Friday, June 1, 2007

DoJ made political hay

The U.S. Department of Justice shouldn't, but does, operate as an extension of the Republican National Committee, through or around Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. The RNC pulling DoJ strings to turn Alabama's gubernatorial race last fall demonstrates it.

And what's this got to do with New Jersey, Molly, you ask? Bear with me, please.

It looks like a former Democratic governor there would have won -- despite Karl Rove to the rescue to ensure a criminal investigation of him -- if it weren't for a single polling district's electronic black box that Republicans alone "recounted" and found Bob Riley narrowly won. Fancy that. But that's another story. Time magazine this week reported about that "federal investigation" (deja vu yet?):

William Canary reassured others on the conference call ... that he had the help of a powerful pal in Washington. Canary said "not to worry — that he had already gotten it worked out with Karl and Karl had spoken with the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice was already pursuing (former Gov. and Dem candidate) Don Siegelman (portrait at left), the (Dana Jill) Simpson affidavit says. Both U.S. attorney offices subsequently indicted Siegelman on a variety of charges, although Leura Canary (Canary's wife and U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama) recused herself from dealing with the case in May 2002. A federal judge dismissed the Northern District case before it could be tried, but Siegelman was convicted in the Middle District on bribery and conspiracy charges last June. ...

Siegelman was convicted of appointing (former HealthSouth CEO Richard) Scrushy to a hospital regulatory board (egad! how unqualified!) in exchange for a $500,000 contribution to a campaign for a state lottery to fund education (to fund education? the cad!). Defense lawyers have argued that Siegelman drew no personal financial benefit from Scrushy's donation to the lottery campaign, and they note that Scrushy had served on the hospital regulatory board under three previous governors, before Siegelman reappointed him (REappointed?). The reappointment, they have argued, offered little of value to Scrushy except more work.
Funny that, according to Simpson, one of the men in the conference call said, "Siegelman's just like a cockroach, he'll never die, what are we going to do?" (creeeeepy!) before offering reassurance Rove was having the DoJ take care of the governor's race. Canary is the one who seems kinda "cockroachy":
Canary was appointed by President George H. W. Bush to serve in the White House as special assistant for intergovernmental affairs, and then named chief of staff of the Republican National Committee. Later in the 1990's he also worked closely with Karl Rove in a successful series of campaigns to get Republicans elected to Alabama's state courts.
So, what about New Jersey?

The New Jersey Republican State Committee seems to insist on beating a dead horse until it can squeeze nothing into something to political benefit from Gov. Corzine's personal emails with Carla Katz, one of the state labor unions' presidents who had a two-year romantic relationship with Corzine ending in 2004. An independent ethics panel of ex-judges, after reading the ex-couple's emails from personal, nongovernment computers, reported they did not collude in labor negotiations. Now the RSC wants a judge to order Corzine and Katz to hand their personal emails over to the GOP.

How long do you think it'll be before the RSC insists U.S. Attorney Chris Christie join its salacious voyeurism? I don't see Christie resisting too hard, given he created the fodder for the RSC's fibs about Robert Menendez being "under federal investigation" in last fall's Senate race here. But maybe Christie sees the unsinkable USS Karl Rove going down like the Titanic.

And, really, is any of this any more corrupt than the investigation into New Jersey State GOP Chairman Tom Wilson's lobby company receiving $2.5 million from Burlington County Bridge Commission? People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Update, more glass in Wilson's house: Seems the RSC and legislative campaign committees paid Wilson's wife, Lysa Israel, more than $550,000 for "fundraising" in the past 30 months while her husband was state GOP chairman, a bit of a conflict. In all, about $850,000 of New Jersey GOP donors' money has gone straight into the Wilson family's bank accounts, says is shown in reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission and the Federal Election Commission.

That's not including Wilson's salary, which the RNC refuses to divulge. He wants every aspect of Corzine's and Katz's personal lives on public record, but he's not so keen on his own being out there. Hmmm. The report says it appears to be more than $150,000 a year, though. GOP donors probably thought their money would go to candidates.

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