|09-10-2005, 07:57 PM||#1|
Angling in the Deep
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Texas Riviera, Southern Mountains
Lawyer Is Fired After Talking About Rove
Yep, don't want to say anything about the illegal activities of the braintrust if you value your job.
AUSTIN, Texas - A lawyer with the Texas secretary of state was fired after she spoke to a reporter about presidential adviser Karl Rove's eligibility to vote in the state.
Elizabeth Reyes, 30, said she was dismissed last week for violating the agency's media policy after she was quoted in a Sept. 3 story by The Washington Post about tax deductions on Rove's homes in Washington and Texas.
Scott Haywood, a spokesman for Texas Secretary of State Roger Williams, confirmed Reyes' firing but wouldn't discuss specifics. He had earlier told the Post that Reyes "was not authorized to speak on behalf of the agency."
Reyes told the Post on Friday a superior told her that her bosses were upset about the article. Williams has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Republicans, including
President Bush, who relies heavily on Rove for political strategy.
While Reyes said she didn't know she was talking to a reporter, she said the press policy doesn't bar her from speaking with the media.
"The policy allows us to talk to members of the media," she told the Post. "The policy says if it's a controversial issue or a special issue, it needs to be forwarded on to someone else. Just talking to the media doesn't violate it, as I read it. ... Karl Rove didn't come up. It wasn't something you could classify as controversial."
She said she sent a certified letter to Williams's office asking that her dismissal be reconsidered.
The Post earlier reported that Rove inadvertently received a homestead tax deduction on his home in Washington, even though he had not been eligible for the benefit for more than three years. Rove was eligible for the deduction when he bought the home in 2001, but a change in the tax law in 2002 made the deduction available only to property owners who do not vote elsewhere. Rove is registered to vote in Texas.
The tax office admitted the mistake, saying it failed to rescind the deduction, and Rove agreed to reimburse the city an estimated $3,400 in back taxes, the Post reported.
Rove is registered to vote in Kerr County, Texas, where he and his wife own two rental homes that he claims as his residence. But two local residents told the Post they had never seen Rove there.
The Post reported Saturday that when its reporter called the Texas secretary of state's office for her story, she was told the press officer was on vacation and she was transferred to Reyes.
The attorney told the reporter that it was potential vote fraud in Texas to register in a place where you don't actually live, and she was quoted as saying Rove's cottages don't "sound like a residence to me, because it's not a fixed place of habitation."
The Post ran a correction Saturday saying Reyes had not been asked about Rove by name and that the story should have mentioned Reyes's further explanation that an individual's intent to return to a home owned in Texas is a primary factor in qualifying for residency.
However, the reporter did identify herself as working for the Post during two phone conversations with Reyes, and in the second one she said she was asking about a presidential adviser who had moved from Texas to Washington, the newspaper said.
Last edited by Bronco_Beerslug; 09-10-2005 at 10:08 PM..
|09-11-2005, 08:57 AM||#3|
I WANT DEFENSE!
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Always Hoping
Meanwhile, in Washington it's woe to whistle-blowers
By Thomas Oliphant
The Boston Globe
WASHINGTON - Susan Wood and Bunnatine Greenhouse, senior government officials, had nothing to do with Hurricane Katrina or the disgraceful, tardy response to its horrid aftermath.
But just as civic collapse produces price gougers and looters, these gutsy women are examples of what can go on when the nation's attention is diverted by catastrophe: Bad people behave really badly, taking cowardly cover behind the explosion of other news.
Just as Katrina was being upgraded to a dangerous hurricane headed straight at the Gulf Coast, Dr. Wood's political bosses at the Food and Drug Administration decided to circumvent procedure and probably law to block approval of over-the-counter sales of the birth control medicine known as the morning-after pill. Their circumvention of process made the position of the widely respected public health official untenable and, in an act of commendable integrity, she resigned last week.
And just as Katrina was bearing down on the coast on that fateful Sunday, Greenhouse's bosses at the Army Corps of Engineers, with Donald Rumsfeld ultimately responsible, demoted her for following procedure strictly and raising detailed objections to contracts awarded more than two years ago under shady circumstances to a subsidiary of Halliburton Co. The obvious retaliation against Greenhouse occurred even as the Corps's inspector general, together with Justice Department officials, was continuing an investigation into the contracts based on the information supplied by the very same Greenhouse.
As the aftermath of Katrina unfolds, President Bush's habit of not only avoiding responsibility but also attacking other government officials who tell the truth or object to irregularities is worth keeping in mind. The habit was formed early. Indeed, the first victim was none other than Mike Parker, a former Mississippi congressman who was abruptly fired from his senior position in the Army Corps after he had the guts to object in public to cutbacks in, of all things, flood control projects in his native region.
The abuse of Wood and Greenhouse was particularly ugly. In the former case, top FDA officials were following a time-dishonored cover-up ritual - do a dirty deed on a Friday afternoon when it is least likely to get extensive news coverage, but do a really dirty deed when much bigger news is likely to provide weekend cover.
The dirty deed was by FDA boss Lester Crawford, who went back on the word he gave during a controversial Senate confirmation that a decision on the pill would issue by this month. Instead, under political pressure, he put it off for at least two months.
There is no scientific or regulatory basis whatsoever for his decision. As Wood has noted in e-mails to colleagues, it came out of Crawford's office with no professional participation. The so-called morning-after pill is a brilliant and safe means of dealing with up to half the 3 million unexpected pregnancies that occur in this country annually. The plan Crawford has blocked to appease antiabortion activists would make it available over the counter to girls above the age of 16 and by prescription to younger girls.
Hopefully, Crawford's move will backfire now that he has circumvented a renowned biologist whose 15 or so years at the embattled agency have been dedicated to informing a range of public health policies affecting women with science, not sectarian religious dogma. But he made his move in the political equivalent of the dead of night.
If anything, Rumsfeld and his Pentagon gang were more flagrant. Greenhouse, a by-the-book contracting official with 20 years on the job, simply did her tough job.
Two years ago she objected in private to improper procedures she saw in the awarding of a $10 billion contract to the Halliburton unit for the rebuilding of Iraq's still un-rebuilt oil infrastructure. Among other things, she cited political interference, the participation of Halliburton officials in meetings about the project, as well as the specifics of the no-bid, sole-source, five-year deal. Her objections were referred to the inspector general last fall. She then had the temerity to answer factual questions this summer at a meeting called by congressional Democrats on Capitol Hill - one of several such meetings that substitute for the legislative oversight of the executive branch that the Republican leadership refuses to conduct.
For telling the truth, Greenhouse was demoted. In order to tell the truth, Dr. Wood resigned. Initial reaction in Congress has been intensely negative. Here's hoping that Katrina gave Bush and his henchmen only temporary cover.
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