Tuesday, August 21, 2007

In Rove's wake

The fallout from Karl Rove's politicization of the arms of government continues to be uncovered. Two interesting points today.

First, there's a lawsuit being launched out of a little drive-by firing that occurred back in September 2005. A former attorney in the Texas secretary of state's office has launched a lawsuit and it could mean that Karl Rove will have to testify:
An attorney fired from the Texas secretary of state's office for talking publicly about presidential adviser Karl Rove has filed a lawsuit, saying she is the victim of political pressure.

Elizabeth Reyes was dismissed in September 2005 after Mr. Rove called Secretary of State Roger Williams about her quotes in a newspaper story.

In the suit filed in state district court, Ms. Reyes says she was fired "because of the political embarrassment and pressure" after she answered a reporter's questions about Mr. Rove's voting eligibility in Texas.
Given Rove's suspected role in the U.S. attorney firings, his name coming up in connection with the indictment and pursuit of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and his much discussed use of government departments to assist in Republican election fortunes, the firing of an attorney in Texas who happened to comment on Rove's voter eligibility in Texas in a national newspaper doesn't seem quite a stretch anymore, does it? A firing for politically motivated reasons seems entirely possible. My only question...what took them so long?

Secondly, Arianna Huffington puts her finger on the Bush selected "mine safety" czar who also seems to have been chosen, unsurprisingly, in accordance with Bush and Rove's politics-above-all-else philosophy of government:
Coal mining interests have donated more than $12 million to federal candidates since the Bush-era began with the 2000 election cycle, with 88% of that money -- $10.6 million -- going to Republicans.

And what did that largess buy the coal mining industry? Mine safety regulators far more interested in looking out for the financial well-being of mine owners than for the physical well-being of miners.

Exhibit A is Bush's "mine safety" czar, Richard Stickler, whose agency both approved the controversial mining technique used at the Crandall Canyon Mine before the collapse, and oversaw the rescue operation.

Stickler is a former coal company manager with such a lousy safety record at the companies he'd run that his nomination as head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration was twice rejected by Senators from both parties, forcing Bush to sneak him in the back door with a recess appointment.

In other words, the guy the White House tapped to protect miners is precisely the kind of executive the head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration is supposed to protect miners from. And now Stickler is the one who will lead the "investigation" into what happened in Utah -- unless there is enough public outcry to force a truly independent investigation.
Stickler, you're doing a heckuva job there...:)