Harman Pushed Off of Intelligence Committee by Pelosi?

Thanks to budlawman, I came upon this article on a Pelosi-Harman fight.

Rep. Jane Harman, who has gained national prominence as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, is fighting to hold on to the job amid indications she will be rotated off the panel next year.

The dispute pits the Venice lawmaker against House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco. Its outcome could determine what role Harman, who once ran for California governor and is one of the most quoted Democrats on intelligence matters, will play in the next Congress -- if she is reelected.

Pelosi has informed colleagues that she intends to force Harman to step down, replacing her with Rep. Alcee L. Hastings of Florida, the second most senior Democrat on the intelligence panel.

It's hard to tell if this has to do with Pelosi placating the CBC, if Pelosi is fed up with Harman, or if this is just a normal rotation off the committee.  It might be all three.  I do know Pelosi is incredibly angry about intelligence matters and how they have been handled by Bush.  She feels personally affronted.

Tags: 2006, Alcee Hastings, Congressional Black Caucus, House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman, Minority Leader in 110th House, Nancy Pelosi, Speakership in 110th House (all tags)

Comments

15 Comments

And replaced by Alcee Hastings?

I saw this blogged the other day.  Replaced By Hastings?

I thought that replacing Harmon with a man who has been impeached and convicted by the Senate when he was a federal judge and placing him as head of the Intelligence Committee would be a public relations disaster.

I think I used the word "crazy"

But I presume I don't know the whole story.  Black Caucus also appears irritated for having members passed over.

More must be going on, here.

by Reptile 2006-05-20 02:02PM | 0 recs
It's not a good idea

I saw this blogged the other day.  Replaced By Hastings?

That would probably have been me.

This is chutzpah on an industrial scale. (Making Alito look quite a modest, middle-of-the-road, appointment.) Poking the enemy in the eye may, on occasion, be the right thing to do.

Just so long as you're a mensch, are ready for the response, and can turn it to your advantage.

Clearly, sex is no barrier to mensch-status (either way!) - Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Margaret Thatcher, to name but three of the female persuasion.

I don't figure Pelosi as one. If she chooses Hastings to replace Harman - when, exactly, would she do this? - it will be because she is a lunatic or has hitherto undisclosed depths of strength within herself and within the House Dem party.

I'd know which of these alternatives I'd be putting my money on.

And trying to explain Hastings' impeachment conviction is - in 2006 - completely beside the point. The guy was impeached by a Dem-controlled House, prosecuted by a team including John Conyers, convicted by a Dem-controlled Senate.

In GOP terms, that is the mother-lode.

And - there's Jefferson, too (Developments). And - I read that Ford has relations who've had their difficulties with law enforcement.

The GOP line: Dems are in hock to pet groups. They daren't say boo to them.

They don't need to get too crude: the message is one which will be readily understood by those inclined to believe it.

The GOP is desperate for any Both parties are the same news to counteract their serial bad news on the law enforcement front.

Pelosi should not be a supplier.

by skeptic06 2006-05-21 08:07AM | 0 recs
Further thought

What happens if our Marcy beats out Harman in the primary on June 6?

Then installing a replacement for Harman in the 110th ceases to be a matter of Pelosi's choice and becomes inevitable.

Does that mean Pelosi will be able to work the my hands are tied line on appointment of the ranking member/chairman of the HIC for the 110th?

I don't think so. If the top Dem slot on the HIC is in Pelosi's gift, that applies as much to Hastings as to Harman.
She can demonstrate that she's not a hostage of the CBC and make a decision explicable to Joe Public by passing over Hastings and (if seniority is the guide) giving the job to Silvestre Reyes.

Who sounds like a member of the Hispanic Caucus to me! High time Hispanics got their fair share of the top jobs in Congress, don't you think? One can't be a prisoner of seniority, as back in the bad old days of Bilbo, surely?

Not to mention that the Dems aren't doing as well as they'd have hoped in that demo. A high profile position of trust for a Hispanic Dem rep: surely the CBC will understand the racial politics of the thing.

And, if they can't, they can do what Cheney told Leahy.

Now that would be being a mensch to some purpose...

by skeptic06 2006-05-21 09:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Further thought

Would that the voters in the 36th CD grant Pelosi this chance or dilemma.  One more factoid that might need some further checking: I read somewhere that when Harman was originally appointed to the ranking position on the Intel Committee, she arguably passed over another member of the CBC.  That was, if I'm still following the line straight, because she was credited with seniority from her first stint in Congress despite her break in 1998 to run for gov, and that made the difference in her favor.  I am further led to believe it unusual for someone to gain that seniority "bridge" credit, and if all this is true, it is more reason for the CBC to expect their guy won't get screwed again.

by budlawman 2006-05-21 10:09PM | 0 recs
Oh yeah, read reponses posted below

There's another post a couple down.  I still think Hastings not the right replacement, however fair or unfair.  I used to live in Miami, but long before the Hastings fiasco.  All I might add is that there was a lot of Black frustration in Miami, justified in my opinion.

by Reptile 2006-05-20 02:09PM | 0 recs
'Asleep At The Switch' Would Be Far Too Generous

The best gloss Harman can possibly put on her performance is that she was simply asleep.  It's not true, of course.  She's actively promoted war criminals like John Negroponte.  But, she can try to sell the Sleepy Hiyakawa defense.

OTOH, Hastings would be fine.  It would be great to have a watchdog who's been on the receiving end of bad intel.  We should have thought of this long ago.

So the GOP would come after him?  Well, they'll come after anyone who's not Jane Harman.  At least with Hastings we know we've got a fighter.  They want a piece of him?  Three words: Bring it on!

by Paul Rosenberg 2006-05-20 02:27PM | 0 recs
Don't use that phrase!

Bring it on!

Words, I seem to recall, that, for being hubristic and macho and ignorant, have brought Brer Bush into even more odium and contempt among his critics than would otherwise have been the case. (Which is saying something.)

If Dems want to risk their obtaining, and making good use of, control of the 110th for a thing like appointing Hastings to the HIC, they need their heads examining.

by skeptic06 2006-05-21 09:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Harman Pushed Off

No doubt Harman should go, but surely there has to be a member of the Black Caucus with a better reputation than Hastings?  What about the other two African-American reps from Florida?

by Michels 2006-05-20 03:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Harman Pushed Off of Intelligence Committee by

This man has served for 14 years in the House of Representitives. He was found not guilty by a jury of his peers in a bribery case. Years later Alcee Hastings was impeached on the same set of facts by the House and found guilty by the Senate. Judge Hastings won appeal of his Senate impeachment in a case heard by Judge Stanley Sporkin but a separate case before the Supreme Court found that courts had no jurisdiction to review Senate impeachment procedures. Citizens have the right to review the facts of every circumstance and they should do so in this circumstance. From the Judge Sporkin ruling IN FAVOR of Alcee Hastings:

SPORKIN, District Judge.

I FACTS

"Alcee Hastings was appointed to the bench for the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in 1979. He was indicted in December of 1981 on a charge of conspiracy to solicit and accept a bribe. On February 4, 1983, in a trial presided over by the late Judge Edward Gignoux of Maine, one of the most highly respected United States District Court judges of his day, Judge Hastings was acquitted by a jury. Six weeks after his acquittal, members of the Judicial Council of the Eleventh Circuit filed a complaint against Judge Hastings under the Judicial Disability Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 331, 332, 372(c), 604(h). Three and a half years later the Judicial Council issued a report and sent it to the Judicial Conference of the United States. The Judicial Conference met on March 17, 1987, concurred in the findings of the Council and recommended to the Speaker of the House that Judge Hastings be impeached.

 On August 3, 1988, the House adopted seventeen articles of impeachment against Judge Hastings. The first fifteen articles reformulated the conspiracy charge of which Judge Hastings had been acquitted. They also charged Judge Hastings with presenting false testimony and fabricated evidence. Judge Hastings filed a motion to dismiss with the Senate which the Senate later rejected. The Senate convened an Impeachment Trial Committee pursuant to Rule XI of the Rules of Procedure and Practice when Sitting in Cases of Impeachment. Immediately thereafter, Judge Hastings filed a suit in United States District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the use of a trial committee as unconstitutional and seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the impeachment proceedings from going forward. The court dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. See Hastings v. United States, 716 F.Supp. 38 (D.D.C.1989). The trial went forward before the committee. On October 19 and 20, 1989 the Senate held debate on the Articles of Impeachment. Judge Hastings was convicted on Articles I, II, III, IV, V, VII, VIII, and IX. He was acquitted on Articles VI, XVI, and XVII. The Senate did not vote on Articles X-XV. See 135 Cong.Rec. S13783-88 (daily ed. Oct. 20, 1989).

 When the voting record of the Impeachment Trial Committee was reviewed, it revealed that the twelve members of the committee did not vote to impeach by the required two-thirds majority on any of the articles of impeachment. The Chair and Vice Chair of the Impeachment Trial Committee, Senator Bingaman and Senator Specter, filed statements in support of acquittal. The committee proceedings were videotaped, but it is unclear how many senators actually reviewed the tapes. Nonetheless, enough senators who had not heard the evidence personally voted to convict to constitute the necessary two-thirds majority. Following his conviction, Judge Hastings was removed from judicial office, and his judicial salary was no longer paid to him. In July of 1991 he filed this action."

<snip>

III Constitutional Requirements for Impeachment

Did the use of an impeachment trial committee pursuant to Rule XI of the Rules of Procedure and Practice when Sitting in Cases of Impeachment violate the Constitution? This Court believes it did. <snip>
[T]he Constitution's use of the word "try" to describe the Senate's function in rendering impeachment judgments implies a duty to accord at least the rudimentary hallmarks of judicial fact-finding, including the receipt of evidence, the examination of witnesses, right to counsel and a chance for hearing by the accused.
The process used by the Senate did not meet this basic standard.

A FLAWS IN THE IMPEACHMENT HEARING

The use of an impeachment trial committee did not comport with the requirement that Judge Hastings be "tried." The majority of the Senators never had any first-hand knowledge of the evidence against Judge Hastings. [FN12] They did not participate in the hearings where testimony was taken and evidence submitted. The committee itself was not convinced to convict by a two-thirds majority on any of the counts, and the chairman and vice chairman made statements in favor of acquittal...
FN18. The complaint alleges that only 12 senators checked out the videotapes of the fact-finding sessions. The defendants have not disputed this fact.
It is unquestionably true that a juror who has not been present for every phase of the trial, opening statements, the receipt of all testimony and evidence, closing statements and instructions from the court, may not participate in jury deliberations. In fact, in a criminal case, if a juror must be excused during a trial for failing to appear or for any other reason and there is no alternate to take his or her place, the trial can continue only if both sides agree to submit the case to a jury of less than twelve. See Fed.R.Crim.P. 23(b). Obviously the Senate is not required to follow the identical procedures used in judicial trials, but it violates basic notions of fairness to have those who vote on the final verdict not be present to find all the facts. [FN19]

<snip>

If you only stand by your friends when it's convenient you're not much of a friend. Sens. Specter and Bingaman voted against impeachment, a Federal Judge found the Senate impeachment procedure lacking, and a jury of his peers found Alcee Hastings not guilty of bribery. It might be politically uncomfortable for this man to have these events in his past but so what? Is it Hastings' actions that make him unfit to lead the Intelligence Committee or is it just an uncomfortable circumstance for meek, uninformed fellow Democrats? I wish Democrats first instinct was to defend their own rather than throw them under the bus (see Lieberman, Joseph, fellatio,)

The GOP has no problem reviving the careers of John Poindexter who was found guilty of five felony counts. Alcee Hastings was found innocent of bribery by a jury of his peers and Democrats want to throw him under a bus 17 years after his flawed Senate impeachment, an impeachment that Republican Arlen Specter voted against as vice-chairman. I respect Rep. Pelosi for sticking up for Rep. Hastings. She's showing real leadership by defending her caucus against weak charges and innuendo.

by joejoejoe 2006-05-20 04:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Harman Pushed Off of Intelligence Committee by

Link to Sporkin decision

http://classes.lls.edu/archive/manheimk/ fedcts/hastings1.html

by joejoejoe 2006-05-20 04:30PM | 0 recs
Dems need to prioritize

Hastings is a test of how seriously the Dems want to win and keep control of the House.

If they think the voters will be charmed rather than nauseated by the idea that a judge convicted by a Dem-majority Senate of corruption has been appointed as top Dem rep for the oversight of critical national security operations, they are deluded on a scale usually associated with GOP voters.

If they think that, after the GOP has finished with them, those voters will have any different impression of the Hastings business than nausea, again, color them deluded.

My understanding was that the Dems, in their big search for underlying themes and purposes, were turning their backs on being a souk for subgroups and special interests, and embracing the common good and similar general principles.

It would not take much GOP swiftboating to portray Hastings as HIC Chairman as sordid ethnic politics and business as usual among the Congressional Dems.

Whereas dumping Hastings would chime in well with the common good line.

Bear in mind that the GOP will not need to get too crude to pull out some unfortunate racial imagery here, suggesting: CBC holding a weak white woman to ransom. (It's a twofer to paint the Dems as McGovernite. Added to Pelosi's Murtha two-step on Iraq withdrawal, and the fact she represents SF - in the hands of the GOP smear artists, suddenly, the Dems are the Summer of Love Redux!)

by skeptic06 2006-05-21 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Harman Pushed Off of Intelligence Committee by

Excellant point about Pointdexter.  Nominating Alcee Hastings is a gutsy move, nice to see that Pelosi is capable of it.

by Piotr 2006-05-20 04:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Harman Pushed Off of Intelligence Committee

Background: Pelosi used to be the Ranking Dem on the Intel committee. I think she views Harman's failure as an affront to her legacy.

by liberalminded 2006-05-20 06:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Harman Pushed Off of Intelligence Committee by
OTOH perhaps the talk of Harman being replaced is basically a signal from Pelosi, shape up or ship out.

If Pelosi is POed at Harman, can we assume that Reid is equally POed at the ineffectual Rockefeller?

by Taylor26 2006-05-21 03:46AM | 0 recs
Is Hastings pick quid pro quo for CBC votes?

This piece (a tepid version of GOP propaganda to come) suggests that

giving Hastings such a plum spot could lock up support of the Black Caucus to elect Pelosi as speaker in the event the Democrats win the House this year -- and perhaps allow her to survive as minority leader if they lose.

So far as I can see, not much time has been given by lefty bloggers to the Speakership question (or, indeed, to the minority leadership question in the case that the Dems fail to win control).

In fact, Speaker Pelosi seems regularly to be used as shorthand for denoting a Dem-controlled 110th House.

Clearly, if Pelosi is miles in front of any other candidate, any promise by the CBC would be of doubtful value.

If, however, the election is thought likely to be close, that would leave the CBC as an important wedge of votes.

Who are the likely candidates against her? (In one or other or both of the contingencies.) Who would be viable and particularly attractive to CBC-ers, as an alternative to Pelosi?

I don't know. But I think it's something that I'd suggest should be explored - preferably now that things are relatively relaxed, rather than after the election in November when, win or lose, things will be hectic to a degree.

by skeptic06 2006-05-21 10:04AM | 0 recs

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