Thursday, March 8, 2007

A new meaning for "criminal attorney".

Greg Palast

There's only one thing worse than sacking an honest prosecutor. That's replacing an honest prosecutor with a criminal.

There was one big hoohah in Washington yesterday as House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers pulled down the pants on George Bush's firing of US Attorneys to expose a scheme to punish prosecutors who wouldn't bend to political pressure.

But the Committee missed a big one: Timothy Griffin, Karl Rove's assistant, the President's pick as US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Griffin, according to BBC Television, was the hidden hand behind a scheme to wipe out the voting rights of 70,000 citizens prior to the 2004 election.

Key voters on Griffin's hit list: Black soldiers and homeless men and women. Nice guy, eh? Naughty or nice, however, is not the issue. Targeting voters where race is a factor is a felony crime under the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Go read the details. Griffin oughta be in jail.

Griffin himself ducked our cameras, but his RNC team tried to sell us the notion that the caging sheets were, in fact, not illegal voter hit lists, but a roster of donors to the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign. Republican donors at homeless shelters?

Over the past weeks, Griffin has said he would step down if he had to face Congressional confirmation. However, the President appointed Griffin to the law enforcement post using an odd little provision of the USA Patriot Act that could allow Griffin to skip Congressional questioning altogether.

The major reason that this insidious little provision, inserted in the godawful Patriot Act by the White House, went through unchallenged is that the legislators who voted the act into law never read it before they voted on it. They fell all over themselves to get this thing signed into law so as not to appear "unpatriotic". Cheney, Rove, Bush reeled 'em in like a mackerel. The damage has to now be undone virtually line by line as these things come to light.

Note to Congress: If you want to sign for a loan to get your car fixed without reading it, fine, it's your money. When it comes to laws that affect the well-being of the rest of us, read the goddam thing first.

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