SHAMELESSNESS WATCH…. As we talked about last week, there were more than a few serious Republican scandals in the last decade, but for my money, the U.S. Attorney purge scandal is right up there among the most disgraceful. The politicization of federal law enforcement undermines our system of government in genuinely dangerous ways, and this controversy, to my mind, was arguably the most important since the Iran-Contra affair.
Those involved in creating and executing the purge scheme should, in theory, be driven from public life in disgrace. Zachary Roth noted yesterday, however, that several figures from the scandal are instead running for office this year.
Perhaps the most prominent is Tim Griffin, the former RNC operative who worked as a top White House aide to Karl Rove. In numerous emails to colleagues, Rove made clear his desire to see Griffin land a powerful government post. And in December 2006, Bud Cummins was fired as U.S. attorney in Arkansas, in order to create a vacancy for Griffin. Griffin was appointed U.S. attorney via an interim appointment, but the Democratic Senate refused to confirm him, and in June 2007 he resigned.
Now, Griffin is challenging Rep. Vic Snyder (D-AR) for his House seat this fall.
If only it were just Griffin. In western Pennsylvania, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan consulted with “loyal Bushies” in 2005 on which prosecutors should be fired, and herself was “accused of pushing politically motivated prosecutions against local Democrats.” She now intends to run for Congress against Rep. Jason Altmire (D).
And in New Mexico, state GOP chairman Allen Weh fought tooth and nail to get David Iglesias fired for his reluctance to help the party by prosecuting Democrats. Weh has decided to parlay his misconduct into a gubernatorial campaign this year.
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, but it takes a certain degree of shamelessness for someone to get caught up in a massive national scandal, and then pretend it wasn’t a problem.