Tag Archives: Josh Gerstein

Open The Hatch!

Elspeth Reeve at The Atlantic with the round-up

Josh Gerstein at Politico:

A long-running federal investigation has found that White House political aides to President George W. Bush engaged in widespread violations of a federal law which limits partisan political activity by government employees during the 2006 midterm elections.

A 118-page report issued Monday by the little-known Office of Special Counsel cites numerous violations of the Hatch Act by the Bush-era White House Office of Political Affairs. The report concludes that federal taxpayers footed the bill for improper activities that were intended to advance Republican political candidates.

“The entire [Office of Political Affairs] staff was enlisted in pursuit of Republican success at the polls and many OPA employees believed that effort was part of their official job duties,” the report concludes. “Based on the extent of the activities described below, OSC concludes that the political activities of OPA employees were not incidental to their official functions, and thus U.S. Treasury funds were unlawfully used to finance efforts to pursue Republican victories at the polls in 2006.”

Those efforts, according to the report, included assigning staffers to track “the amount of money raised at fundraisers held by Republican candidates and national, state and local Republican groups.”

Citing a “a systematic misuse of federal resources,” the report also points to Bush administration cabinet members who traveled to White House-targeted Congressional districts in what was called the “final push.” The inquiry found that although many of the trips were primarily political, they had been designated as official business, and the expenses were paid by the government.

Steve Benen:

There were, for example, several dozen mandatory briefings for federal employees — during work hours and in federal office buildings — in which White House officials instructed public employees on how they could help Republican campaign efforts. Bushies later described the briefings as “informational discussions,” but all available evidence suggests that’s a lie.

There were also the extensive travel expenses. In order to give the impression that vulnerable Republican lawmakers were important and powerful, the Bush White House arranged for cabinet secretaries to visit key campaign battlegrounds to give GOP candidates a public-relations boost. The law prohibits officials from using our money this way, and taxpayers were never reimbursed. When asked, Bushies said the trips were official government business. Like the rest of the defense, this wasn’t true, either.

And in case that wasn’t quite enough, Republican National Committee officials literally just moved their operations into the White House, to coordinate campaign efforts. This is illegal, too.

All of the transgressions were coordinated by the Bush/Cheney Office of Political Affairs, which was overseen by Karl Rove, and which is prohibited from using public funds for partisan political purposes.

In the Bush era, Rove’s operation seemed to do nothing but use our money for partisan political purposes.

If you’re wondering about the potential legal fallout of these revelations, the Office of Special Counsel, which released its report yesterday, said it no longer has any jurisdiction now that the Bush administration has left office. The Justice Department could conceivably pursue this, but it’s given no indication that it intends to do so.

The report comes just a few days after the Obama White House announced it would shutter its Office of Political Affairs altogether, so as to avoid any misuse of public funds.

Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) recent claim — he called President Obama’s team “one of the most corrupt administrations” in recent memory — is looking increasingly ridiculous all the time.

Emptywheel at Firedoglake:

As I said last decade, no one will be held accountable for the abuses described in the report. So forgive me for being underwhelmed by the release of the report that does no more than catalog what we already knew.

The report shows that under Bush, agency heads required agency political appointees  to attend briefings at which they’d get an overview (40-60% of the content) of the Republican prospects for the next election.It described how these briefings explained the importance of the Republican 72-hour plan to get out turnout. And it described how at least some agencies tracked the participation of employees in GOTV activities.

One Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff at the Peace Corps testified that she maintained a spreadsheet showing the agency’s political appointees and when and where they were deploying to be campaign volunteers. The witness explained that OPA wanted to know the level of participation by political appointees as a group, and that she believed OPA expected all appointees to volunteer. She also understood that supervisors were expected to permit political appointees to take leave so they could “go off and do 72-hour campaigns.”

The most interesting finding of the report–though again, we knew this–is that the Office of Public Affairs became a mere extension of the RNC leading up to the 2006 election.

Specifically, OSC’s investigation revealed that OPA was essentially an extension of the RNC in the White House. Thus, OPA:

  • Worked with the RNC to develop a “target list” consisting of those Republican candidates involved in close races.
  • Encouraged high-level agency political appointees to attend events with targeted Republican candidates in order to attract positive media attention to their campaigns, a practice called “asset deployment.”
  • Utilized the services of several RNC Desk Coordinators – who worked inside the White House – to help coordinate high-level political appointees’ travel to both political and official events with Republican candidates.
  • Kept track of Republican candidates’ fundraising efforts as well as high-level agency political appointees’ attendance at events with targeted candidates.
  • Encouraged political appointees, on behalf of the RNC, to participate in 72-hour deployment efforts.

As explained below, OSC has concluded that all of these activities constituted “political activity” because they were directed at the electoral success of Republican candidates and the Republican Party as a whole. These activities took place in federal buildings and during normal business hours in violation of the Hatch Act. And although the OPA Director and Deputy Director, at whose direction these activities occurred, were exempt from the Hatch Act’s prohibition against engaging in political activity while on duty or in a federal workplace, the regulations require that the costs associated with the political activity of exempt employees be reimbursed to the U.S. Treasury when the activity is more than incidental. Here, the entire OPA staff was enlisted in pursuit of Republican success at the polls and many OPA employees believed that effort was part of their official job duties. Based on the extent of the activities described below, OSC concludes that the political activities of OPA employees were not incidental to their official functions, and thus U.S. Treasury funds were unlawfully used to finance efforts to pursue Republican victories at the polls in 2006.[my emphasis]

In short, taxpayers paid for a big chunk of the Republican 2006 campaign.

Hey! That was the campaign where we took back both houses and Rove’s math was proven to be faulty, right? Suckers!!

Doug Mataconis:

Even if there aren’t criminal prosecutions, it would seem clear that the RNC, the NRCC, the NRSC, or the individual campaigns should reimburse the Federal Government for the costs the taxpayers paid that they shouldn’t have.

Joe Gandelman at Moderate Voice:

Where will this story go? It’s uncertain.

GOPers will likely not mention it or find a way to try and downplay or discredit it. Some Democrats may not press it too aggressively since it does refer to an administration out of power and some Dems may have aspirations to cut the same corners in the future.

On the other hand, there could be some big surprise and it could lead to some repercussions or reforms.

Wonkette:

American taxpayers (China) paid for Bush administration officials to conduct political campaign activities for the 2006 midterm elections, which violated federal law and is information that, perhaps, we could have used somewhat earlier than a half decade after the fact. This is not surprising, nor is it surprising Karl Rove directed this stuff. What’s really awful is the sheer incompetence of the federal officials using these taxpayer funds, seeing as the 2006 midterms were a total blowout for the GOP. If you’re going to spend our money on elections, at least win some of them. So, are any of these Bush people going to be prosecuted for breaking the law? LOL.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Political Figures

The Hammer Is Dropped

Josh Gerstein and Mike Allen at Politico:

After almost six years of investigation, the Justice Department has decided not to bring corruption charges against former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay over his involvement with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and other ethics issues, DeLay and his attorneys said Monday.

“I always knew this day would come. My only hope was that it would come much sooner than the six years we’ve been doing this,” DeLay said Monday during a conference call with reporters. “While I will never understand why it took so long for the Justice Department to conclude that I was innocent, I am nevertheless pleased that they have made their determination.”

Heather Horn at The Atlantic with the round-up

Ryan J. Reilly at Talking Points Memo:

The Justice Department notified DeLay’s lead attorney, McGuireWoods Chairman Richard Cullen, about the decision last week, the lawyer said.

“The federal investigation of Tom DeLay is over and there will be no charges,” Cullen told Politico. “This is the so-called Abramoff investigation run by the Public Integrity section of DOJ. There have been a series of convictions and guilty pleas since 2005.”

Cullen said that DeLay “voluntarily produced to the prosecutors over 1,000 emails and documents from the DeLay office dating back to 1997. Several members of Congress objected to producing official government records under Speech or Debate Clause concerns,” Cullen said.

“DeLay took the opposite position, ordering all his staff to answer all questions. He turned over more than 1,000 documents, and several of his aides gave interviews and grand jury testimony.”

Reached by TPMMuckraker, Justice Department spokeswoman Laura Sweeney declined to comment.

Peter Stone at The Daily Beast:

From the start of the scandal, when Abramoff’s influence-peddling network was exposed in numerous stories in the national press, DeLay’s role, and especially that of his key aides, in facilitating Abramoff’s rise to power was crucial.

DeLay’s office often let Abramoff’s clients and would-be clients, Indian-owned casinos and the impoverished Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, know that if they wanted access to the Texas Republican they needed to go through Abramoff, which meant one thing: Hire him for his big fees.

While he served in Congress, DeLay took three lavish junkets paid for by Abramoff’s clients to Scotland, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and Russia. These trips helped Abramoff cement his image and business: DeLay famously returned to Washington in early 1998 from the Marianas, where he golfed with Abramoff, and spearheaded successful efforts to block efforts to extend the U.S. minimum wage laws to the island’s poorly paid immigrant garment workers. And DeLay extolled the Marianas’ lack of regulation as a “perfect petri dish of capitalism.”

Abramoff cultivated his ties with DeLay not only through these trips, but also through his stellar fundraising for the Texan’s campaigns, political action committee, and favorite charities. The close links between Abramoff, aka “Casino Jack,” and DeLay, aka “the Hammer,” seemed symbiotic ones to some former GOP leadership aides who knew both men well. “Jack raised money for the pet projects of DeLay and took care of his top staff,” one ex-Capitol Hill aide told me a few years ago. “In turn they granted him tremendous access and allowed Abramoff to freely trade on DeLay’s name.”

Little wonder that DeLay was in a gloating mood on Monday when he held a phone-in press conference with reporters and declared he was “exonerated.” DeLay, who publicly announced he was going to resign from Congress not long after Rudy pleaded guilty, criticized the federal investigation as an example of the “criminalization of politics and the politics of personal destruction…”

It was the old Tom DeLay in full attack and spin mode, showing off the conservative political footwork he famously parlayed into a short-lived performance on Dancing With the Stars.

He even boasted that “the case was so weak that I was never interviewed by the investigators.”

Some lawyers familiar with the Abramoff scandal told me they think the Justice Department’s failure at least to interview DeLay, after all the time and energy it put into the probe, seems a bit odd. Even DeLay’s lead attorney, Richard Cullen, who publicly stressed how much information DeLay gave the department, told me that “we most likely would have granted the request” if DeLay had been asked for an interview.

Even if the probe into DeLay was reaching a dead end, some white-collar attorneys point out, the Justice Department should have interviewed him. “You don’t know what someone’s going to say until you talk to them,” one attorney said. “It’s a difficult decision to understand.”

Don Suber:

The Bush administration blew it.

Perhaps the prosecutorial powers of the federal government need to be reined in.

Ted Stevens, Tom DeLay, Scooter Libby…

Yikes!

One was convicted ILLEGALLY.

One was exonnerated TOO LATE.

And one is in the 14th day of jury deliberations with only 2 of 24 counts decided.

Disgusting

Ed Morrissey:

Nonetheless, the travails of DeLay and the GOP in 2006 should serve as a “stark” lesson for Republicans in the midterms.  DeLay authored the notorious “K Street Project” that attempted to build a permanent Republican majority by marrying the party to lobbyists.  That resulted in an explosion of pork and a curious predilection with so-called “big government conservatism” that exploded spending after George W. Bush took office.  That marriage of the federal government and special interests discredited the GOP as an alternative to Democrats, which combined with the scandal led to their downfall in 2006 and 2008.

No more K Street Projects, and no more big-government conservatism.  The next Republican majority had better focus on actual reductions in federal government and the end of pork-barrel spending to woo lobbyists.

And now that the Abramoff case has closed, maybe the American media can pursue the story of Paul Magliocchetti and PMA with at least half the vigor of their pursuit of the Abramoff scandal.  After all, we have another well-connected lobbyist allegedly laundering campaign contributions and winning legislative gifts for his clients.  Are they less interested in a similar scandal tied to Democrats?  And if so … why?

Jay Newton-Small at Swampland at Time:

DeLay still has one charge pending in Texas court. “I’m sure he’s very eager to see that done,” says Cullen, who is not representing DeLay in that case. A hearing in that case is scheduled for August 24 and is expected to come to trial in the fall. An email to DeLay’s office seeking comment was not immediate answered.

Leave a comment

Filed under Political Figures

One Is The Loneliest Number

Josh Gerstein at Politico:

Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 13-6 vote Tuesday, with only Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) crossing party lines to vote in favor of the nominee.

Before the vote, however, Republicans and a few Democrats criticized Kagan for a lack of candor during her confirmation hearings earlier this month — despite a 1995 article she wrote calling the process vacuous. But Graham said his support for Kagan is a byproduct of his view that “the last election had consequences” and that senators ought to defer to President Barack Obama’s prerogative to pick judges in most circumstances.

“There’s plenty of reasons for conservatives to vote no, plenty of good reasons, but I also think there’s a good reason for conservatives to vote yes, and that’s provided in the Constitution,” Graham said of Kagan’s nomination. “I understood we lost; President Obama won. And I’ve got a lot of opportunity to disagree with him. But the Constitution, in my view, puts a responsibility on me, a senator, not to replace my judgment for his.”

Obama, in a written statement, applauded the committee’s “bipartisan affirmation” of Kagan, his solicitor general. He called her “one of this country’s leading legal minds” who would be “a fair and impartial Supreme Court justice” who understands that the law affects everyone.

Chris Cillizza at WaPo:

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham‘s (R) announcement that he will vote in favor of Elena Kagan‘s nomination to the Supreme Court is likely to further incite conservatives already unhappy with him and, according to close observers of the state’s politics, ensures he will face a serious primary challenge in 2014.

“I think there’s a good reason for a conservative to vote yes,” Graham said this morning.

Graham’s apostasy on Kagan comes after other high profile breaks with conservatives in his state (and nationally) over climate change and immigration reform and will likely make him a central target of those tea party Republicans who helped oust Utah Sen. Bob Bennett in his bid for renomination earlier this year.

“It’s no longer a question of ‘if’ but ‘who’ and ‘how many’,” said one South Carolina Republican operative about a Graham primary challenge. The source added that Graham’s approach on high profile issues of late is “putting Lindsey’s friends and supporters in a really tough place.”

Steve Benen:

There wasn’t any doubt that the Senate Judiciary Committee would approve Solicitor General Elena Kagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court today. There was interest, however, in how the vote would go.

The committee endorsed Kagan on a 13-to-6 vote, with every Democrat supporting the nominee. The surprise came when Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), joined with the majority.

The South Carolina conservative delivered a fairly lengthy speech on the nomination, and conceded he could think of “100 reasons” to oppose Kagan. But he would back her anyway, because of her qualifications and character. “At the end of the day, after the hearing, it was not a hard decision for me to make,” Graham explained.

As for what’s next for Kagan, her nomination now heads to the Senate floor, where final confirmation is expected before members break for their summer recess.

Paul Mirengoff at Powerline:

Obama got to the heart of the matter when he added that Kagan’s work as a Justice would reflect that she “understands how decisions made by the Court affect the lives of everyday Americans.” This is Obama’s way of saying that Kagan’s decisions will be just as expansively leftist as Obama’s vision of what’s good for “everyday Americans.”

I’m pretty sure Obama is right. And, given Kagan’s sense of humor, that seems to be just fine with Lindsey Graham, who once again earned his title, “the Arlen Specter of the South.”

Graham is up for re-election in 2014. By then Elena Kagan (and for that matter Sonia Sotomayor) will have a substantial record through which South Carolina Republicans can assess the judgment of their senior Senator, assuming he runs for re-election. In the meantime, let’s hope that Kagan includes some good one-liners in her left-wing opinions.

But perhaps Graham is right in predicting that this whole Tea Party thing will blow over. Perhaps in 2014 South Carolina will return Graham to Washington because he too is funny and the Washington Post likes him.

Allah Pundit:

WaPo’s already gaming out how many primary challengers Graham will face in 2014; among the possibilities is … Mark Sanford. A quote from one of Graham’s consultants: “He’s a thinking person’s conservative. I expect him to do well among voters with IQ’s in triple digits.” Thinking strategically, his vote here is potentially useful to Republicans down the line if/when another vacancy opens on the Court and The One decides to go for broke by appointing a lefty bomb-thrower. Because Graham’s now positioned himself as the principled moderate, willing to vote for both Kagan and Sotomayor in the name of deference to the president, a no vote on some future nominee would be a devastating judgment that he/she really is way out of the mainstream. Kagan’s not going to be filibustered — but the next one might be, especially if Grahamnesty signals to other moderates that it’s okay to do so by opposing him/her, so maybe he’s just keeping his powder dry. And, er, maybe Dick Durbin’s really had a change of heart. Exit question via Pat Leahy: Why does the GOP hate women?

Michael O’Brien at The Hill:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that he planned a vote on Elena Kagan’s appointment to the Supreme Court before the August recess.

Reid said he planned to bring Kagan’s nomination up for a vote “before we leave for August recess.”

Joe Gandelman at Moderate Voice:

It was originally said by pundits that Kagan would sail through in what they predicted would be yawningly boring hearings with little opposition even from GOPers. Although hearings were relatively low-key, they weren’t boring.

And political skirmishes in the 21st century aren’t political skirmishes without the entry of over the top talk show political culture rhetoric.

In Kagan’s case, it recently came in the assertion of commentor Eric Ericson’s assertion that “Senators would be committing a high act of confirmation treason if they allow this nominee to go on the court without attempting to filibuster her nomination.”

As melodramatic and demonizing as some Supreme Court nominations have been in recent decades, no credible partisan has suggested that not filbustering a nominee named by another party would be an act of treason, no matter how it is argued or described. So now votes come down to treason (not just being RINOs or DINOs) for those who might dare not listen to talk show hosts and commentors?

But, then again, this is 2010 where the gut and the desire for readership or audience often trump the apparently atrophying logical part of the brain.

Leave a comment

Filed under Political Figures, Supreme Court

Let’s Return To The Burning Issue Of, Oh, One Month Ago, Part II

Josh Gerstein at Politico:

The federal government filed a lawsuit Tuesday aimed at blocking a controversial Arizona law that instructs local police and sheriffs to question and arrest anyone whom they suspect is in the country illegally.

The Justice Department lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, argues that the new state law violates the U.S. Constitution by usurping federal authority over immigration policy, traditionally the jurisdiction of the federal government.

“Arizonans are understandably frustrated with illegal immigration, and the federal government has a responsibility to comprehensively address those concerns,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement yesterday. “But diverting federal resources away from dangerous aliens such as terrorism suspects and aliens with criminal records will impact the entire country’s safety.

“Setting immigration policy and enforcing immigration laws is a national responsibility,” Holder said. “Seeking to address the issue through a patchwork of state laws will only create more problems than it solves.”

David Ingram at The Blog Of Legal Times:

“In our constitutional system, the federal government has preeminent authority to regulate immigration matters. This authority derives from the United States Constitution and numerous acts of Congress,” reads the introduction to the 25-page complaint (PDF).

Lawyers for the U.S. Department of Justice filed the complaint today in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona. The lawsuit names as defendants the state of Arizona and Gov. Janice Brewer (R), in her official capacity.

Brewer has repeatedly defended the law as a necessary response to the federal government’s failure to control illegal immigration from Mexico, and she continued to draw support from allies nationwide, including in Washington, as the lawsuit was filed.

The lawsuit makes sweeping claims about the federal government’s power to develop immigration policy. It cites the federal government’s power under the Constitution to establish a “uniform Rule of Naturalization” — translating, it says, to the regulation of aliens within U.S. boundaries and to the terms and conditions for entry and continued presence.

With the State Department joining as a plaintiff, the lawsuit also cites the president’s authority over foreign affairs. “Immigration law, policy, and enforcement priorities are affected by and have impacts on U.S. foreign policy, and are themselves the subject of diplomatic arrangements,” it says.

Together with the complaint, the department is filing a 58-page motion (PDF) for a preliminary injunction. The law is scheduled to go into effect July 29.

Legal Insurrection:

Here is a copy of the Complaint just filed by the United States against Arizona seeking to invalidate S.B 1070, the Arizona immigration bill. Copies also of the Civil Cover Sheet, Summons to the the State of Arizona, and Summons to Gov. Jan Brewer.

The U.S. also filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction, with 10 Exhibits. Visit my Scribd site for additional documents.

The case is assigned to Judge Neil V. Wake.

Michelle Malkin

Ed Morrissey:

It seems rather clear that the DoJ intended to get state and local law enforcement involved in immigration efforts.  Arizona’s law doesn’t set up the state as an adjudicator of the complaints, but merely requires police to check status and refer suspects to ICE when circumstances warrant.  It doesn’t violate federal prerogative at all, but instead forces the federal government to act responsibly to enforce the law.

Besides, this issue of pre-emption works the other direction.  Does this mean that state and local police have no jurisdiction to enforce federal drug laws if they don’t violate state or local law?  Terrorism?  Wire fraud?  If a court rules that referrals to federal agencies from state and local law enforcement are unconstitutional on the basis of pre-emption, it will make the Gorelick Wall look like a curb.

Furthermore, this is weak tea compared to the Obama administration’s rhetoric on the subject.  They have spent the last three months declaring this unconstitutional on the basis of discrimination.  If that were true, the government would have made that its primary argument.  The fact that they’re going with pre-emption means that they’re conceding that the discrimination argument never held water — and that their accusations of bigotry against Arizonans were nothing more than demagoguery.

Mary Katherine Ham at The Weekly Standard:

Perhaps it’s a better legal argument than a political one, but the federal government does seem to be opening quite the can of worms to argue that a state-level attempt to do what the federal government claims is its sole responsibility is uncalled for while that same government is spending time and energy suing Arizona while it continues to not live up to its responsibility.

Jim Antle at The American Spectator:

It is precisely the federal government’s failure to enforce its own immigration laws — and their incomplete border fencing that has redirected illegal immigrants to Arizona specifically — that would account for such referrals. Federal action would have made the Arizona law unnecessary But the Obama-led feds would rather crack down on Arizona than illegal immigration.

EARLIER: Let’s Return To The Burning Issue Of, Oh, One Month Ago

Leave a comment

Filed under Immigration, Political Figures

Johnny-Come-Lately Brings 1,200

Jonathan Allen and Josh Gerstein at Politico:

In a move to quell growing public anger and mounting fear over illegal immigration along the Southwest border, President Barack Obama is ordering up to 1,200 additional National Guard troops to the border area and requesting an additional $500 million from Congress to slow the flow of migrants.

In addition to the troops, the funding will be used to increase Justice Department and Department of Homeland Security activities at the border with Mexico “to include increased agents, investigators, and prosecutors, as part of a multi-layered effort to target illicit networks trafficking in people, drugs, illegal weapons, and money,” an administration official said Tuesday.

The announcement seemed designed to blunt an amendment in the Senate by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to provide $250 million for deployment of 6,000 National Guard troops to the border. And the White House move was quickly denounced by Republicans, who criticized it as insufficient, and by immigration reform advocates, who accused the White House of engaging in “political theater.”

“It’s simply not enough. We need 6,000,” complained McCain, who is opposed by immigration foe J.D. Hayworth in a GOP primary.

The Mexican Embassy:

Regarding the Administration’s decision to send 1,200 National Guard servicemen to the US Southern border, the Government of Mexico trusts that this decision will help to channel additional US resources to enhance efforts to prevent the illegal flows of weapons and bulk cash into Mexico, which provide organized crime with its firepower and its ability to corrupt.

Additionally, the Government of Mexico expects that National Guard personnel will strengthen US operations in the fight against transnational organized crime that operates on both sides of our common border and that it will not, in accordance to its legal obligations, conduct activities directly linked to the enforcement of immigration laws.

Mexico is determined to continue working on its side of the border to enhance the security and well-being of border communities, and to deter and dismantle organized crime and its links to drug trafficking and human smuggling.

Daniel Foster at The Corner:

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D., Ariz.) has said the president will soon announce the deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, along with $500 million in new spending for extra border security and law enforcement, as part of a new effort to quell violence in the border region.

In a statement announcing the move, Giffords said “[t]he White House is doing the right thing.”

“Arizonans know that more boots on the ground means a safer and more secure border. Washington heard our message.”

James Carafano at The Heritage:

The deployment also does not seem to square with remarks by Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano that in recent Congressional testimony that the border is more secure than it has ever been. “I say this again, as someone who has walked that border, ridden it, flown it and driven it,” Napolitano said. “I believe it is as secure as it ever has been.”

This move also does not square with the president’s desire for an amnesty bill. Amnesties only encourage more illegal entry.

A draft amnesty proposal that the White House supports claims it will secure the border and enforce immigration and work place laws first. But there is serious reason to doubt the administration’s resolve including recent efforts demonize Arizona for attempting to deal with massive flooding people unlawfully present in the state.

Hopefully, this deployment is a serious effort to help make the border secure and not just for show. We won’t know until we get more facts.

Even if this deployment makes sense it will not solve the problem of broken borders and a failed immigration system. There is no silver bullet other than policies that make sense.

Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs

Mary Katherine Ham at The Weekly Standard:

You know, I think the administration’s latest move on the border is reflective of a “troubling trend in our society.” The plan is “fundamentally unfair,” and “invites profiling.”

It’s “misguided,” the basis for “real concerns” that make it “fundamental” to a human-rights discussion with the Chinese. I’m pretty sure it’s unconstitutional and certainly “unfortunate,” and should be challenged with a lawsuit as soon as possible.

Protesters should probably get out there and decry the “police state,” “fascist,” “Nazi” proclivities of the Obama administration, and add some vandalism for good measure (all in the name of civil debate, of course).

Sure, I haven’t really done any research into the call for National Guard troops, the dangers that necessitated the call, or what their function and limitations will be in enforcing the border.

Michelle Malkin:

I called out the Bush administration and Republicans countless times when they used border security as a campaign ploy and performed Get Tough Theater only to flake out on systemic immigration enforcement reform — and then drop the shamnesty shoe.

This is no different. Both political parties in Washington reek on the issue.

The only thing worse than open-borders Obama exploiting our illegal immigration woes is open-borders Johnny-come-lately John McCain continuing to do the same.

Until politicians with proven integrity and commitment to securing this country against invasion step into the leadership vacuum, Arizona’s DIY policy on border security is the only trustworthy one:

Do It Yourself.

Leave a comment

Filed under Crime, Immigration

Wait, Wait, Don’t Fox Me

Josh Gerstein at Politico:

Executives at National Public Radio recently asked the network’s top political correspondent, Mara Liasson, to reconsider her regular appearances on Fox News because of what they perceived as the network’s political bias, two sources familiar with the effort said.

According to a source, Liasson was summoned in early October by NPR’s executive editor for news, Dick Meyer, and the network’s supervising senior Washington editor, Ron Elving. The NPR executives said they had concerns that Fox’s programming had grown more partisan, and they asked Liasson to spend 30 days watching the network.

At a follow-up meeting last month, Liasson reported that she’d seen no significant change in Fox’s programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, the source said.

NPR’s focus on Liasson’s work as a commentator on Fox’s “Special Report” and “Fox News Sunday” came at about the same time as a White House campaign launched in September to delegitimize the network by painting it as an extension of the Republican Party.

One source said the White House’s criticism of Fox was raised during the discussions with Liasson. However, an NPR spokeswoman told POLITICO that the Obama administration’s attempts to discourage other news outlets from treating Fox as a peer had no impact on any internal discussions at NPR.

Jillian Bandes at Townhall:

Mara Liasson, NPR‘s top political correspondent, is also a regular Fox News contributor. NPR executives didn’t like her association with Fox, and asked her to “watch Fox for 30 days” to evaluate whether or not it was a good idea to continue associating with them. NPR did this the same time the White House was pushing forward with it’s war on Fox — but of course NPR, the official state-run media organization, said it had nothing to do with the White House’s anti-Fox push.

Liasson took the 30 days and then reported back with the equivalent of an eye roll. She’s staying on Fox, and staying at NRP, unless the execs force her out. Here’s Fox’s unofficial response:
With the ratings we have, NPR should be paying us to even be mentioned on our air.

Ed Morrissey:

Give Mara Liasson a big cheer for reportorial independence — and some guts.  After all, when network execs tell a reporter to “reconsider” her work with another entity, that’s a big signal to cease and desist.  Liasson could have easily folded and taken the easy way out by joining a chorus of Fox critics.  Instead, she held her ground and essentially outlasted them.

But what is NPR doing by pressuring Liasson anyway?  Unless they want to offer her an exclusive contract and compensation for breaking her pact with Fox, it’s really not any of their business what she does with the rest of her time.  Besides, as a taxpayer-funded news organization, NPR also has no business getting involved in government attacks on Fox News.  They reveal themselves as the toady of the Beltway, and especially this administration, by attempting to join Obama’s war on Fox.

The choice of Liasson is no accident, either.  Her presence on Fox shows that the network welcomes liberal points of view (which no one can doubt Liasson holds), more so than some networks welcome conservatives.  The presence of Liasson and Juan Williams demonstrates a balance on its news programming and analysis (apart from the commentary shows, which Liasson rightly pointed out to NPR) that one rarely sees on MS-NBC, CBS, or at times even CNN, although the latter does employ the formidable Bill Bennett.

Liasson demonstrated what independence means.  Maybe NPR should observe Liasson more, and learn what that means.

Jules Crittenden:

Curious, that due to their concerns about balance at Fox, they would want to remove a voice that presumably lends some balance to Fox. Help me out here. I actually listen to a fair amount of NPR. For as much as 10 to 15 minutes sometimes, before I can’t take any more. It’s good for the circulation. Now, aside from P.J. O’Rourke cracking jokes on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” how many conservative regulars does NPR have on any of its shows? Let’s see. Thinking caps on. I’m getting exactly … none.

Liasson defended her work for Fox by saying that she appears on two of the network’s news programs, not on commentary programs with conservative hosts, the source said. She has also told colleagues that she’s under contract to Fox, so it would be difficult for her to sever her ties with the network, which she has appeared on for more than a decade.

Anyway, it’s an interesting exercise. Maybe all reporters should be forced to watch 30 days of Fox, and offered money by Rupert Murdoch. Apparently it’s good for the backbone.

Scott Johnson at Powerline:

At the end of the 30 days, Liasson was undoubtedly expected to engage in rigorous self-criticism, but so far it hasn’t worked out that way: “At a follow-up meeting last month, Liasson reported that she’d seen no significant change in Fox’s programming and planned to continue appearing on the network, the source said.”

Somehow I think this is not the end of the story.

Leave a comment

Filed under Mainstream

From Hope To St. Hope

americorps_logo

The blogosphere looks into the firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin.

TPM posts, here, here, here, here and here.

Ed Morrissey, here, here and here.

Michelle Malkin:

President Obama promised he would end “Washington games.” But his abrupt firing of the AmeriCorps inspector general is more of the same. The brewing scandal smells like the Beltway cronyism of the Bush years. And the apparent meddling of First Lady Michelle Obama in the matter smacks of the corruption of the Clinton years.

If Obama keeps up with this “change,” we’ll be back to the Watergate era by Christmas.

Byron York in the Washington Examiner, here, here, here and here.

John Hinderaker at Powerline:

Walpin, who by statute is supposed to be independent of White House control, ran afoul of Obama because he investigated a charity operated by former pro basketball player Kevin Johnson, a prominent Obama supporter. The non-profit, St. Hope, received an $850,000 grant from AmeriCorps. Walpin investigated what St. Hope did with the money and concluded that much of it was improperly spent, e.g. to pay recipients to wash Johnson’s car. The result of Walpin’s investigation was that St. Hope agreed to repay half the money it got from AmeriCorps. However, since St. Hope is insolvent, AmeriCorps is unlikely to get its money back. The acting U.S. Attorney in Sacramento declined to criminally prosecute anyone in connection with these events.

Apparently in retaliation for having put the heat on an Obama supporter, the President had Norman Eisen, a Special Counsel to the President, telephone Walpin and demand that he resign within an hour. Walpin, pointing out that he is not a political appointee and does not serve at the President’s pleasure, declined to do so. So Obama fired him. By statute, Obama is required to give Congress 30 days’ written notice of his intention to fire an inspector general and set forth his reasons for doing so. Obama failed to comply with that aspect of the statute, merely saying that Walpin no longer has the President’s “fullest confidence.” That would be sufficient reason to replace a political appointee, but not to fire an inspector general. The Obama administration first denied, but now admits, that the President is firing Walpin because of the St. Hope affair.

Oliver Willis

Moe Lane

As Ed Morrissey noted, believing that this was the White House’s primary motive requires that you believe that the administration’s instinctive, immediate reaction to seeing an employee come down with a debilitating disease is to fire them.  Yes.  That is precisely the thing that one does when one wishes to maintain a reputation for empathy and tolerance.  I can’t say that I have as much difficulty as Michelle Malkin reconciling the allegation of Walpin’s mental diminished capacity with his public appearances (see the video above), mostly because neither I nor Ms. Malkin can take it at all seriously…

UPDATE: John Hinderaker, linking to Greg Sargent

Benjamin Sarlin in the Daily Beast

Mark Hemingway at The Corner

UPDATE #2: Joe Conason in Salon

UPDATE #3: Andy McCarthy at The Corner

UPDATE #4: Zachary Roth in TPM

Ed Morrissey

UPDATE #5: Michelle Malkin, linking to Robert Stacy McCain

UPDATE #6: Ed Morrissey

Jake Tapper at ABC

UPDATE #7: Byron York at Washington Examiner

UPDATE #8: More York

UPDATE #9: Washington Times

UPDATE #10: Washington Times

Robert Stacy McCain

UPDATE #11: Josh Gerstein at Politico

Byron York at Washington Examiner

2 Comments

Filed under Political Figures