Lost in Libbyland: More Scandalous Justice News

While we all were focusing Tuesday upon I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's sentencing, there was on Capitol Hill another important hearing focusing upon improper and perhaps even illegal practices at the Justice Department. The Senate Judiciary Committee hosted a fellow named Bradley Schlozman, a supervisor at Justice's Civil Rights Division, who candidly told the panel that he was all about politics, and bringing into the fold conservative lawyers, when he worked for the feds. Schlozman's testimony is still more proof that for years now the Department has been adrift in a sea of rank partisanship.

Here's how the Boston Globe's Charlie Savage put it: "His testimony had been widely anticipated because former career Justice Department officials have accused Schlozman of trying to 'remake' the Civil Rights Division in a more conservative mold. During Schlozman's tenure at the Civil Rights Division, prior experience in civil rights among newly hired civil service attorneys plunged, while conservative credentials rose, résumés show...Throughout the hearing, Schlozman sat hunched and alone at the witness table with his hands clasped tightly. No Republican senator attended the hearing, allowing Democrats to grill him without respite. Schlozman's testimony was also anticipated because Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales installed him as the first replacement U.S. attorney last year after the firings began, though he had no prior trial experience. Schlozman went on to serve 13 months as the top prosecutor in the western district of Missouri, bypassing Senate confirmation."

Schlozman's testimony infuriated Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.). To get a flavor for how things went, here is how the folks at McClatchy saw it:

Things got testy when Leahy questioned Schlozman on his indictment of four voter registration workers one week before the November 2006 elections, despite a department policy that discourages politically sensitive indictments close to an election.

Schlozman testified that he brought the indictments against the employees of ACORN, a liberal community activist group that registers poor people and minorities to vote, "at the direction of the Public Integrity Section," the Justice Department unit that oversees voter-fraud prosecutions.

"At your instigation," Leahy said.

"The Department of Justice does not time prosecutions to elections," Schlozman said.

"Yes they do," Leahy shouted, his voice echoing through the packed hearing room. Leahy held up a department manual that lays out parameters for bringing election-related prosecutions.

Schlozman said that the timing of the prosecutions didn't violate the longstanding department policy. He added that he "did not think it (the prosecution) was going to have any effect on the election."

"Amazing," Leahy responded.

Amazing indeed. Keep your eyes now on the Office of Professional Responsibility and the Office of the Inspector General. The folks in those offices are full-on into their investigations into this mess. And when their shoes drop, this scandal will go to a whole new level. At least that's one humble blogger's opinion.

By Andrew Cohen |  June 7, 2007; 8:04 AM ET
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Schlozman is the modern-day equivalent to Caligula's horse in the Senate. Supremely unqualified to do the job, but stuck in there JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN! We will ram a yutz down your throat to demonstrate our power to do whatever we want.

I shouldn't slag Schloz unnecessarily, though, because he was good at one thing -- perpetuating Repiglican election fraud. He was a useful tool for flinging poo during close elections and preventing voters from voting. The memos Greg Palast is publicising prive that.

What saddens me is that the Washington Post is doing so little to publicise this, aside from Cohen's notable efforts. I did a search of Schlozman's name with the Post's widget, and found an AP story and a rehash of the same under a staff writer's byline that missed the significance of the testimony. Only Cohen, and Air America Radio, which I listen to here via podcasts, give us the MEANING of the crookedness these b@stards have been up to. Thank you, Cohen, for telling us the WHOLE truth, but God help the U.S. when the press is keeping it in ignorance.

Posted by: Bukko in Australia | June 7, 2007 09:41 AM

Andrew,

When are the OPR and IG investigations likely to produce their reports/indict?

Posted by: Ian | June 7, 2007 09:45 AM

Andrew,

When are the OPR and IG investigations likely to produce their reports/indict?

Posted by: Ian | June 7, 2007 09:45 AM

While it has been clear that the Bush Administration has been remaking the US in the image of our medieval enemies, until I heard Schlozman's voice I wouldn't have imagined they'd go so far as to create a corps of court eunuchs. Gotta credit the attention to detail.
The testimony was just amazing, and highly entertaining, well worth catching on YouTube. I don't think you could write a character that pathetic and weasely and have it believable. Even worse than Gonzalas.

Posted by: wrb | June 7, 2007 09:58 AM

Bukko - Dan Eggen in The Post has been covering it.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/05/AR2007060502352_pf.html

It's simply not an everyday part of the Justice story, just one of a number of component parts.

Posted by: DC | June 7, 2007 10:18 AM

The timing of the Schlozman hearing was a nice side-show within a bigger show. Originally he was supposed to appear in early May, and then Whoops, Schlozman is out of town and his first availability is the day the Libby verdict is to be delivered. (Nice management of news coverage, still it may ultimately be a moot point).

As far as the OIG and OPR investigations go, I really don't know what to expect here--although I am a little bit skeptical about what the end product will be. I would have a lot more confidence in the appointment of a well-qualified, well-respected special prosecutor who is not connected with Main Justice.

Btw, does anyone know what the deal is the the DOJ document production? Who has oversight of the process, and which players are involved? We keep getting these dribs and drabs of information--e.g. last night yet another mini document dump.

Posted by: JP2 | June 7, 2007 11:55 AM

I watched the Schlozman show from end to end. Just amazing. After watching Gonzales and Sampson and Schlozman I find myself wondering where they found these guys, under what rock. They both look and sound sleazy and they baldly confirm their characters with their testimony. Can any reasonable observer doubt that these guys are lying under oath? So our "Justice" Department has been under the control of criminals, perjurers, obstructors of justice and the President of the United States loves these guys. Gonzales has "done nothing wrong." How can anyone have any respect for the leaders of this regime? And will someone tell me again why we are supposed to believe that these folks are good, church-going, bible-reading, God-fearing people?

Posted by: PBosleySlogthrop | June 7, 2007 12:41 PM

Slog: The more conspicuously "sinful" and flawed they are (as we all are assumed to be), the more church-going, religion-obsessed they must necessarily be. One gets special Christian attention (and so in a sense are superior to the more law-abiding and self-limiting rest of the people, who are therefore inferior)the more flawed, and therefore needful of religion one is (one can always be "saved" at any time)

Posted by: Rex | June 7, 2007 03:44 PM

wrb:
"gotta credit the attention to detail" In context a low blow (maybe apt for that reason!) but quite funny!

Posted by: Ducat | June 7, 2007 03:47 PM

wrb:

LOL on the eunuchs. When I hear him on NPR, I almost expected him to break out in a chorus of "Ding Dong the Wicked Witch is Dead."

When he testified: "I don't think it affected the election" I was shouting at the radio, THEN WHY DID YOU BRING IT?!!!

Every time I think they couldn't have done anything worse, they prove me wrong.

Posted by: Nellie | June 7, 2007 05:12 PM

Slog

>>Can any reasonable observer doubt that these guys are lying under oath?>And will someone tell me again why we are supposed to believe that these folks are good, church-going, bible-reading, God-fearing people?<<

I have a theory based on observation, that I don't have time to fully flesh out today, but in brief:

I our childhoods Christianity was based on the loving and humble message of Jesus. This new set of "Christians" largely come out of the recovery movement. They have turned to a higher power, due to court order or other personal crisis to bolster them against their demons. The power chosen doesn't really matter- Yahweh, Allah, Baal Zebub--and abiding by the details of the faith doesn't matter, it is the power, the raw faith, and resulting support against personal darkness that matter.

In this the John's revelations (or drug trip) that got appended to the bible are more useful than the words of Jesus

Posted by: wrb | June 7, 2007 05:52 PM

>>In context a low blow<<

If anything has been made clear, it is that you can't hurt them there.

Posted by: wrb | June 7, 2007 06:45 PM

wrb: We're consistently on the same page.
Uncanny!

Posted by: Rex | June 7, 2007 08:58 PM

What's this thing about OPR? Folks! Does anyone who knows ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT DOJ actually think that OPR IS SOMEHOW SEPARATE FROM DOJ?

OPR, my friends, answers to the DAG-the deputy AG of the US of A. And who is that person until the end of summer? Why, no one other than the lying, bungling, no-nothing PAUL MCNULTY, that's who! He's the one who gets to make ALL THE CALLS ON SANCTIONS against any DOJ attorney referred to OPR!

Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse!

No one in DC trusts OPR to do the right thing, because Marshall Jarrett, the head of OPR is, shock! shock! "a political type."

No, if you want independent oversight of DOJ, then you gotta go to the IG's office. OPR NO GOOD.

Posted by: arrabbiato | June 8, 2007 01:25 PM

Well, that last bit is certainly true.

Posted by: chiaramente | June 8, 2007 09:35 PM

Chiaramente likes Arrabbiato's DOJ observations so much, it should be brought forward!

"the truth matters EVER SO MUCH" Oh, puh-leeze! Patrick Fitzgerald! Except, and only if, it doesn't apply to the LIAR AND CONCEALERS OF INFORMATION AT THE DOJ, NOW DOESN'T IT?

Right off the bat, I'm thinking Paul McNulty, the deputy AG of the DOJ-hope he's "lawyering up" for the next round-and gee, wonder who he's going to blame next-after that very unflattering Legal Times article about him, and his bungling prosecutors in the Moussaoui case-yeah, the LT got THAT RIGHT!

Ole' Paul, and his AG Gonzales -now those two are a pair of lyin' little bookends-and as for those so-called "career" prosecutors-most of them (and particularly those who work in the Eastern District of Virginia) are simply "thugs"-masquerading as prosecutors!

So, Fitzgerald, spare us your little "importance of the "TRUTH" BS-as we all WELL know, DOJ officials wouldn't recognize THE TRUTH if it jumped up and bit them twice on the ass!

So once you clean up your own very dirty Department, with people who place "truth," "accuracy" and "integrity" in serving the PEOPLE, instead of trying to blame everyone else for their own considerable defaults-THEN I might listen to your blarney!

You might also want to give some "ethics" seminars to those grand "career" prosecutors and DOJ lawyers (particularly in the EDVA) as well, since some of them seem to have no trouble at all misleading and deceiving federal judges-a very serious charge indeed-but thank Paul McNulty for that!

The Department of Justice is rotten to the core, and makes me retch!

Posted by: arrabbiato | June 5, 2007 08:22 PM

Posted by: chiaramente | June 8, 2007 10:03 PM

Chiaramente wants to see how well people can play connect the dots here:

Further to Patrick Fitzgeralds THE TRUTH MATTERS.....

I think Chuck Rosenberg of the USAO, EDVA has been taking lessons from Paul McNulty, Main DOJ, and his own prosecutors on how to misrepresent and conceal information from the public, as well as doing the same before federal judges.

Not to mention viciously slandering everyone who tries to shed light on the subject.

Of course, DOJ prosecutors, particularly those in the EDVA, are such experts at misleading, misrepresenting, and playing fast and loose with the truth, that it is like second nature to them, they wouldn't know any other way. Certain magistrate judges are aware of this problem, but nothing seems to be done about it.

You could say it's astonishing that career prosecutors in Virginia get away with as much as they've been allowed to get away with, while Main DOJ continues to keep its vow of "omerta" -but who's going to do anything about it-Alice Fisher? Paul McNulty? Alberto Gonzales? OPR-who answers to Paul McNulty? Don't THINK SO!

There is absolutely no one minding the store at the Department of Justice-really, no one; everyone is afraid to say or do anything, because it might cause further adverse publicity for the Department, and adverse publicity is always worse than doing the right thing.

And that's another problem: DOJ lawyers no longer recognize or understand what the word "integrity" or the term "doing justice" really mean.

Posted by: arrabbiato | June 6, 2007 02:32 AM

Fully agreed arra.. (and have some pasta while you're at it)

Posted by: Verdura | June 6, 2007 11:40 AM

Posted by: arrabbiato | June 6, 2007 12:31 PM

Posted by: chiaramente | June 9, 2007 10:41 AM

Hmmmm. I think I can play this game, and add a few more dots to this exercise Chiara-I believe I know what you are talking about!

Just remember! The Department of Justice will do anything and everything to
protect one(s) of their own-the vow of "omerta" is EVER SO STRONG-the Camorra
got NUTHIN' on the DOJ!!

It really is true what Friedrich Nietzsche says, you know-that which does not
destroy you, not only makes you stronger, but it makes you immune, or perhaps a better word, impervious to continuous attempts to "silence" -by the thugs out there in thugland.

Take Chuck Rosenberg, for instance. Now there's a US Attorney who's learned GOOD from his insiders-he just says, teach me boys, about all the ways you can lie, mislead, misrepresent and deceive federal judges, how we can blame others for our defaults, and USE OTHERS TO DO OUR DIRTY WORK AS A COVER FOR US, and by god, we'll go for it!

Thugs will be thugs, won't they? And thug culture is hard to eradicate.

After all, Rosenberg learned from the best-Paul McNulty! NO ONE of the officials at DOJ has quite mastered McNulty's technique for using others to cover for his defaults (but many who can give him a run for his money!)

Posted by: | June 10, 2007 10:10 AM

My My My! Chiara, are you PRESCIENT or something??? I just read a brand new "Letter to the Editor" today on the Legal Times website from the very person you were speaking of-the devil himself-Chuck Rosenberg! Wow! You're really RIGHT ON about this "omerta" thing at DOJ, aren't you?

Chuck had to come out and defend HIS office, the thugs at the USAO, EDVA prosecutors, as well as Paul McNulty, to the hilt, since he took great exception to the Legal Times unflattering article on McNulty, and the LT's characterization of the "largely bungled Moussaoui trial."

Let's see, I seem to remember a March 10, 2006 article that says "Judge Warns Prosecutors Treading On Delicate Ground" when AUSA David J. Novak was accused of 1. coaching his FBI witnesses and 2. making a loud and improper remark before the jury that was struck immediately by the judge, and almost caused a mistrial:

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/10/AR2006031001959_pf.html

And that was just the FIRST week of trial!

Rosenberg calls the Moussaoui Trial "A SHINING EXAMPLE OF THE RULE OF LAW."

Uh, okay, Chuck, whatever! You keep that vow of "omerta" going-you keep concealing the truth about what happened, and continue to crow about the "professionalism" of those prosecutors-gotta protect your own!

Rotten apples and all!

But what Arrabbiato said WAS ABSOLUTELY TRUE ABOUT YOUR OFFICE.

Meanwhile, over at OPR.........

Posted by: LaVeriteVraie | June 10, 2007 08:52 PM

Some serious sock puppetry going on here...

Posted by: | June 11, 2007 10:31 AM

Shhhhhh! C'est un SECRET, VeriteVraie!

Mais, peut-etre un journal comme Le Monde o Paris Match serait interesse par une histoire comme ca, n'est-ce pas? Il y a BEAUCOUP a le dire!

You KNOW what DOJ thugs do to people who tell on them, don't you?????

ILS VOUS ENTERRENT.

THEY BURY YOU.

Faites Attention!

Posted by: Arrabbiato | June 11, 2007 10:59 AM

Information comes out bit by bit, and a picture begins to form. So Arrabiato/Chiaro/Cinemaverite you want to just come out and tell your story, as you've beaten about the bush so much?

Posted by: Fra Diavolo | June 11, 2007 01:33 PM

Ah yes Friedrich, pathological weakling and invalid, preaching a "gospel of POWER", which is embraced by all the dominant interest group fragments in the country. Must be OK if most of the population HAVE A WILL TO POWER, that can't be a problem, then we have "deterrence" entirely in line with many of the prevailing current beliefs (e.g.gun ownership as a necessary right, the armed "militia" as necessary for democracy, "justice", the righteousness of an " eye for an eye"). And the view of human tendencies promoted by such-and DON'T EVEN TRY TO SAY THIS ISN'T A MAJORITY NOW given what positions and reactions are popularly supported, even at absurd disproportionate costs to individual lives- is so opposite and perverse to the assumptions of this democratic republic (whoever thinks the 2nd amendment for instance supports this, its a shame they got a diploma with THOSE reading abilities), it shows that such promoters of "democracy" and "freedom" really don't believe in the democratic bargain, and really don't deserve it. They essentially cheat by Procrusteanly trying to take the benefits without accepting the disciplines (seen as "costs" and downside to them)with which the benefits are innately connected.

To realize that we've come from the principles which have guided the fair-minded components of the country for most of its time to THIS, while at the same time loudly crowing about the fidelity to traditional American principles (by those who most deliberately strove to subvert and cheat it, whatever lies they profess, unwittingly,to be naively charitable) and not content with getting away with their cheating here but imposing their pathologies and bottom-of-the- barrel temptations on much of the rest of the world, makes me REALLY ill. Pathetic.

Posted by: Joshua | June 11, 2007 02:07 PM

Fra Diavolo:

Se Lei non fosse cosi sciocco, e ottuso, Lei gia comprenderebbe il caso con i procuratore di Virginia, e particularmente, questo cosidetto "professionalismo" alla parte delle procuratore che Chuck Rosenberg ne ha parlato nella sua lettera al Legal Times!!

"DOJ" e un sinonimo per "bugiardi" e "voto di omerta"

Posted by: arrabbiato | June 11, 2007 02:37 PM

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