From the update:
In civil litigation connected to one of a substantial number of federal prosecutions of campaign funding of contributors to Democratic candidate John Edwards, a federal court has directed the Department of Justice to submit to discovery to ascertain whether improper political motivations stood behind its management of the case. The litigation, entitled Beam v. Gonzales, questions the actions of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Federal Elections Commission chair Robert Lenhard in going after a group of Edwards fundraisers.Discovery against the Department of Justice. This should be good.
Senior Republican operatives appear to have targeted John Edwards early in the process of the 2004 presidential election as the most likely Democratic nominee and opponent of the Bush-Cheney reelection effort; extensive efforts were apparently launched within both FEC and DOJ to go after Edwards’s campaign funding resources, with a particularly ferocious focus on trial lawyers. At the same time, the Justice Department took quite extraordinary steps to camouflage its conduct, for fairly obvious reasons—it was sensitive to the potentially adverse consequences for the Bush Administration and its re-election efforts that would result from the disclosure of its use of the machinery of the criminal justice process to attack a political adversary.Here's where Horton gets to sounding very certain about Karl Rove's role in all this:
Improper White House manipulation of criminal justice machinery took a consistent form: political appointees, acting on White House instructions, would “allocate resources” and “deny resources.” When Rove wanted people “taken out,” copious resources—FBI investigators and prosecutors—would be allocated to concocting a case. When Rove wanted to shield Republican operatives who came under suspicion, federal prosecutors would be fired, transferred, retired or reassigned with regularity. The so-called U.S. Attorneys scandal is one manifestation of this process, but in fact it is reflected in a consistent pattern of dealings that stretch back to the beginning of the Bush Administration.And a final few excerpts:
Papers filed in the Beam case provide further evidence of how the scheme was surreptitiously carried out. It appears that Justice Department lawyers involved in the scheme improperly issued subpoenas to financial institutions designed to collect information on campaign fundraisers for Edwards. The subpoenas were marked with a legend saying that their existence was to be treated as a secret. Since the subpoenas were issued in violation of federal laws protecting the secrecy of information by financial institutions, one has to suspect that this extraordinary step was taken because the Justice Department officials involved knew their conduct was unlawful and sought to obscure that fact by avoiding detection.
The stench surrounding these prosecutions is enormous and one particular passage of the plaintiffs’ brief stands out to me:
Gonzales personally authorized a small army of nearly 100 federal agents to raid a law office and simultaneously raid the homes of its employees and their families. Indeed, one agent commented about how he had been flown in from Iraq to help find out why American citizens had made contributions to the John Edwards campaign.
These prosecutions are beyond simply abusive. They may well have crossed the threshold into criminal conduct. The Judiciary Committee needs to secure Michael Mukasey’s commitment that he will appoint a special prosecutor to investigate how these cases came to be asserted and take appropriate punitive action against those responsible. The wrongdoers here are not the career prosecutors and FBI agents who have front line responsibility for the cases—they are playing the roles assigned to them. The wrongdoers will attempt to hide behind career personnel. The wrongdoers are the political operatives and political appointees who are criminally misusing the criminal justice system.This is but one of the prosecutions that have occurred during the Bush administration that are highly suspected to have been politically motivated...notably, there's also the Siegelman case and of late, Horton's written about a case of insider trading that was brought against a former Qwest executive who refused to permit the Bush administration to use it for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping. The upshot is that the case against Nacchio, the former Qwest executive, was political payback for not going along with the NSA demands - get this, in February of 2001, well in advance of September 11th - and to send a message, perhaps, to the heads of other telcos.
The reports are rife and no one at the highest levels of the Bush administration who ordered such abuses is paying any price whatsoever.