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Posted by on Mar 30, 2007 in At TMV | 18 comments

The U.S. Attorney Scandal As Black Hole


Scandals have a way of becoming black hole-like in that they suck any associated dirty linen into their maws and spit it out for all the world to see.

The O.J. Simpson case is the Bigfoot of this phenomenon. Before The Juice’s criminal and civil trials were over, practically everyone associated with the sordid affair had been revealed as everything ranging from drug addicts, unfit mothers and serial philanderers to turnstile jumpers, shoplifters and jaywalkers.

And so it is with the ongoing U.S. attorney firing scandal, the one that Republicans claimed would quickly sink with nary a whimper.

All sorts of associated dirty linen is being aired because of the scandal, but my favorite to date is the unauthorized flyover of Air National Guard fighter jets at the grand opening of a Toyota dealership owned by a Republican Party big in Roswell, New Mexico.

This Only in America moment has now gotten a second life because of an anti-David Iglesias radio ad running in New Mexico, as well as that Josh Marshall fella.

Iglesias, of course, is the U.S. attorney infamously axed for not kissing the backsides of a New Mexico Republican senator and congresswoman who wanted him to get tough with Democrats before the crucial November 2006 mid-term election. Marshall, of course, is the blogger that kept the scandal from dying because of doggedly digging into its roots with the help of his readers at Talking Point Memo.

Anyhow, the radio ad is being run by a group called New Mexicans for Honest Courts (sic).

The website of the group (sic) says that its chairman is Linda Chavez Krumland, who is a major Republican contributor, was an at-large delegate to the 2004 Republican National Convention, and owns Roswell Toyota.

Her husband, Tom Krumland, also a 2004 RNC delegate, hit a rough patch after he and Dan Foley, a Republican state representative, snookered the New Mexico Air National Guard into arranging an F-16 flyover at the grand opening of the dealership the day before Veterans Day 2005 when the commanding general thought it was for something else altogether.

This gross misuse of taxpayer money might have gone unnoticed except that Tom Krumland forgot to invite local veterans groups to the festivities and they raised heck.

Krumland’s initial response to the controversy didn’t help:

If we offended anybody, then they’re unpatriotic.

He later apologized (sic).

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  • stevesh

    Manny Aragon, three others indicted in kickback scheme

    Last Update: 03/29/2007 7:04:29 PM
    By: Todd Dukart

    Four people, including a former leader of the New Mexico Senate, were indicted Thursday in an alleged kickback scheme that’s at the core of the debate over the firing of U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

    Former state Senate President Pro Tem Manny Aragon, Toby Martinez, Raul Parra and Sandra Mata Martinez all face charges including conspiracy, mail fraud, and money laundering.

    The U.S. attorney’s office in Albuquerque says Marc Schiff, Ken Schultz and Manuel Guara had already entered plea deals in the case.


    Feinstein Resigns
    Senator exits MILCON following Metro exposé, vet-care scandal
    Metroactive (3/21/07)

    By Peter Byrne

    SEN. Dianne Feinstein has resigned from the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee. As previously and extensively reviewed in these pages, Feinstein was chairperson and ranking member of MILCON for six years, during which time she had a conflict of interest due to her husband Richard C. Blum’s ownership of two major defense contractors, who were awarded billions of dollars for military construction projects approved by Feinstein.


    As of December 2006, according to SEC filings and, three corporations in which Blum’s financial entities own a total of $1 billion in stock won considerable favor from the budgets of the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs: ….

  • If it isn’t obvious, Aragon and his cohorts are Democrats.

  • HawkishDove

    The action of President Johnson that led directly to his impeachment was his deliberate violation of the Tenure of Office Act. By discharging Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton on February 21, 1868, Johnson intentionally defied Congress.

    The Constitutionality of the Act was a major point of contention during the trial. Harper’s Weekly discussed the “obscurity of the law” in an April 17, 1869 editorial, “An Unsettling Settlement”, which was printed a month after Johnson’s term ended.

    The Tenure of Office Act was repealed in 1887. In 1926, the Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional even though it had been repealed almost 40 years before. The ruling came in the Myers v. U.S. case that dealt with the ability of Congress to limit the removal powers of the President with regard to postmasters.

    There is no black hole other then what the bloggers are making. The Attorneys are Political appointments. Political cronies can be fired on a whim. However if you push hard enough it does not matter if you find any wrong doing or not. You can continue to make the President and his party look bad. That is the witch hunt the democrats have embarked upon until the 2008 election is complete and the Democrats are Totally in control.

    What I find totally amusing in all this. I find politics amusing by the way. Is that the democrats covet exactly what the democrats have been bemoaning for these last 6 years. They want absolute control of the house, senate and presidency so they can embark upon their own “Unchecked” agenda.

    Politics. Don’t you just love it.

  • stevesh

    If it isn’t obvious, Aragon and his cohorts are Democrats.

    My object in living is to unite
    My avocation and my vocation
    As my two eyes make one in sight.
    (Robert Frost, “Two Tramps in Mud Time”)

  • kritter

    HawkishDove You can continue to make the President and his party look bad. That is the witch hunt the democrats have embarked upon until the 2008 election

    Um, I think the President and his party looked pretty bad before this hearing- that’s why the Democrats were elected in the first place. So nice try!

    The Attorneys are Political appointments. Political cronies can be fired on a whim.
    You hit the nail on the head- the long tradition of hiring USA’s has been to pick candidates you believe will follow the evidence- whether it leads to Democrats or Republicans in corruption cases. They are usually left in place if they are pursuing important corruption cases to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.

    It may be that no law exists to prevent the president from putting less qualified, political cronies in place of top prosecutors, but it doesn’t make it less sleazy. There is no law that Bush has to keep experienced, competent people with top prosecution records in place, but the fact that he has gutted the government of so many career officials to replace them with loyalists who share his ideology or happen to be well-connected politically, gives us the answer for why the government is failing us in so many different areas – from FEMA, to Walter Reed, to the CIA, to DOJ. There was an informative article in WAPO,about Monica Goodling- a good little soldier in the Bush army. Seems she ransacked Justice, removing career officials with many years of experience, to replace them with political cronies. The precedent that all of this sets for our justice system is breathtaking.

  • kritter

    Data indicate that the offices of the U.S. Attorneys across the nation investigate seven (7) times as many Democratic officials as they investigate Republican officials, a number that exceeds even the racial profiling of African Americans in traffic stops

    (Apologies to David Shraub for stealing his quote here.) Yes, no laws are being broken-the USA’s are aggressively pursuing the Bush political agenda. I’m sure their evaluations will reflect their successful prosecution rate of these cases. Now, if a Democrat wins in ’08, would those in the GOP feel comfortable if these statistics were reversed?

  • HawkishDove


    You fail to understand my point in your deep seated anger at all things Republican.

    It does not matter what you think. They are political appointments and can be removed on a whim. The 1926 Us Supreme court ruling made sure of that.

    No longer speaking to Kim but to all bloggers everywhere.

    I am sorry the plain truth annoys you. There is only one type of truth.
    Its called the truth. Anything else is pure spin.

    The truth is the Democrats are witch hunting because they can. Just as the republicans witch hunted with Clinton. The problem I see with this is that the only purpose it is serving is to further polarize this country.

    You bemoan the polarization and then forcefully join in the party spinning the truth to suit your agendas while calling the other side demagogues.

  • HawkishDove

    Oh and by the way I am neither Republican or Democrat. I am neither liberal nor conservative.

    I am an American first and foremost and anything that hurts America, hurts me. That is my agenda. When the Republicans start witch hunting in 2008 I will be there with my pen and I will be blasting them for their hate spewing and begging for sanity and a return to the Truth.

    For in war the first casualty is the truth and the Republicans and the Democrats have declared war on each other and the truth was the first thing to expire.

  • kritter

    HawkishDove- truth can change daily- so I’m not sure what you are talking about? Whether or not these are political appointees should not be the issue here- it should be whether voters find it acceptable to have an administration in office whose entire existence appears to be geared towards establishing a permanent Republican majority who value ideology and loyalty over competence and integrity.

    If you don’t believe in the inherent fairness of the justice system as an integral part of our democracy, than I can see why the statistics I quoted above fail to bother you. I am center-left, but would not want a Democratic administration to purge outstanding USA’s to replace them with well-connected loyalists, either. I agree that this is the result of increased polarization within our
    political institutions, but that doesn’t make it any less sleazy or regrettable.

  • kritter

    Hawkish Dove- If you are so interested in the truth, why object to the hearings which are designed to bring out the truth? If it means so much to you, then as an American, why does it not bother you that Gonzales has been lying about his involvement to congress, or that there were 4 or 5 different explanations about these firings, and lies about the WH’s involvement in them? There would have been no hearings in the first place, if the truth had been told.

  • HawkishDove

    Because Kim the hearings are a witchhunt designed to do exactly what they did with Scooter Libby. Entrap him, catch him in a lie and then prosecute someone. They did the exact same thing with Clinton. They had a worthless hearing, got him to lie and then said “Gotcha.”

    What geniunely hurts me is that everyone wants this, demands this and begs for it to happen because they really don’t see the hate for the other side boiling in their veins.

    They feel justified in as many “Gotchas.” as they can manage. Their very thinking is “well they are a Republican They must be guilty of something.” If we dig long enough we will get them to lie and “Gotcha.”

    Is that what you want to happen the next time you get pulled over for speeding? Have the police officer drag you out, take you to jail and grill you unmerciful until they “Gotcha.” Of course you don’t but somehow its become okay to do that in Washington and I disagree.

    I am not defending Republicans. I am defending “sanity” and decrying “lunacy”.

  • Hawishdove:

    You don’t have to defend the Republicans becuase they’re not even defending Gone-zalez on this one. You’re looking through the wrong end of the binoculars.

    And I am sorry for your hurt. You might want to get acquainted with “Jackson,” who has put up lengthy comments today on the Iraq war in which he childs myself and others for getting “emotional” over that bloodbath.

    He seems to be quite capable of curing any emotional feelings you might have.

  • joep


    Stop using what happened to Scooter Libby as the example of a witchhunt to specifically “nab” someone. He lied in front of a grand jury. During Libby’s testimony to the grand jury Patrick Fitzgerald gave him numerous opportunities to give an accurate statement, but he stuck to his made up story. He had a ridiculous story (I heard it than forgot it and then remembered it when Tim Russert told me) with no evidence to support it, such as a witness to support his chain of events. Meanwhile there were ten witnesses who contradicted his statements.

    Scooter Libby’s mistake was the initial lie during the Ashcroft stage of the investigation when he thought the whole thing would get swept under the rug. He presumed that there would be no aggressive pursuit of the case and that all of his media contacts would “protect” their sources. Since he needed to protect Cheney and given President Bushes initial statements that anyone found leeking would be terminated from the administration, he lied.

    The Department of Justice problem is such a focus because of who we are dealing with. It is the Department of Justice for Christ’s sake. If you want our society to hold you have to have complete confidence in the ability of legal system to be blind to all partisan political factors. Yesterday’s active participants included Spector, Kyl and Sessions, all who asked good questions and were involved in the process. Except for Orin Hatch (what do you expect), this was a bi-partisan event.

  • HawkishDove

    Stop using what happened to Scooter Libby as the example of a witchhunt to specifically “nab� someone.


    Who are you to tell me what to do? To tell me what I can and cannot say. Is the internet Blogg now become censured with self appointed “Blogg Police”

    Perhaps it has. With people who are so angered by anything that they spend their days telling other people what they should and should not think. Yes I understand now. I am supposed to be a good little blogger and not question anything that is being drug thru the mudd.

    Yes it all makes sense to me now. Forgive me. I will sign up for my Nazi Blogger card and join the Fascist Blogger Union.

  • kritter

    Hawkishdove-please feel free to be as irrational in the face of the facts as you want to be. Delusional thought-patterns are no crime in this country, lol! In fact we have an entire administration who shares this same malady.

  • HawkishDove

    Yes my response was quite comical wasnt it? It was about as intelligent as the post I responded to. It was meant to be exactly what it was.

    Stupid. absurd and without merit or point.

  • Jason Shapiro

    U.S. Attorneys may be political appointees but when Senators, Congressmen, and assorted White House flunkies hold meetings and make phone calls to demand that certain U.S. Attorneys be terminated…and it just so happens that a number of the terminees were directing criminal investigations that have or will result in a certain level of “Republican discomfort,” well, that’s something else isn’t it? How about obstruction of justice? We do not know for a fact that such obstruction occurred but let’s just follow the evidence and find out. Isn’t that what a good prosecuter is supposed to do? For example, let’s put Pete Domenici under oath and see what he has to say about Mr. Iglesias. There are many. many threads in this tapestry and even if Fredo resigns, this one is not going away.

  • No, one cannot expect to fire people in positions as sensitive as USAs, political appointees or not and expect there to not be blowback. Especially given the way this has been handled. Does anyone really believe that the conversation with Domenici recounted by Iglesias wasn’t a political hack deciding to get rid of a U.S. Attorney whose investigations didn’t turn out the way the hack wanted?

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