Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Sweet Smell of Rotten Apples

[The fellow in the picture is not the rotten apple -- his name was Tom Wales and it's the investigation into his murder where the rot stinks]

As I wrote earlier, the roots of the US Attorney scandal run deep and rancid, have their source in the White House and consists of actions which not only do, but are intended to put the system of checks and balances, the very lodestone of the American experiment in democracy, out of order.

It is not simply about firing 8 US Attorneys. It is about the blatant politicization of the judicial process which begins with investigation and bringing cases to court. It is about instilling fear so that prosecutors who want to not only further but continue their careers will always have these two questions in mind:
"Can this case conflict with the interests of the Republican Party?"
"Can this case further the cause of the Republican Party?"

In Seattle, Washington, one late October night in 2001, a man sits in his basement working on his computer. His back is to the window. Outside, a person yet unknown creeps up, takes aim and fires five bullets through the window. The man is hit in the neck and back, he dies later the next morning in the hospital. His name was Tom Wales, he was 49, divorced, the father of two grown children. He was also a District Attorney who worked in the same office that US Attorney John McKay would later be in charge of -- and be fired from.

The case has the earmarks of a hit and you would think that a premeditated crime striking at the heart of the judicial system would be aggressively investigated -- the violent murder of a DA is very rare -- but you would think wrong. In fact, no Justice official traveled from Washington to attend Wales' memorial service -- this was not only not very good tone, it set the tone of the investigation.

I mentioned that John McKay was fired as US Attorney and the reason reason he was fired was because he did his job and insisted that this murder be properly and aggressively investigated.

The problem was that Wales was a gun control activist -- in fact president of Washington Cease Fire, a gun control advocacy group. Combined with the fact that Wales was snuffed with a handgun, too much publicity went against the interests of the Republican Party and the NRA -- how do you like them apples?

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