Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Republican corruption watch, #271828

The past couple days have had a couple of great examples of Republican corruption, well-timed to be lost in coverage of Katrina and the Waves.

First, Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, the senior civilian procurement official in the Army Corps of Engineers, was demoted Saturday. She is being punished for whistleblowing. She objected to long-term, no-bid contracts for Iraq reconstruction. The contracts with KBR (part of Halliburton, Dick Cheney's old firm) wasted billions. This continues the Bushite tradition of punishing the honest and rewarding the incompetent.

Another cover-up may be even more symptomatic of Republican ethics. Kentucky governor Ernie Fletcher is facing a hiring scandal involving senior members of his administration (something that's utterly unfamiliar to us Chicagoans). He has a unique way of dealing with the investigation. Yesterday, as Josh Marshall puts it, he "basically pardoned everybody". Then he said he will refuse to testify before the grand jury (presumably by taking the Fifth).

The AP story explains the wide scope of the mass pardons
The governor's decree pardons the nine people already charged as well as anyone else [my bold] who might be accused by the grand jury of violating any section of the penal code [mine again], not just the personnel laws. The pardon extends to crimes that may have been committed up to Monday.
Mark Kleiman notes
This matters outside the borders of Kentucky; Fletcher's "amnesty" could be a test-run for pardons in the Plame/Rove/Libby scandal.
I hope Bush follows Fletcher's brilliant strategy. Fletcher's underlings can now be compelled to testify, because the pardons remove their defense against self-incrimination. And Kentucky legislators are already talking impeachment on multiple grounds. (BluegrassReport.org has great coverage of the scandal.)

As they say, "It's not the crime. It's the cover-up."


Post a Comment

<< Home