Thursday, May 3, 2007

Catch-22 Over at Gonzalesville

Monica Goodling was the conduit between Karl Rove and what remained of the Justice Department under the tutelage of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Director of Public Affairs for the United States Department of Justice is the title, White House liaison is the job, which encompasses a wider ripple than Rove (if wider ripples exist).


Monicagoodling Monica Goodling was the conduit between Karl Rove and what remained of the Justice Department under the tutelage of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Director of Public Affairs for the United States Department of Justice is the title, White House liaison is the job, which encompasses a wider ripple than Rove (if wider ripples exist).

It seems an over-large responsibility for a 33 year-old, particularly one with no prior experience.

Goodling took a Bachelor of Arts degree from Messiah College in 1995 and her law degree from Regent University Law School in 1999. One of the Bush administration’s 150 faith-based young zealots that are now holding down oversight positions within various agencies. But Monica is the one everyone wants to talk to.

Olivernorth The first senior government official since that palavering paragon of patriotism, Oliver North, to take the 5th Amendment against self-incrimination before the Congress, Goodling has now been offered limited immunity. Which was enough to shake loose North, but may not be for Goodling.

Why? Because Justice has set up its own intricate Catch-22. In what is known as the set-up,

Justice spokesman Dean Boyd said that as part of her job, Goodling reviewed applications for entry-level prosecutor positions in some offices headed by interim or acting U.S. attorneys. In those cases, Boyd said, Goodling "may have taken prohibited considerations into account" and "whether or not the allegation is true is currently the subject of the ongoing investigation by the inspector general and the Office of Professional Responsibility." (Washington Post, May 3rd)

So, conveniently and suddenly, there is an allegation.

Boyd noted that it is against federal law and internal Justice policies to consider political affiliation in hiring for nonpolitical jobs. The allegation against Goodling was referred to investigators several weeks ago by U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg of Alexandria, who was serving temporarily as Gonzales's chief of staff.

Several weeks ago--as in the shit has hit the fan for the boss and we better get hustling.

Ozcowardlylion If this seems a bit Oz-like in its provenance, consider that Gonzales’ (latest and newest) chief of staff has suddenly gotten religion about political considerations in an agency that seems to have been nothing but one big political consideration. The throat Rosenberg has gone for just happens to be the woman who sat at Gonzales’ side as senior counsel during this past contentious year.

Talk about throwing someone under the bus. So, now to the sting,

(Washington Post) The investigation of Goodling complicates efforts by the House Judiciary Committee to offer her immunity in exchange for testimony. Goodling quit as Gonzales's senior counselor last month and has invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions from Congress about the prosecutor firings.

Goodling's attorney, John M. Dowd, said yesterday that Goodling would agree to testify under such a deal. But the Justice Department must approve the immunity and certify that the move would not interfere with current or possible criminal prosecutions.

Dowd said Goodling would demand similar immunity before Justice investigators can interview her.

Bushgonzales So, in Gonzalesville, the rules are such that if the Senate Judiciary Committee wants to grant immunity to a Justice employee in order to find out if the Justice Department has been acting improperly, Gonzales has to approve the immunity. Whew. Can we try to parse that? The Judiciary Committee (which has Justice Department oversight and confirmed Gonzales) needs Gonzales permission to grant their witness immunity.

Chuckrosenberg In this particular case—specifically because of Chuck Rosenberg’s allegation—the possible prosecution has to do with Monica Goodling herself.

Catch-22.

Can you picture the Eureka-moment when the late-night-oil burners at Justice came up with that ploy? Things are getting curiouser and curiouser. Not to worry, President Bush has increasing confidence in the idiot he has allowed to muddy up what had always enjoyed a reputation as a last bastion of integrity in a sea of politics.

Steady as she goes.

Elliottrichardson In times that smelled very like these times, Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and his Deputy Attorney General, William D. Ruckelshaus, both resigned rather than accept President Williamruckleshaus Richard Nixon’s order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. A bronze statue of each of these incorruptible men might be usefully displayed to the right and left of the entrance to the Department of Justice.

The current Attorney General seems unable to find his notes, his memory or his ass with both hands, much less any incorruptible insight. I have no doubt that Monica Goodling did her job as best she saw her job. That may have been through a prism clouded by her inexperience. It may also have been flawed by an overweening sense of religious duty and ambition.

Those are good reasons to avoid certain hiring practices that may come back to haunt. But once made, once the hiree has done their best to fulfill the very ambitions for which they were hired, it’s a disingenuous to throw them overboard.

How ironic that Gonzales would personally benefit from his president’s unwillingness to do what he himself has never shirked—throwing anyone and everyone standing in his judgment under the bus for personal survival. How illuminating of the Gonzales character that he would engineer a pseudo-legal ploy to save his own incompetent butt.

This bunch supporting Bush, for reasons that may never be fully known, continue to believe in the face of a tsunami of evidence to the contrary, that they occupy the moral high ground.

Worse yet, they ask us to believe it.
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