Friday, March 02, 2007

That was then, this is now

Does everyone remember the huge deal that Republicans made in 1993 over the so-called Travelgate non-scandal?

The White House Travel Office is in the residential section of the White House, and as such, staffers serve strictly at the pleasure of the president. Historically, a change of administrations usually resulted in a brand new Travel Office staff. Despite the established presidential privilege of replacing staffers at will, Congressional Republicans alleged that friends of President Bill Clinton, including his cousin Catherine Cornelius, had engineered the firings in order to get the business for themselves.

But a three-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House turned up squat evidence of any wrongdoing and even rabid Clinton-hater Kenneth Starr came up dry on this subject during his desperate search for dirt to use against the Clintons.

Now we have what appears to be a very real abuse of power by the Republican Party and this administration in their mass firings of U.S. attorneys across the country. The latest news reveals that a Republican Senator and a Republican Congresswoman from New Mexico may have pressured the U.S. Attorney in their state to speed up an investigation involving a Democratic state senator in hopes of revealing an indictment before the November mid-term elections (which the Republican Congresswoman just barely won). The U.S. attorney resisted, sticking with his schedule to move ahead with the case that December, and shortly thereafter he was canned.

I would not expect hypocritical Republicans to bat an eye over this issue, but I should think that the rest of the country needs to sit up and take notice. Perhaps they will when these now-former U.S. attorneys appear before a House subcommittee next week to testify about their sudden dismissals.

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