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August 21, 2007



In your next post please identify all the players by their jersey number, and please include a copy of the game program so we are able to not only identify the players, we will be able to tell in which game they are playing.

I'm getting confused

For the purpose of this article:

Henry Waxman: Chair of Government Reform Committee. The Committee is doing an investigation of Rove's politicization of the entire government.

Tom Davis: The ranking Republican on the same Committee. Davis, a Rep from northern VA, is likely to run for John Warner's Senate seat next year.

Scott Bloch: Head of Office of Special Counsel. That Office is also conducting an investigation of Rove's politicization of the entire government. Republicans used to like Bloch (because he ended the federal government's equal treatment of gays). But now they hate him. Davis, in particular, claims to be pissed at Bloch for the way he treated Lurita Doan--though his anger extends to a period when Bloch was already investigating Repulican corruption, so it might be a show to justify getting any emails of Bloch's that suggest Republican Congressmen are under investigation as well.

EW, what motivation do you imagine that Waxman would have to protect Davis? Just professional courtesy since they are both in the same club (the House) or do you imagine something more nefarious?


No clue at all--This is all speculation anyway. But it is rather curious that Waxman only subpoenaed the stuff after 2002.

My notes fairly unprocessed though broadly from the congressperson website, as well as developed by visiting a few employer websites March 19, 2007, around a week when ew wrote about Davis earlier. Davis's business background included executive niche at a N VA branch of a national company defense software for machine translation Grumman Litton aerospace, division Vice President and General Counsel of PRC, Inc. A UM Amherst grad, graduated as president of his class from the United States Capitol Page School following four years as a U.S. Senate Page; served as chair of the county board of supervisors Fairfax County, highly educated electorate there. Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee from 1998 to 2002; 2001 Energy and Commerce Committee, with a spot on the Subcommittee on Telecommunications.

Yeah, this is puzzling. If I were Waxman, after the egregious and obnoxious way Davis tried to derail certain hearings; I would want his freaking head on a stick.

EW, thanks for responding to Elliot Ness' request. As a dedicated lurker and fan, I do appreciate this kind of help in following the twists and turns you are so skilled at revealing!

Shouldn't they recuse themselves? If Bloch and Davis are investigating situations that involve them personally, why wouldn't they have to recuse themselves? How bizarre.

The fact that Waxman only asked for materials after 2002 is indeed interesting. While I was ecstatic that he became chair of this committee when the dems were elected, and while we were looking forward to it for years beforehand, I am now having my doubts about Waxman. In a recent interview he was asked about why he hasn't allowed Sibel Edmonds a public hearing and he claimed that he didn't recall ever saying he would. He's ingnored requests for answers from swarms of emails and calls to his office. It's strange and seemingly out of character for him. I wonder how much independence Waxman really has with this committee, or if he gets pressure from his leadership and perhaps elsewhere that influences what he can and cannot do.

I have to agree with Elliot Ness' comment at 19:33--this is getting confusing.
An individual's team jersey does not always predict correctly that player's actions.
Is he or she compromised?, easily spooked?, or really a mole for the other side?

At least Team Lieberman is an easy illustration of the concept. Webb was a harder example to wrap one's head around.
Perhaps we could learn from the neocon playbook and send progressives undercover to take the neocons down from within.

I would also like to hear more about the white elephant in the room: Homeland Security. When it was created it was touted as the largest government agency ever created. Created, I might add, under the watchful eye of Bush/Cheney. If BushCo can warp DoJ which had years to develop a professional moral code, how much more political warping must be going on over at the Dept. of Homeland Security. I have not heard stories about DHS in ...years? or has any scandal their escaped me (Katrina excepted?)

Waxman and Leahy's reticence to investigate is equally annoying. It is Sibel Edmonds' story all over again. Important information showing evidence of govt corruption brought to the appropriate oversight committess, only to have nothing come of it.

Monzie and Elliot Ness - I can't speak for EW, but I am pretty sure she will agree with me here. The primary reason a lot of us are here is that we consider this stuff to be of such critical importance that as many of the public as can possibly be reached must, in fact, be reached. If you and all the others understand what is going on, you will be motivated to tell others and so on. Our country depends right now on as many people as possible understanding all this complex stuff and getting the word out. To the extent that I know anything, please feel free to ask anytime. I think most all people here are like that. Don't be shy.

Why is Bloch now so unpopular with the Republicans in general? Maybe the answer is obvious -- because he's doing his job by investigating?

Tom Davis' reaction to Bloch's comment in his email (about Davis acting like defense counsel) seems extreme. Is that all it took for Davis to declare war on him? There has to be something else going on too. And besides, it's the truth, and Davis isn't the only Republican Congressman or Senator who acts more like a defense lawyer than an interrogator in hearings by all the committees. Cough, cough... Orin Hatch.

Looks like Davis may have hit into a double play.

This is Bloch's chance to step on the bag and turn a bombshell by giving Davis what he wants - an E-mail featuring Tom Davis...and Karl, Ken, Heather and Pete discussing how to 'get Iglesias,' or something like that...

Let's see if he makes a good throw to first...

I think Waxman knows that Davis will sabotage his work more so than he already has if he goes after Davis directly, by going after the pre-2002 election materials.

Bet you dollars to donuts that he's letting Bloch handle it; Iglesias already signaled his belief that Bloch was a white hat with his pursuit of a Hatch Act complaint against Rove via Bloch.

Davis had better be certain his name doesn't appear on any emails between Rove et al about the USA's or he is going to find himself in more hot water than Bloch might already be heating up for him. Obstruction, anybody?

Aside from anything Waxman might be doing with regard to Davis there is always the possibility that something else entirely different and unrelated drives his request. I suspect it will remain a mystery for some time else Waxman would've made it plain already.

Openly implicating Davis probably endangers every subpoena vote from here on in, and casts an extremely dark cloud over every meeting of the committee. He may actually get more done by agreeing to protect Davis (as long as he can, anyway) than by going where the evidence leads him. Perhaps especially true if Davis knows this.

IMVHO, Kagro X nailed it.

OT, I second bmaz at 21:16.

Wheel, it has been driving me crazy for months that Leahy is protecting Scottish Haggis. It was someone in his office who slipped the provision into the Patriot Act. The Senate Judiciary Committee still hasn't called the guy who did it, as far as I know. This seems like the same thing to me. The instinct Congressmen have to protect their own does a lot of harm. I wouldn't mind less civility in Congress.

Kagro -- is there a 50-50 split on Waxman's committee or is there some rule that the ranking member has to agree to get a subpoena passed? I'm unclear on why the Dems on the committee would be unable to issue subpoenas without his blessing.

Rayne, I think you may be on the right track here. So lets say, Waxman is covering Davis, letting Bloch do what needs to be done. Is Waxman then in a position to protect Bloch from Davis (or Bush for that matter, if Bloch comes up with the goods, what would stop Bush from firing him, that whole "pleasure of the President thing and all).


yes, I think that is EW's reading of the tea leaves too.

It looks like Davis v. Bloch is a useful personal or institutional animosity among Democratic foes... so much so that potentially easily obtainable evidence of Davis' wrongdoing goes unsought rather than tipping the balance.

cheney and bush tried to (ahem) doj re the electronic spying

and got their (ahem) handed to them by comey

cheney and bush disclosed the identity of the most highly classified cia agent (a noc)

and got their (ahem) handed to them by fitzgerald (comey's best bud).

and now mean tom davis has tackled the doj

(possibly with the collusion of waxman).

i dunno,

maybe these republican hot-shots ought to reconnoiter and revise their strategy.

if not, the davis attack might be a hat trick for doj?

Phred - House Oversight Committee has 23 Democrats (including Waxman) and 18 GOP (including Davis). There are clearly a few Blue Dogpiles, but if Waxman can hold his caucus members, Davis is not a problem on subpoenas.

Thanks bmaz, so then other than having to sit next to a seriously cranky ranking member, why does Waxman need to coddle Davis? Aside from the excellent speculation in the comments above, what power does Davis possess that could bog down Waxman's committee? For example, does he need to agree to the rules for each meeting (i.e., 10 minutes per member, alternating Dem/Rep, that sort of thing)? Can he prevent the committee from doing their work somehow? I know they are all supposed to operate with at least a veneer of civility, but is there some real power that Davis has to stop Waxman's progress? If so, I would imagine Davis would use it to prevent anything incriminating from coming out (which, as noted above, would put us in obstruction-land). If not, then one has to return to the question of what Waxman is worried about...

of the comments here

those by rayne and KX resonate strongly with me.

it really cannot be underestimated how important it is that the congress, even in the house, is only marginally democratic.

that the congress - house an senate - are the only protection

against cheney/bush depredations of individual and congressional rights

and further exaggeration of presidential power

does not imply that the congress is capable of meeting and overcoming those cheney/bush challenges.

we have seen repeatedly they are not.

the whole game from here on in until january, 2009, is to get as much info on the record as possible and to persist in questioning the administration about its multiple misconduct.

not "nailing" tom davis or arlen specter, or chris cannon is, i would guess, part of this strategy.

keep in mind that being able to count is the premier congressional talent

and that, like compound interest, persistent incremental efforts can yield solid results.

and waxman and leahy and conyers have been very persistent.

Phred - I don't know. The intricacies of the Congressional rules and protocols is generally is a subject I don't really know very well (and that is probably an understatement). I know a few bits and pieces here and there but not the answer to your question. Kagro X might well know the answer.

Waxman and the other investigative chairmen are very desirous of bipartisanship when possible, especially in the issuance of subpoenas. I don't know offhand how close the votes have been recently, or whether there's been any bipartisanship to speak of in them, but I do know that in making requests for information from the "administration" using tools short of subpoenas, there's been a relatively high level of cooperation. That, of course, would disappear instantly (unless the GOP rank-and-file somehow became concerned about Davis' toxicity and opted to dump him, but I see no evidence of that).

Most committees, though, can find themselves pretty quickly tied in knots over procedural issues. If something like this were to come to a head, committee business could slow to a crawl, as members of the minority object to every unanimous consent request, move to adjourn every few minutes, object to the waiver of the reading of every bill and/or amendment during markups, etc.

A much better tool, perhaps, for controlling the committee -- if the Chairman should happen to have the Ranking Member by the short hairs -- is to let the Ranking Member know that and agree to protect him as far as practicable. I imagine that even contentious votes might go considerably more smoothly that way, actually.

The question, if this were true, would be whether or not taking Davis down is worth more than all the other scalps you can take by keeping Davis over a barrel.

But I'll also say this: If true, it's some spooky shit. Very intriguing and all, but damn, are we ever going to find out what the f*@k our government has been up to?

Kagro X -Yeah, that is kind of the question. I 'll say this, I trust Waxman more than I do most of our "leaders". But at some point you just have to cut the crap and quit going along to get along. I am not saying this here is the time, just that it has to be somewhere and SOON. as to your question about the committee votes on subpoenas, it is my recollection that there were some crossovers, spectre and one or two others in the Senate, but the House committee votes were strictly party line all the way.

Kagro X 23:31 -- let's say for grins that Davis knows he's on the hook, and that the signal to us that they're close on his heels was Rove's exit. Perhaps OSC was very close to taking action about Hatch Act violations in Rove's case...

What if Davis has horsetraded a vote for withdrawal from Iraq in exchange for Waxman not addressing the pre-2002 election material? What if the OSC's work continues apace and Davis is merely betting the farm on Bloch not catching up in time?

Man, talk about splitting the baby...

Oh, and one more sleep-deprived thought...

We wouldn't be debating this dilemma if Waxman's counterpart on the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs did his f*cking job and investigated this with real zeal, just as the Senate Judiciary Committee has investigated the same turf as the House Judiciary Committee.

Why does that jackass have his chairmanship now after Rove's exit, anyhow??

Rayne - "What if Davis has horsetraded a vote for withdrawal from Iraq in exchange for Waxman not addressing the pre-2002 election material? What if the OSC's work continues apace and Davis is merely betting the farm on Bloch not catching up in time?."

Man, I am not sure what it is because of complications from congressional prerogatives and immunities, but if true this ought to be a freaking crime. Sure would be in a lot of situations in society. As to Joementum, I think the chairs were literally individually named in the organizing resolution; so absent Lieberman resigning, he stays. Was part of the deal....

G'morning, and off topic.

you may not have noted Kos noting :

Not fringe talk

by kos

Tue Aug 21, 2007 at 10:47:09 AM PDT

it's a call instauration of Bush as president for life:

the author's page has been scrubbed, and this is my own discovery, so has wikipedia article on the source and its Family Security Matters

but goggle cache takes you to :


EW, you may want to inform the FBI that there has been a call for the violent overthrow of the government. by a non-profit group. should at least get them on a terrorist and maybe a no fly list! or at least bothered to the max at the DC airport. just like you,


Kagro X -- thanks for explaining how Davis could gum up the works, if so inclined. I agree keeping him over the barrel is certainly preferable, but like bmaz and Rayne I just gotta wonder WTF has been going on...

bmaz 00:44 -- re: Lieberman as chair -- whose deal? With Lieberman, who's been voting with Republicans anyhow? Doesn't matter if he actually goes and caucuses with them in the flesh; if he's voting with them, he's already not acting in anyway in concert with the Dems. Why should Dems continue to leave him in a key chairmanship?

I think they say the deal's been broken, Lieberman's not a Dem and Reid yanks his chair. And I'd LOVE to see somebody with some real chops put in that seat instead. Feingold or Whitehouse, put the bit in their mouths, let them have the reins and run. RUN. Then we'll see some real action. I wonder whether we wouldn't see it anyhow if Reid were merely to threaten the yanking the chair. What if a real investigator ended up in the Gov Affairs committee chair and threatened to investigate those states where centrist/leaning Repugs reside? Would the threat be enough to break their gridlock on Iraq or other important matters like FISA and key investigations??

Rayne - Oh I agree. But If I recall correctly (no certainty there) removing Lieberman blows up the entire organizing resolution because he is specifically and individually named as the chair of Oversight. Depending on Tim Johnson's status, that could be problematic because they would then have both Joementum and Big Time for the tie.

bmaz -- but we're already over the barrel because of Lieberman anyhow if he's not voting with Dems. The numbers don't change if Lieberman loses his chairmanship, we're still stuck with Lieberman and DeadEye. What I wonder now is with Johnson back AND the likelihood of a Repug being forced to step down if the numbers will change at all -- but I doubt that it would change enough to get past veto, any way you slice or dice it.

So what do we have to lose? Would we stand to gain more by the weight of Senate-side investigations into DHS and Governmental Affairs, which includes the rampant and corrosive effects of profiteering on Katrina and national security-related contracts?

Joe is a rethug. It benifits the rethugs in that dems are nominally in control of the agenda but are in a position to be hammered by not doing anything. The rethugs don't have any other issue to work with except the do nothing dem congress meme. That's all they've got. They have the media in there pocket ( who owns Russert again? ) So what's to prevent them from with a combination of vetos and filibusters along with lack of accountability from the 4th estate from getting their way. Having the dems incharge is only a problem for these guys if there is accountability in congress ( impeachment, inherent contempt, etc. ) However, they know the votes will never be there to actually do anything. They are banking on it ( along with some military thing ) to carry the day in November 2008 and avoid accountability forever.

Again, this is just my understanding, but we stand to lose, or at least have deleteriously affected, the seat allocation percentages and chair structure in all the committees and it could go back to the bartered sharing type of agreement that was temporarily in place some time ago, I think when Jeffords flipped. So the holdup is that it is not just Liebertwit and Oversight. Hey, there is nothing I would love more than to do just what you suggest; I would throw that jerk under the bus and then off the bridge in a heartbeat.

I think that if the dems took Joe off the committee it would still be theirs to staff. The organization rules for the session of congress don't require a Jeffords situation if joe leaves. However, the r's would howl and the media would back them.

But that is the problem; they cannot just take him off. On THIS organizing resolution, it does not just state the relative number of members that each caucus will have and which caucus shall have the chair with the caucus an/or committee left to elect or designate the name of the person to so fill the chair. In THIS organizing resolution, Leberman's name is SPECIFICALLY designated as the chair IN THE ORGANIZING RESOLUTION. If you want to change that, you have to resolve ANOTHER NEW AND DIFFERENT entire organizing resolution. From what I have been told and from what I can tell (again, this may be wrong and I hope it is, but I don't think it is) this is the case and why the Democratic caucus cannot just blithely remove Lieberman. It would be sweet, and I am all for it, I just don't think you can do it.

bmaz -- I hear you, but I think the devil's in the details. Have we seen the text of the resolution? And if the resolution was agreed upon based on Lieberman's caucusing with Dems, are the Repugs gaining nothing new at this point?

I wonder whether there isn't a reverse quid pro quo that could be used...like Reid telling the Senate Repugs that he'll ask Waxman to hold off on Davis over in the house if they can get their choice of chair. Bet you there's more chits in play here...

BillE - And you are correct that it does not necessarily go back to the Jeffords/Daschle situation. But it could turn very ugly, with the Broderites scolding us (just like you said) and we could easily end up with a worse lot in Senate life than we have now. Hey, you are here enough to know that I am most definitely not one of the "lets just ride this out until it is over" "gee we might look bad" types. Heh heh, in fact, I don't even care what the Broderites would say, I would take Lieberman out in a heartbeat if I didn't think we would lose ground in the process.

Rayne - Have not done it lately, but I did go look at the actual organizing resolution some time back and sonofabitch if the committee chairs aren't spelled out by name just like I was told. It sure looked to me like there was no good play on it. Not to mention that worthless Harry Reid made another one of his patented crappy deals. And Reid will sell the Constitution down the river; but he will honor his deal with the puke Lieberman. If you can figure out the play, I am all in. I made a concerted run at it over a couple of nights several months ago right around the first time Joementum made his first threat. My conclusion was that he would not really leave the caucus and that it would not be productive for us to force him out.

Yeah, we're pretty much stuck with Lieberman. I did something on it at "the other place" back in June, but I think I forgot to cross post it. Sorry!

Just want to add my vote to Rayne's thesis, which is implicit in ew's post: Waxman isn't going after Davis because Bloch is already doing it. It should take care of itself, without Big Henry having to deal with the distraction. The Committee is getting a lot done and running fairly smoothly (compare it to the HJC), and Davis' position is difficult enough as it is already, especially if he's considering running for the Senate (good luck). Going after Davis isn't the point.

And on the last part of the comments: could it be possible to hate Lieberman any more? Just not good for the blood pressure. Tool. The amazing thing is that he could be in the 4th branch right now, and just like Cheney he would be bombing Iran. No hope for humanity I guess.

Ah. The goal posts moved on us. Seems Waxman has now outpaced Bloch at OSC, having requested yesterday documents from 19 agencies -- or at least that's what was reported at Talkingpointsmemo.com.

But check this paragraph fron the Speaker's site, is this really 19 agencies? Justice appears in the paragraph twice:

...Departments of Justice, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, Labor, State, Agriculture, Commerce, Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency, Small Business Administration, General Services Administration, United States Agency for International Development, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

It's not the paragraph directly from Waxman's letter, which if transcribed properly is:

Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development

Time to check this against the OSC's list; unfortunately, I have to be on the road in 45 minutes and can't do it. Also will be out of pocket most of the business day. Couldn't post this last night because of a power outage, too. [sigh]

And I note that Waxman also narrowed his scope once again to 2003-2006. There must be a quid pro quo -- and who is he informing that there is, with this letter?

Oops, forgot to include link to The Gavel (Speaker's blog)

Will there be a document dump tomorrow, coincident with Waxman's request for info on (18) departments? I am wondering if there was a hidden or implied emphasis at the Speaker's blog when the DOJ was mentioned twice as a dept. from which Waxman expected documents in relation to possible Hatch Act violations. Perhaps Schloz-munk and Kim are leaving in advance of such a doc dump...or perhaps it's because they think an exit in August will generate less interest than a departure in September. I don't think Bolten's alleged line-in-the-sand has anything to do with locking folks down for the rest of the administration as much as it does with preventing greater interest (you don't introduce new products in August for this reason, yes?).

But it's possible that Kim did give notice much earlier, just didn't make it formal and public; there are rumors about Kim's possible departure dating back to the first week of July, right around the holiday doldrums. Was there any possible link with testimony heard in front of Congress about the same time?

Dammitall, that'll teach me to have so many windows open at the same time. Need to repost the last comment in the correct thread, sorry.

Hmmmmmm I too have/had hopes for Waxman and his committee. I do know that what investigations that are publicly listed are but the tip of the iceberg now. There is much more going on than is apparent. In fact, I don't know how they have enough staff to do all the work in any kind of timely manner, as much of it requires serious research and investigation time, and much requires investigators and attorney with high security clearance levels, something that I believe the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is struggling to secure enough of. I am encouraging people who read my blogs on whistleblowers, and who communicate with me about their experiences or concerns to send in detailed reports to Waxman's committee particularly if their complaints have to do with Defense Contract/Contractor, DOD, or OIG fraud or corruption.

Also, people can send in complaints and reports to the Government Accountability Project (GAP)(http://whistleblower.org) and Project On Government Oversight (POGO)(http://www.pogo.org). These two groups help whistleblowers and facilitate getting all the information sorted, matched and brought to the attention of the right people so something finally might get done! Also, POGO has an anonymous report site on their website. If someone were truly too afraid to do it by name, they can anonymously report it.

POGO really does read it and collect things in files until they've enough and have some people who will stand up and help make it happen.

Considering how small their staff is, both of these groups have accomplished an amazing amount. It appears to this observer, they are becoming tighter and more focused. I expect some more helpful revelations and progress on some things not public yet soon.


Oh, the OSC (Office of Special Counsel) and the MSPB (Merit System Protection Board) are totally broken. Don't hold your breath waiting for something to happen just because that's the way the system was originally set up. With the Justice Dept. FUBAR OSC and MSPB are dead horses. I have proposed they both be abolished and their original missions transferred to someone who cares and will do what is needed. The public needs more ability to pressure to be sure these missions are done without political manipulation and corruption.

Everything we ever learned years ago, and believed about Civil Service and having rights as well as responsibilities is dead under the current perversion.


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