgeships, replacing them as USA's with others like them.

5) Strike down attempts to undermine the previous 4 steps with these judges as necessary.

6) Rinse, repeat, through 2009 until another Republican president and Congress like the one we have now are reseated in 2012. During the impending Democratic POTUS of 2008 election, maintain the stagnation in Congress so that no progressive legislation is passed while obstructing attempts to place any progressives in DOJ appointments. Stagnant Congress or a slight majority can be achieved by targeting key races outlined in presentation to be given at all government departments by Scott Jennings.

7) By way of a continued scant majority or split Congress, ensure that the next SCOTUS seats are filled with storm trooper-types, so that any contest like that of 2000 will be decided in favor of the Republican Party.

Seems pretty straightforward to me.

William Ockham and all - For what it is worth, Sampson, Goodling et. al. gave no outplacement assistance to Paul Charlton in Arizona. He appears, after some time, to have landed on his own at a local Phoenix firm by the name of Gallagher & Kennedy.

Rove and Cheney have gone to enormouse [sic] lengths to diss precedents that limit presidential authority to constitutional norms. Cheney/Addington's encyclopedia of signing statements is only among the most public examples, but they suggest how thorough, ruthless and determined is this effort. Descriptions of an imperial presidency were once considered hyperbole. If ever valid, that description is no longer accurate; it's what we have and what those men continue to fight for.

Giving a Bronx cheer to even their most loyal Senators is, I think, the only way these yobbos know how to act. But undercutting traditional Senatorial perquisites is a desired end in itself.

Mr. B loves to say that his critics are attempting to micromanage his failed Iraqi peace. (His war was over years ago.) But those who put him in office are determine to micromanage a revolution, most of all by making it "legal".

Here is url for the "Secret Memo" where AG delegated his authority. The document is at TPM


Rayne, what about adding an 8th commandment: Make sure you have the goods on anyone you appoint (remember J. Edgar?), so you can ensure that they are at your beck and call whenever you (beck and) call.

William --

Thanks for your reply, and I agree that they appear to be following the Roman model of using fear to get the population to go along with authoritarian power. All I was trying to suggest was that I do not see how a permanent majority can avoid being authoritarian, since any opposition (either from within or without) would be crushed.

Whether Rove is personally stacking the deck (which I believe he has done his utmost to do) or not is not what I'm trying to get at. Republicans have unabashedly used the phrase "Permanent Republican Majority" as if that can exist in a functioning democratic system. All I'm saying is that any Permanent Majority is autocratic by definition.

It would be refreshing to have the MSM treat the whole notion of a PM as the polar opposite of our democratic system. Either you can have Democracy or you can have a PM (of whatever sort), but it is not possible to have both.

Then it becomes clear why the rule of law collapses in such a system. It must, in order to preserve the majority. And then, all the scandals fall into place. From this point of view then, the PM is exactly what this is all about.

How it is carried out and by whom are the details, while it is the PM that is the ideological goal itself.

Undercutting the Senate's authority is an end in itself. The Senate could one day fall into Democratic hands, even if the Republicans controlled the judiciary, presidency and the lower house. The Senate shares investigatory authority with the house; its advice and consent is also required on many issues, staffing most of all.

But these guys don't do subtle. Nuance and cooperation to them are undesirable, feminine traits associated with sharing, not POWER. So beating down Senators, like wives and detainees, is their preferred method.

A method whose kissin' cousin is blaming the victim. Like those poor dumb bastards who purposely, purposely chose to live in hurricane and tornado prone areas (substitute at will, choose to work in mines, popcorn factories, shipyards, etc.) They did it to themselves, and the govt is not obligated to bail them out. (Unless of course they are corporate welfare statists; then, the govt IS obligated to bail them out, make them profitable, grant them immunities - "for they know not what they do". Ad nauseum.)

Hey folks, take a look at the "Secret Memo" I gave a url to above. It is a bizarre and circuitously illogical instrument, only made more so by the memorandum comprising the last two pages. There must be more, but it appears to me to be nothing more than a hidden cya document bogusly sanctioning White House political manipulation of Justice Department makeup.

"First, you drum up a war for no reason other than to ensure your guy a second term."

Well, another useful thing about "drumming up a war" is that you get all those tasty "war powers," plus you get to refer to yourself as a "war president." That seems to have some traction with 29% of the electorate.

I think they were really after the "war powers," and all that they could get by implying that this was a short but serious time frame: that the "safety of the US" really depended on throwing out constitutional protections.

The second term: easy pickings after you've thrown the Constitution overboard.


I see what you are driving at. We are in complete agreement. Although I think that some folks on the Republican side who use that term are just longing for the type of setup that the PRI used to have in Mexico while the Rove-Cheney faction clearly wants a more centralized autocracy.


The secret memo is even weirder when you compare it to Gonzales's written statement for tomorrow's hearing. Gonzales didn't trust the senior DOJ leadership to hire their own staff (he gave that job to Sampson and Goodling), but he expected Sampson to consult with them about US Attorneys. That is so obviously bullshit that I suspect Gonzales has just given up at this point.

WO - Agreed. The document doesn't even really assign the authority (or, critically, responsibility) because it seems to indicate decisions must still go through AG. In any normal case, if the AG wanted to delegate these functions, you would expect it to be delegated down the chain, ie through McNulty etc. Instead, the two individual selectively plucked for this duty, just happen to be Rovian Shopgirls (yep, I am going to apply that term to Sampson). I am sure EW is working away on something regarding this, and i will be pretty interested to see what she has to say.

As I said above, check out the corresponding memo that comprises the last two pages. The two people involved are a Paul Corts and a Michael Allen. The following was culled from the comment thread at TPM regarding Corts and Allen. For their lofty positions, they appear to be theocrats, but NOT lawyers. this is getting insane.

"Thanks for the links. Are Paul R. Corts and Michael H. Allen even lawyers? Doesn't sound like it.

Were Corts and Allen both with Palm Beach Atlantic University, a Florida Baptist school, before joining the DOJ?

Michael H. Allen's DOJ bio (http://www.usdoj.gov/jmd/biomikeallen.htm):

"Michael H. Allen is Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Policy, Management and Planning, for the Justice Management Division of the Department of Justice. He is responsible for oversight of the Office of General Counsel, Management and Planning Staff, Departmental Ethics Office, Office of Records Management Policy, Internal Review and Evaluation Office, and Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. He serves as Senior Procurement Executive for the Department. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Allen served as Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for a private university in West Palm Beach, Florida. He completed twenty-five years of service with the U.S. Navy as a Naval Flight Officer. Mr. Allen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from North Carolina State University and a Masters of Business Administration from New Hampshire College."

Paul R. Corts bio from the Associated Baptist Press (http://www.abpnews.com/927.article):

"DALLAS (ABP) -- Former Baptist college president Paul Corts has been named the fifth president of the 30-year-old Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.

The selection of Corts, who has served as assistant attorney general for administration for the U.S. Department of Justice since 2002, was announced March 31.

Prior to his work at the Department of Justice, Corts worked for nearly 12 years as president of Palm Beach Atlantic University, a Florida Baptist school. His brother Tom recently retired as president of Samford University, affiliated with the Alabama Baptist Convention.

Paul Corts previously served as president of Wingate University in North Carolina and held administrative and teaching positions at Oklahoma Baptist University and Western Kentucky University.

The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities is an association of more than 170 intentionally Christian institutions around the world. The council works to advance Christian higher education through institutions that relate "scholarship and service to biblical truth."

“I have known Dr. Corts for more than 15 years and have observed with admiration his excellent leadership abilities,” said David Dockery, president of Baptist-affiliated Union University in Jackson, Tenn., and chair of the CCCU board of directors. “He is a man of much wisdom and godly character, a devoted churchman and a brilliant leader.”

Corts succeeds CCCU president Bob Andringa, who announced his retirement last year. Corts will assume the office in June 2006 at the CCCU headquarters in Washington, D.C"

What the f...?

I think Rayne hits all the right points. But I'm not sure anyone is looking at the desperation underlying the whole episode. Josh's reporting establishes that the idea of taking over the USAs was ruminating in Rove's shop for quite some time, but when exeactly did they pull the trigger? At this point, it looks like Graves in MO, Wong Yang in Los Angeles and the guy in Minnesota (Heffelfinger?) were all forced out before the 11/06 elections. So, the administration did at least three defenestrations that we know of early on. And what was the reaction in the press? Zilch. No one picked up on what was happening.

After the GOP got hammered in November, however, there was a sea change in "the math." Whatever the specific impetus - fear, malice, just because they could - Rove decided they needed to act immediately and on a bigger scale. Within a couple of weeks they had canned Iglesias, Lam, et al. They did this knowing full well that the fallout was likely to get a bit heated - definitely more so than with their initial cannings. Sampson is quite upfront about this in his testimony and email. They obviously figured they could ride it out ("gum it to death" I believe is the operative term). They were wrong in judging the blowback, but what price have the paid so far?

Rove is no idiot. He realizes full well the grim position the GOP is in going into the 2008 elections. And let's not forget, elections are pretty much the only thing he cares about. The firings are ALL about 2008. And if he can keep even one or two Schlozmans or Griffins on the ground to issue indictments against Democrats in October 2008, he'll feel that he's gotten his money's worth. Gonzales, Goodling and the rest are just the collateral damage.

kkkarl's election math turns out to be as good as Fieth's "troop numbers" math

feith wanted to occupy Iraq with 30,000 soldier. right now 160,000 soldiers are failing to occupy Iraq

kkkarl was convinced that the repuglicans would hold control of the House and Senate in 2006. Repuglicans lost 7 Senate seats and 30 House seats

anybody else see a pattern of incompetence ???

Iraq is going to become a satalite of Iran, and the Democratic Party is going to enjoy 20 years of virtually uncontested rule in America

heck of a job kkkarl

Yeah, but freepat, what good is that gonna do that with a DOJ and SCOTUS stacked against us?

the DOJ and the SCOTUS will welcome the bushies with flowers

kkkarl says so, so it must be true

packing the DOJ has abu gonzo and kkkarl stuttering and sputtering, and even the repuglican Senators are disgusted. I'm sure abu gonzo ain't gonna survive, and kkkarl's indictment is going at 50-50 odds right now

what makes you think klkkarl is gonna do any better with the DOJ or the SCOTUS that he did with Iraq and Afghainistan ???

are you afraid these people are gonna turn "Competent" all the sudden ???

That "Christian college" pipeline would ensure that Monica and Kyle wouldn't actually have to ask any candidate about their affiliation or fervency of belief. Just stuff the government full of followers (sheep), and any order will be obeyed without question.

"Obedience, not sacrifice" was the biblical lesson.

There were people so happy when Bush was s-elected because now "God is in the White House". I wonder if they are still quite so pleased? Has anyone gone back to reinterview them?

No, just afraid that the damage may be already done and take a long time to correct.

lizard: a permenent Republican majority would be easier if it were the thumping-wing of the right that was calling the shots? While not a zealot himself, might Karl not see them as easier for him to influence, and as making far fewer demands on power than, say, the fiscal conservative wing?

I'm right there with you. And really, it's an obvious conclusion to make: by voluntarily assuming the evangelical label, these people have already proved that (a) they are not intellectually curious, (b) they are willing to let logic and facts take a backseat to doctrine, and (c) they're perfectly happy following orders. Perfect little Eichmanns, every one.

Yep, WO we agree, thanks again for the response. earlofhuntingdon I would just add that while undercutting the Senate may be an end in itself it also supports the whole Permanent Majority thing. However, I must point out that I don't consider the PM to include all Republicans, just the kool-aid drinking neo-cons that are on board with Rove&Cheney's imperial amibitions.

I don't personally believe the Senate to be in any real jeopardy yet, but Rove's dismissive treatment of Senators who are supposedly on his side, surely points to their end-game strategy. Fortunately, as freepatriot points out, these guys are shockingly incompetent.

And bmaz, thanks for the link to the secret memo. Any idea how those two got jobs at the DOJ without having any legal qualifications whatsoever? Obviously Monica would love those guys, but they must have "known someone" or "had a connection" and I'm just wondering who or what it was, especially since they were giving legal advice to Gonzales. They weren't exactly low level hires were they?

pinson 15:00 -- It didn't start with Graves or Heffelfinger. It started with Frederick Black in Guam. They got away with it, no repercussions in spite of the fact that an Abramoff scandal lay at the heart of the dismissal; they figured out how to bypass the Senate that they pointedly disrespected, implementing the necessary change in early 2006. From that point on, it was about preventing investigations and prosecutions; the option to manipulate vote outcome became important in 2006, when manipulation via other methods was not going to be as easy as it was in 2000, 2002 or 2004. It surely was in no small part about 2008, based on the presentation that Scott Jennings gave to Lurita Doan's staff at GSA; we have a strong correlation between dismissed USA's districts and identified key states. But the same presentation also pointed out that Repugs did poorly in districts with Republican scandals -- and slowing or stopping prosecutions could do as much for changing election outcomes as voter suppression via so-called voter fraud prosecution.

Yet more just in at TPMuckraker, putting Graves and Rovians at the Civil Rights Division in opposition:

According to the same knowledgeable source, over the last four years, Graves, a Republican himself, had two flaps with the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

The first, dating back to 2002, was not voting-rights related, but involved a cross-burning case where Graves helped negotiate a civil mediation. Graves hung up on the head of the Civil Rights Division [Ralph Boyd, Jr.?] at the time over a disagreement about the terms of the settlement.

In 2005, Graves again clashed with the Civil Rights Division when he declined to sign a letter outlining a voter-registration lawsuit against the State of Missouri pushed by Bradley Schlozman, then an assistant attorney general in charge of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division.

To me, this supports the idea that there's a tightening of ranks going on along with (or maybe even more than) particular strategies like voter disfranchisement or Native American robbery and extortion. As Graves said, he's got a non-koolaid drinking track record, in particular regarding one of the main political disciplinarians.

If that replacement guy's so valuable to them, and I don't doubt that he is, it does seem curious that they would send him out to western MO. Maybe in today's climate of malfeasance, they assume that he can continue his real work in DC, with ceremonial appearances in KC from time to time, while in the immediate crisis, the opposition is denied a guy who might have been able to get under the radar precisely because he doesn't have as much on his plate at the moment as some.

Its far worse then anyone thought. Look at what happened in Kansas and now the details about Georgia. Its time to hold a Truth and Reconciliation Commisssion. Schlozman and Gonzales have done to much damage to our nation:

"Bradley J. Schlozman worked with Tim Griffin, now US attorney for Arkansas and Karl Rove to misuse voting law enforcement to challenge the votes of African American soldiers deployed overseas and to develop the caging lists of 70,000 names and addresses of voters in largely African-American and Democratic areas of Florida during the 2004 election. The Justice Department refuses to identify the officials that added U.S. Attorney David Iglesias, of New Mexico to the list of US Attorneys to be targeted because Iglesias was refusing to bring pretext voter fraud indictments to interfere with Democrat voting by Hispanic and American Indian minorities. Both Bradley J. Schlozman and Tim Griffin were installed as US Attorneys under an unconstitutional use of the USA PATRIOT Act.

As head of the Civil Rights Division at USDOJ, Bradley J. Schlozman tried to implement a barrier to minorities voting in Georgia, the 2005 Georgia voter I.D. law that a federal judge compared to a Jim Crow-era poll tax. During his work in Georgia, Bradley J. Schlozman made connections with state lawmakers benefiting from reduced African American voting and was able to build for them the high level relationships that gave them protection from USDOJ law enforcement, including the False Claims Act investigation of Georgia GOP state representative David E. Ralston. US Attorney David Nahmias for Georgia and Assistant US Attorney Laura Kennedy Bomamder declined to prosecute the case even though the IRS filed tax liens against Rep. David E. Ralston for the false claims revealed by the complaint.


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