Saturday, October 29, 2005

Fitzgerald Has Bush in a Catch 22

Karl Rove's modus operandi has always been to savagely attack, no matter how hypocritical or false the attack may be.  


But just as Rove and Bush face their most serious political crisis ever, Rove is robbed of his political superpowers, and Bush remains seriously vulnerable.  


Patrick Fitzgerald has also demonstrated a cunning prosecutorial strategy.  Instead of announcing all of the indictments in the case, Fitzgerald only announced one, and said that the investigation would be continuing; more indictments for others could still follow.  


Apparently, according to rumors, Karl Rove narrowly escaped indictment this time around.  And although Rove may be a very splendid archetype of one of those villainous characters who would stab you in the back after you saved his life, because of the way that Fitzgerald has handled this, Rove can do very little.


He can not, as was done with John Kerry and Joe Wilson (and many others) launch a slanderous (and perhaps libelous) attack against Patrick Fitzgerald.  Because, and I may differ with our friend Tom Delay, who as I understand it is very happy to have been indicted, it is not a sound legal strategy to attack the prosecutor who has the ability to prosecute you.  If Patrick Fitzgerald is weighing in his mind whether he should bring a charge, such actions would likely piss him off.


But it gets better.  I'm studying for the bar right now, and the indictments prove an interesting read.   There is no way, even if he might have a good case, that "Scooter" is going to want to go on trial for this, if he has any loyalty in him to the Republican party.  Such a trial would bring out such scandalous information about the way that the corrupt Bush administration has operated, it would almost certainly wipe away any republican chances of power until 2010.  


The only plausible scenario that comes to mind in which Scooter might be able to escape the joy of prison life is if he spills the beans on Cheney and Rove (and who knows who else).  


So the chance is very good that Libby will go to prison, and if not Libby, someone even higher in the administration.  When Lawrence Walsh made his Iran Contra indictments, it was at the end of the Bush administration, allowing Bush time to grant post-election pardons and prevent any of indictees from being convicted.  


This option won't be available to Bush until early 2009 however (assuming he's around that long), which means that some officials in his administration will actually go to prison (which is likely to reinforce the seriousness of this scandal in the public mind).


Patrick Fitzgerald has taken on organized crime.  That is probably the optimal experience to have to take on the Bush political machine.  And today he has shown great prowess.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Did Noe Funnel Ohio Retirement Funds to Bush Campaign at Taft's Behest?

Cross-posted at dailykos.com

We know that Bob Taft and Tom Noe were very good golfing buddies. So good was their golfing friendship, that Mr. Taft was willing to risk going to jail for it.
Washington Post
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (R) yesterday pleaded no contest to charges that he violated state ethics laws, becoming the first governor in the state's history convicted of a crime and providing powerful ammunition to Democrats seeking to break the Republican Party's dominance in a critical swing state[...]
Taft, who cooperated with investigators, issued a public apology after being convicted on four misdemeanor counts for failing to report 52 golf outings, dinners and other entertainment gifts. He was fined $4,000, the maximum. Taft, who by law cannot run again, said he will not resign[...]
Among the golf outings were two from Tom Noe...


About that Mr. Noe...


Toledo BladeA federal grand jury has indicted Tom Noe — the former Toledo-area coin dealer at the center of a state investment scandal — on three counts for allegedly laundering money into President Bush’s re-election campaign.

The three-count indictment says that beginning in October 2003, Mr. Noe contributed to President Bush’s election campaign “over and above the limits established by the Federal Election Campaign Act."

“He did so, according to the indictment, in order to fulfill his pledge to raise $50,000 for a Bush-Cheney fund-raiser held in Columbus, Ohio, on Oct. 30, 2003,” Gregory White, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio, announced at an afternoon news conference

The two other counts were for conspiracy and filing false statements.


Where could all that money have come from? The two articles, together, certainly raise a possibility. Again, the Post

Among the golf outings were two from Tom Noe, a prominent Republican fundraiser and rare coin dealer who is at the heart of a larger scandal involving the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, which invested approximately $50 million in rare coins through Noe. Investigators later found $10 million to $13 million was missing, sending GOP officials scampering to escape the taint of association with Noe.


Certainly the amount of money missing is much larger than these indictments explain, but is it possible that at least one portion of the missing money $10 million was so diverted? Perhaps the rest of the money was funneled into similar schemes?

Was Taft behind this?

Is this how Bush "won" Ohio?

In Taft's defense, I will say that he looks too goofy and stupid to pull something like this off, but still...