A Hastings-Harman Primer

Wearied from the Pelosi-Hoyer-Murtha blood-letting?  Well now it looks like we may well have a reprise of precisely the same imperfect storm of the personal vindictiveness and possible ethical improprieties in the selection of the intelligence committee chair.  The personalities here are even less familiar than in the majority leader race, but from what I've read, the Alcee Hastings-Jane Harman controversy looks like a yet worse nightmare for both Pelosi and the Democrats. Primer and observations follow. . .  

1.  AVOID INVERTED `FOX'-THINK: This is a purely philosophical/strategic point that I'd like to make outside of the Hastings debate.  To want ANY liberal, even a corrupt one, over a blue-dog Democrat or conservative or moderate Democrat, is to engage in the sort of counter-democratic group-think that Republicans used to ruinous effects for the last six years.  This is the sort of thinking that bought Delay and Foley and Burns complicity with the conservative Republican leadership.  Progressives should not pursue power, even for good goals, if that power comes at the expense of honest government.  I'd encourage all of us to both work for progressive victories in governance AND to avoid supporting corruption, even "our" corrupt politicians who might be liberal or progressive or anti-war.  You can vote in all the right ways and still do more harm than good to the progressive cause, just as Foley and Burns and Abramoff ultimately did more harm than good to the conservative cause. We have to promote Democratic leaders who have unimpeachable ethics records. . . if there are any out there.

2. PUBLICITY HELL: I'm not an expert in the Hastings case, and I'm absolutely willing to be corrected on it, but appointing Hastings at the very least is a lose-lose proposition on the publicity front: on the one hand, we'll have to hear allegations that Hastings took bribes from racketeering suspects in exchange for a reduced verdict back in 1981--an awful "could-be" narrative which, coupled with grainy Abscam tapes of Murtha, will remind voters that Dems can't be trusted any more than Republicans when it comes to ethics.  But on the other hand, and this is important, Pelosi will be seen as vindictively settling personal scores in her leadership role, a narrative already given plenty of play, probably correctly, in the Murtha-Hoyer showdown.  So this is bad publicity on at least two fronts.  And please, don't tell me Pelosi is skipping over Harman because of her political views.  There are many to the right of Harman in leadership positions; this is personal for Pelosi.

3. HARMAN IS NOT A "BUSH-STOOGE": I'm not a Harman apologist: before reading about the intelligence committee decision, I'd never heard her name before.  But after digging around some, she seems like a more left-moderate member of the DLC and Blue Dog coalitions, with very progressive/liberal stances on a woman's right to choose, net neutrality, the environment, education, immigration, gay rights, among other subjects, and a more conservative record when it comes to business (bankruptcy laws), some, though not all, security issues, and especially the death penalty.   I might well be wrong on this, but it doesn't seem from her statements over the years that she was a lap-dog to the Bush administration (viz. Lieberman), and she has often been quite tough on Bush in her rhetoric and in her voting.  Bush publicly rebuked her for saying that, ''The president says that fighting them there makes it less likely we'll have to fight them here. The opposite is true.''  Catch Lieberman saying that.  She called for the White House to declassify the National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism, and she saw the Specter-White House NSA agreement as an ''end run'' around the FISA law requiring the approval of individual wiretapping warrants and a violation of  a core Fourth Amendment protection.  She added: ''This is the lawless White House, out of control with respect to a program like this." She supported the Iraq war, but then many, many Democrats lacked the courage to vote their conscience on this issue, and many more were genuinely duped by the administration (viz. Murtha).  This is a blot on her record, but a blot that much of the Democratic party shares.  She is decidedly left of Murtha, for instance, in her voting record on most issues.  Anyone who thinks Harman is a "stooge" for the Bush administration, or any more a stooge than most Dems between 2001 and 2003, please see point #1.  
    Regarding allegations about her possible dealings with a pro-Israel lobby in exchange for their support of her chairing the intelligence committee, an investigation has been shut down with no known evidence on the case, though "she was the focus of a year-old F.B.I. inquiry related to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee." If evidence comes to light, then Harman ought to be out of consideration, indictment or no indictment, and, of course, criminally charged.  In the meantime, though she's not a perfect appointment and she may well be proven a swamp thing, she's not aberrant either in her political views or, as of yet, in her ethics (though that she was the focus of an investigation ain't good).  

4. THE HASTINGS CASE IS COMPLICATED, BUT UGLY: Right.  So this one is tough.  Yes, Alcee Hastings WAS impeached and barred from the bench by the Senate in 1989, and yes the vote was lopsided and included many Democrats in a Democratic Congress.  The original case is a bit murky.  Here's the timeline, and feel free to correct me if I've gone astray (Terry and Skeptic especially!):

    1981: Hastings allegedly conspires with a lawyer to lessen the sentence for two FBI-agents posing as drug racketeers, allowing them to escape jail time in exchange for a $150,000 bribe.

    1983: Hastings is acquitted of the bribery charges at a criminal trial.  William Borders, the lawyer with whom Hastings allegedly collaborated, his co-defendant at the trial, is convicted of bribery conspiracy and sentenced to five years in prison. There has never been another criminal trial convicting Hastings of wrong-doing, a fact that Hastings cites repeatedly in his defense.

    1985: The Justice Department alleges that Hastings in 1985 gave Mayor Steve Clark of Dade County confidential information on a Federal undercover corruption investigation. Mayor Clark has said Judge Hastings warned him ''to stay away from'' a former Miami building code enforcement chief whose telephone was being wiretapped by Federal agents on the judge's authorization.  As a result, according to Leon Kellner, the United States Attorney here, ''we had to shut down two investigations.'' Hastings calls the allegations ''pure bunk'' and said he will comment on them in the ''proper forum.'' Hastings is never found guilty of these allegations, and the Senate voted 95-0 to clear Hastings of these charges in the 1989 impeachment proceedings.  

    1987: A federal judicial panel concludes that there was sufficient evidence that Hastings did conspire to obtain the bribe, finding also that Hastings presented false evidence at his trial.  The two Federal judges who originated the impeachment charges against Judge Hastings described his conduct at his 1983 trial as ''odious, unethical and possibly unlawful.'' "In a long secret report. . . the judges contended that Judge Hastings fabricated the testimony he delivered in his own defense." Federal judges are able to recommend impeachment of other federal judges thanks to a 1980 law passed in Congress.

    1988: The House judiciary committee headed by Representative John Conyers of Michigan unanimously votes to recommend impeachment for Hastings.  Reacting to Hastings' charges of racism in the impeachment proceedings, Conyers, an African American champion of Civil Rights, explains: ''We did not wage that civil rights struggle merely to replace one form of judicial corruption with another. . . In order to be true to our principles, we must demand that all persons live up to the same high standards."

    1989: The Senate votes 69 to 26 to impeach Hastings and remove him from the bench.  The voting, says the New York Times, crossed "ideological, regional and party lines." The Washington Post reported: "The 26 senators -- 21 Democrats and five Republicans -- who voted to acquit him of the major charge included some of the Senate's most conservative members -- William L. Armstrong (R-Colo.) and Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) -- and some of its most liberal -- Howard M. Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) and Alan Cranston (D-Calif.)." The voting came after the chairman and co-chairman of the special Senate committee that investigated the charges said they would not vote to convict." Patrick Leahy called most of the evidence "circumstantial" and Arlen Specter agreed, adding his concern that "impeachment proceedings had been brought against an official who had been tried by a jury and acquitted." 

So this is a difficult, complex, tortuous case to follow, and you can be sure that most Americans won't bother to follow it.  But there are facts:

    Hastings was acquitted of wrong-doing by a criminal court;

    a federal judicial panel concluded that he did take the bribe and raised suspicions about his conduct at the trial;

    The House Judiciary committee unanimously voted to recommend impeachment for Hastings;

    the Senate voted to impeach him and bar him from the bench.  

QUESTIONS: Is it fair to keep a man from leadership positions based upon no formal criminal charge?  Isn't a man innocent until proven guilty?  Though acquitted by a criminal jury, does Hastings have to wear a scarlet letter owing to Senate impeachment based upon evidence never found beyond reasonable suspicion by a criminal court?  And even if Hastings was guilty of the bribe-scheme, and even if he did deserve impeachment, if his ethics have been sound since 1981, why should he be held any more accountable for ethical lapses twenty-five years later any more than John McCain or George Bush or Joe Biden or John Murtha, for that matter?  Is there a double-standard here when it comes to African American representatives?  On the other hand, isn't becoming one of only five federal judges to be impeached by Congress EVER enough to raise red flags when granting Hastings a leadership position after an anti-corruption election when another member of his committee has seniority over him?  

I'm sure there are many more questions, but the bottom line is this: Hastings hasn't been proven to be as corrupt as his detractors say and Harman isn't as much a Bush sympathizer as her detractors say.  But this much seems certain: this complex narrative cannot be given in a sound bite without Hastings coming off as less than ethical and without Pelosi coming off as someone who values loyalty before ethics.  And when Americans voted in strong numbers against corruption in Congress, Democratic leaders have to be held to a higher standard.  The ethics of Democratic leaders have to be unimpeachable. . . and Hastings has already been impeached. . . by a Democratic Senate.

Does Hastings have to forego leadership positions in the future?  No.  Does Hastings have to give up his seat?  Of course not.  But is this a good time for a protracted and messy battle starring a possibly ethically challenged Hastings, a vindictive Pelosi, and a moderate Democrat with possible ethical flaws of her own?  Clearly not.  Is this the time to re-try Hastings in the press?  Please, no.  Let Hastings earn seniority and committee leadership as is normally the case and without the attendant publicity; promote him as a matter of course when he is the senior member of a committee; let Harman's seniority rule the day in the intel committee assignments, barring any revelations of ethical misconduct with the pro-Israel lobby.  And let Democratic in-fighting and ethical challenges stay off of the front pages for a few weeks!  

Though the Hastings case is complicated, actively bumping Hastings above Harman would be a minor disaster for the party in a time when it needs to stay focused on its legislative agenda.

What do you think?  What have I omitted here that folks ought to know?

Tags: Alcee Hastings, House Intelligence Committee, Jane Harman, Nancy Pelosi (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

Re: A Hastings-Harman Primer

Excellent summary, Macon. I hope Pelosi will swallow her pride and change her mind about Harman.

by syntag 2006-11-20 06:59AM | 0 recs
Re: A Hastings-Harman Primer

Maconblue,

I have no doubt you are trying to be fair.  

Certainly there are many that we know have escaped justice.  Acquittal at trial - and conviction for that matter - means little to me.  I think there is no particular reason to trust our justice system as sad as that may be.

This is what we know about Hastings.  He was accused of taking a bribe but there is only the testimony of FBI agents against an African-American judge targeted by the FBI.  The impeachment trial resulted because Hastings demanded it.  It was little more than a star chamber proceeding much like the Guantanamo proceedings.  The senators in the committee hearing, which has been judged unconstitutional itself, that voted for conviction refused to even read the evidence.

What Hastings is charged with essentially is being African-American.  He seems to be guilty of that but not all of us consider that criminal.

Jane Harman was one of those aware of and consenting to what was being done by the Bush administration contravening constitutional and legislative law in spying on Americans.  If that doesn't make her a stooge of Bush by your lights, it does me and disqualifies her to be chair of Intelligence in my opinion.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-20 07:17AM | 0 recs
Re: A Hastings-Harman Primer

Hello Terry:

Based on both past and present abuses of the justice system when it comes to judging African Americans, I'm absolutely willing to see this as a way to take down one of the most powerful and promising African American judges in Florida.  But then what do you make of the unanimity of opinion on the House judiciary committee headed by Representative John Conyers of Michigan?  And what do you make of Conyers saying: ''We did not wage that civil rights struggle merely to replace one form of judicial corruption with another. . . In order to be true to our principles, we must demand that all persons live up to the same high standards."  Did Conyers want to take down an African American judge too?  Is there bad blood between Conyers and Hastings that newspapers didn't touch upon?

Based on Specter and Leahy's words, the legal underpinnings of the Senate impeachment process seem less than fully rigorous, and yet why did the House Judiciary recommend impeachment unanimously, and why did so many Democratic senators vote for impeachment and why have center-left to liberal newspapers also questioned Hastings' ethics?  What beef did they have against Hastings and/or African Americans?  Were they all either misled completely or racists of the most open and vicious variety, or was there some truth that there was impropriety in Hastings' conduct?

It just seems that there's something more here than the Senate, the federal judiciary, the House Judicary committee, and The New York Times engaging in ethnic assassination against Hastings.

I'm absolutely open to be persuaded otherwise, though.

by maconblue 2006-11-20 08:38AM | 0 recs
Re: A Hastings-Harman Primer

On Harman, Terry, you write: "Jane Harman was one of those aware of and consenting to what was being done by the Bush administration contravening constitutional and legislative law in spying on Americans."  I have no reason to doubt you here, but I've just not run across what you're referring to, especially in her voting record.  This may well be my oversight, though: my information on Hastings comes from cursory newspaper searches and the website http://www.ontheissues.org/CA/Jane_Harma n.htm, which lists Harman as left of center and "Moderate Liberal."  

From newspaper coverage:

Apparently Harman broke with McCain and criticized CIA Director Goss for purging the upper-levels of intelligence back in 2004: "What I'm criticizing is that he has an all-new management team that has a reputation as partisan and inexperienced."

In 2005, she criticized the domestic spying program: "To cut out Congress and set up an under-the-radar capability which Congress doesn't know about is not O.K.,'' Representative Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said in an interview.

In 2006, she wrote a letter to Bush objecting to the domestic spying program, arguing, according to the New York Times, that "the law requires that the full House and Senate Intelligence Committees be informed of the N.S.A. program. By briefing only the Republican and Democratic leaders of both houses and of the committees, the administration violated the law, Ms. Harman wrote in a letter to the president."

Also in 2006, Harman argued in a letter to Bush, "that with changes made to the foreign intelligence law after the Sept. 11 attacks, the eavesdropping operations of the N.S.A. 'can and should' be covered by court-approved warrants, 'without circumventing' the process." (NYTimes)

And again, Harman in a 2006 Face the Nation appearance argued, 'This is the lawless White House, out of control with respect to a program like this.'' She said the program had violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which requires officials to obtain approval from a special court for the records described in the effort.  ''I think if we can ever get this case to the Supreme Court, the White House will lose big time,'' Ms. Harman said.

Every "Jane Harman" hit on the New York Times database comes up with Harman saying critical things about the Bush administration and NSA.  So where's the evidence of her loving the NSA program?  

Here are some of the votes Harman has cast that make the label "Bush stooge" lack credibility:

    Rated F by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun control voting record. (Dec 2003)
     *Voted YES on establishing "network neutrality" (non-tiered Internet). (Jun 2006)
     *Voted YES on allowing human embryonic stem cell research. (May 2005)
    * Voted NO on restricting interstate transport of minors to get abortions. (Apr 2005)
    * Voted NO on making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. (Feb 2004)
    * Voted NO on banning partial-birth abortion except to save mother's life. (Oct 2003)
    * Voted NO on forbidding human cloning for reproduction & medical research. (Feb 2003)
    * Voted NO on funding for health providers who don't provide abortion info. (Sep 2002)
    * Voted NO on banning Family Planning funding in US aid abroad. (May 2001)
    * Voted NO on federal crime to harm fetus while committing other crimes. (Apr 2001)
    * Recommended by EMILY's List of pro-choice women. (Apr 2001)
    * Rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record. (Dec 2003)
    *  Opposes parents choosing schools via vouchers. (Oct 2000)
    * Voted NO on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror. (Nov 2001)
     
Voted NO on giving federal aid only to schools allowing voluntary prayer. (Mar 1994)
     * Rated 100% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes. (Dec 2003)
Voted NO on passage of the Bush Administration national energy policy. (Jun 2004)
Voted NO on implementing Bush-Cheney national energy policy. (Nov 2003)
Voted YES on prohibiting oil drilling & development in ANWR. (Aug 2001)
Rated 100% by the LCV, indicating pro-environment votes. (Dec 2003)
Rated 16% by the Christian Coalition: an anti-family voting record. (Dec 2003)
Voted NO on restricting frivolous lawsuits. (Sep 2004)
Voted YES on campaign finance reform banning soft-money contributions. (Feb 2002)
Supports Shays-Meehan Campaign Finance Reform. (Jul 2001)
# Voted NO on denying non-emergency treatment for lack of Medicare co-pay. (Feb 2006)
# Voted NO on limiting medical malpractice lawsuits to $250,000 damages. (May 2004)
Rated 100% by APHA, indicating a pro-public health record. (Dec 2003)
    * Voted NO on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment. (May 2004)
    * Voted YES on extending Immigrant Residency rules. (May 2001)
    * Rated 0% by FAIR, indicating a voting record loosening immigration. (Dec 2003
Rated 75% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record. (Dec 2003)
# Opposes privatizing Social Security. (Oct 2000)
    * Rated 100% by the ARA, indicating a pro-senior voting record. (Dec 2003)
    * Opposes making income tax flatter & lower. (Oct 2000)
    * Voted NO on making the Bush tax cuts permanent. (Apr 2002)
    * Voted NO on Tax cut package of $958 B over 10 years. (May 2001)
    * Rated 25% by NTU, indicating a "Big Spender" on tax votes. (Dec 2003)

More pertinent to the Intelligence Committee debate are the following votes on security, presented here unedited, both progressive and conservative:

   *  More congressional oversight of counter-terrorism needed. (Jul 2004)
    * Voted NO on continuing intelligence gathering without civil oversight. (Apr 2006)
    * Voted NO on federalizing rules for driver licenses to hinder terrorists. (Feb 2005)
    * Voted YES on continuing military recruitment on college campuses. (Feb 2005)
    * Voted YES on supporting new position of Director of National Intelligence. (Dec 2004)
    * Voted NO on adopting the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. (Oct 2004)
    * Voted YES on emergency $78B for war in Iraq & Afghanistan. (Apr 2003)
    * Voted YES on permitting commercial airline pilots to carry guns. (Jul 2002)
    * Rated 78% by SANE, indicating a pro-peace voting record. (Dec 2003)

I certainly don't see this voting record as qualifying Harman as a Bush stooge, and I don't see a reason to boot her from chairing the Intelligence Committee for views that are a little more conservative than mine, yours and the Democratic base.

by maconblue 2006-11-20 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: A Hastings-Harman Primer

Based on both past and present abuses of the justice system when it comes to judging African Americans, I'm absolutely willing to see this as a way to take down one of the most powerful and promising African American judges in Florida.  But then what do you make of the unanimity of opinion on the House judiciary committee headed by Representative John Conyers of Michigan?  And what do you make of Conyers saying: ''We did not wage that civil rights struggle merely to replace one form of judicial corruption with another

I would be somewhat interested in what Conyers says today but do you not see what Conyers is saying?  He gets to join the club by helping take down Hastings.  

Was it a considered opinion?

I don't really know but my reading of the evidence such as it was was that Hastings was simply a target of the FBI because he was an African-American.

My guess is that Conyers, like others, simply took the FBI's word that Hastings was guilty.  Why were there no recordings of the sting?

Maybe you are familiar with the Aisenberg case in which the government charged a couple with perjury for saying their baby had disappeared from her crib and by implication was kidnapped.  The FBI's interpretation of surreptitious recordings varied considerably from what the judge and others heard.

In the Aisenberg case, the FBI was convinced the couple had murdered their baby and hid the body and seems to have heard what they wanted to hear.  Others heard something else quite different.  I do not believe they intended to frame the Aisenbergs.

For all I really know, Alcee Hastings really is a dirtbird.  All I ask for is evidence.  It seems to be wanting.

Apparently Harman broke with McCain and criticized CIA Director Goss for purging the upper-levels of intelligence back in 2004: "What I'm criticizing is that he has an all-new management team that has a reputation as partisan and inexperienced."

In 2005, she criticized the domestic spying program: "To cut out Congress and set up an under-the-radar capability which Congress doesn't know about is not O.K.,'' Representative Jane Harman of California, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said in an interview.

In 2006, she wrote a letter to Bush objecting to the domestic spying program, arguing, according to the New York Times, that "the law requires that the full House and Senate Intelligence Committees be informed of the N.S.A. program. By briefing only the Republican and Democratic leaders of both houses and of the committees, the administration violated the law, Ms. Harman wrote in a letter to the president."

Also in 2006, Harman argued in a letter to Bush, "that with changes made to the foreign intelligence law after the Sept. 11 attacks, the eavesdropping operations of the N.S.A. 'can and should' be covered by court-approved warrants, 'without circumventing' the process." (NYTimes)

And again, Harman in a 2006 Face the Nation appearance argued, 'This is the lawless White House, out of control with respect to a program like this.''

...

I certainly don't see this voting record as qualifying Harman as a Bush stooge.

Deathbed, or in the case of politicians, election-time conversions are a wondrous thing.  For all I know Harman is a born-again civil libertarian.

I am not particularly interested in crucifying Harman and have taken as a given that Pelosi is determined to remove Harman from the committee even.  Whether it is for good cause or out of spite I really don't know.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-20 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: A Hastings-Harman Primer

Good summary, MaconBlue.

I just found your diary, not five minutes after calling Speaker Pelosi's office to render my opinion.  I asked the staff assistant taking the call if many people were calling or was I the only nut?  Many people calling.  How were the calls going?  For Harman.   Fwiw.

As you say, Hastings is a lose-lose proposition from the standpoint of PR image.  I'd find some other chit to give the CBC.

And, frankly, because she's not completely a down-the-line liberal, she has a lot of credibility when she attacks Bush policies.

If the choice is simply Harman-Hastings, it's a no brainer, politically.

by InigoMontoya 2006-11-20 10:43AM | 0 recs
Pretty fair, I'd say

I only delved back into the impeachment case just the once - for curiosity's sake.

But, as I said in one of the comments there,

The basic point I was struggling towards with the Hastings business is: what matters is not relitigating a nearly 20 year old case, but judging the level of political exposure for the Dems in the 06 campaign.

Brought forward to now, the point stands: what we're concerned with is the choice of HIC chair from a limited shortlist.

What we're looking for is the most politically defensible, both in prospect and in retrospect. We're not looking to be fair, or anticipate the reckoning at the Second Coming.

We're not scripting a heartwarming TV special on the life of Brer Hastings.

We're assessing the world as it is (nasty, brutish and with a 24 hour news cycle) and considering the best candidate to operate in that world.

Hastings is not that candidate.

The CBC will go ballistic; but that's Pelosi's own fault for pre-announcing her decision by leak months in advance.

If she plays it right, this could be retrieved: it strikes me as a great time to play the humility card. (It's not as if she's made any official announcement yet.) Go on about how carefully she's weighed the appointment, how vital it is to have the right person in place, how the needs of the country come first and last - all that guff.

She could drop that ghastly gargoyle glowering face, and look a little chastened for once. (I'm not talking Checkers - let's not overdo it!)

And she could even shake Harman's hand to congratulate her.

Now that's what I'd call statesmanship!

And she could show whether those lioness's teeth are real or rubber by standing firm against the CBC - who will have their share (perhaps more than their share) of patronage in leadership and committee chair jobs in the 110th without Hastings in the HIC chair.

Easier said than done, of course, as was shown by the CBC pantomime over Jefferson's eviction from Ways and Means earlier in the year.

But the alternative of installing Hastings, while perhaps causing less immediate pain to Pelosi and disruption to the party, will lead to much more of both in the longer run.

by skeptic06 2006-11-20 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: A Hastings-Harman Primer

The CBC will go ballistic

Who cares huh?  Those funny black people have no place to go huh?  

Might want to consider that while Harold Ford was being rejected by Tennesseans because he might be messing with white women, his former seat in the House of ill repute went to a white guy running against another Ford as a write-in candidate.  

If all that mattered was the mainstream press and what they thought, the House and Senate would still be Republican and you would be right that common decency doesn't matter.

Nancy Pelosi will decide whatever we write here.  I hope she does the right thing and puts a civil libertarian in the chairmanship of Intelligence but that would frighten some all to pieces huh?

By the way, Hastings was not impeached by the Senate.  No one is impeached by the Senate.  He was impeached by the House and not tried in the Senate but by a committee of the Senate.  He was convicted by senators who, like you, would not read the evidence, such as it was.  Those senators who actually did read the evidence voted for acquittal.

Best,  Terry

by terryhallinan 2006-11-20 08:25PM | 0 recs
Harman, the FBI, and AIPAC

Just to remind everyone here that unlike Alcee Hastings, Jane Harman is currently involved in an ongoing FBI criminal investigation concerning the efforts of AIPAC to push her campaign to head the House intelligence committee.

Josh Marshall, whose TPM and TPM Central have been the spiritual homes online of the nail-Hastings movement (just as Marshall, back when TPM was just him and TPM Central didn't exist, spearheaded the get-Condit movement that only ended when some planes slammed into a couple of buildings on the East Coast and suddenly hounding Gary Condit didn't seem quite so important any more), wrote a post yesterday to insist that he's not really a Harman booster: "But it's not about Jane Harman.  It's about Alcee Hastings."

Well, then, if he's not really invested in boosting Harman, I suggest he start really getting behind Rush Holt or Sylvestre Reyes, because unlike Alcee Hastings, Jane Harman is herself involved in a live, ongoing criminal investigation.

Here's a TPM post that Marshall himself made made a little over a month ago:

(October 20, 2006 -- 06:06 PM EDT)

Damn.  Here's a story that must have about a billion volts of charge in it.

Time says the FBI is now investigating Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) as part of their expanded AIPAC investigation.   They are, says Time, "examining whether Rep. Jane Harman of California and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) may have violated the law in a scheme to get Harman reappointed as the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee."





-- Josh Marshall

Why would AIPAC be so eager to make sure Harman gets the top job and to have oversight?  I honestly don't know.  The only reason I can think of is that they might be hoping that as head of the House intelligence committee, Harman might get the FBI to call off their dogs for good on the ongoing AIPAC espionage probe, which has already sent Larry Franklin to prison.

One can argue that the long-settled charges against Hastings -- in which John Conyers himself is on record criticizing Hastings' actions -- are more serious than the legal and ethical hot water kettle in which Harman currently sits.  But one cannot seriously argue that these ethical problems don't exist, and that the only reasons Pelosi has to oppose her are purely personal.

by Phoenix Woman 2006-11-26 07:29AM | 0 recs

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