Skip to comments.1997 - FRED THOMPSON WIMPS OUT JUST AS HE GETS CLOSE TO PREY
Posted on 09/14/2007 8:48:57 AM PDT by Calpernia
Why, just as the investigation into Clinton campaign corruption was hitting pay dirt, did Fred Thompson suddenly strike a deal with Democrats to shift the hearings into a softer, gentler discussion of legislative changes?
Consider the momentum building:
1. Venerable Gore, now wisely hiring criminal lawyers, was shown to be fund-raising from federal property for his own campaign, which forced Janet Reno to shake up Justice's hapless bureaucracy - in hope of evading the law's mandate to seek court appointment of a real prosecutor.
2. Our rogue president, after selling face time to an engaging hustler for $300,000, was shown to have directed his aide to be ``supportive'' of the donor at the Energy Department. Mack McLarty swore this attempted fix was merely ``seeking information,'' echoing the words of Sherman Adams to excuse his improper intercession for Bernard Goldfine in 1958.
3. One of two Clinton 1992 fund-raisers who became high officials at Energy was shown to be a perjurer. ``Somebody's lying,'' concluded a senator. In that connection . . .
4. DNC chairman Don Fowler was shown disremembering conversations held with a CIA operative named Bob to help sanitize donor Roger Tamraz. This triggered a CIA Inspector General investigation likely to reveal abuse of authority within the Directorate of Operations.
With all that - plus evidence of China 's fund-funneling - what caused Fred Thompson to veer off into legislative la-la land? His reasons:
1. The coming week's hearings were to be Democrats' payback time, and GOP leaders did not want to offer a chance to argue ``everybody did it.''
2. Thompson thought he was running low on ammunition. The best witnesses - Huang, Middleton, Trie - were taking the Fifth or hiding overseas.
3. After a slow start that drew media derision, Thompson reached a level of interest and grudging respect that would be hard to maintain (ain't gonna get no betta); soon the pack's mantra would become ``petering out.''
4. Thompson believes this is the time for a deep breath; to see if New York U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White's prosecution of teamsters leads to the AFL and the White House's Harold Ickes (whom he will depose again); to press the Freeh-Reno crowd on the Asian connection; and in three weeks, to take another look at his hand.
By thus thinking tactically - about how the hearings ``play'' - Thompson is making a strategic blunder.
A serious Senate investigation has three purposes: first, to use its subpoena power to expose to public view, often in dull detail, the widespread wrongdoing and potential lawbreaking that corrupted a presidential election. Next, with the public educated and aroused, to shame the see-no-evil, conflicted Justice Department into action. Purpose three: to propose legislation to make certain future wrongdoing of this kind is prosecutable.
But just when the committee's exposing purpose was getting traction - when front pages and even TV network news shows were paying attention - Chairman Thompson cut away from the chase.
Because he mistakenly thought he was running out of fresh ammunition and running out of time, the Tennessee senator switched to the general legislative purpose. It was part of a deal with Trent Lott to steal a march on the Democrats' domination of campaign finance reform.
With Thompson taking his heavy breather, who will take up the torch? It's up to Intelligence Chairman Richard Shelby, who plans to examine Democratic penetration of the CIA, perhaps publicly, as former DCI John Deutch urges; Dan Burton and his House committee, bedeviled by cover-upper Henry Waxman but unencumbered by deadline; 41-year-old Mary Jo White; and slowpoke prosecutor Hickman Ewing Jr., administering water torture to Webster Hubbell.
Too bad about Fred Thompson's wimpout. Hope he catches his breath in time.
Roger Tamraz, an international fugitive from Interpol, donated $177,000 to Democrats and the DNC through his companies and attended several White House dinners and coffees in 1995-1996. Tamraz is a former financier wanted, according to a 1989 Interpol warrant, in Lebanon for embezzling $200 million from his failed bank. On June 2, 1995, Tamraz was briefed by a National Security Council (NSC) expert on Russia at the same time he was negotiating a multibillion-dollar deal to build a pipeline from oil reserves from the Caspian Sea to Turkey through Azerbaijan and Armenia. On July 26, Tamraz contributed $20,000 to the DNC. After the meeting occurred, then-DNC Party Chairman Don Fowler called an NSC official to try to overturn a recommendation that Tamraz not attend high-level White House meetings. Tamraz went on to attend four more White House events with Clinton which included receptions, dinners and the premiere of the movie "Independence Day." Tamraz, through his New York-based oil company, gave $50,000 to the DNC after going to a DNC sponsored White House reception on Sept. 11, 1995, and a dinner four days later. In October, Tamraz contributed another $100,000 at the direction of the DNC to the Virginia Democrat Party using his Tamoil Inc., company. Tamraz also had coffee with Gore on Oct. 5, 1995, and with Clinton on April 1, 1996.
Hey Doug, anything in here useful to the current court case (Paul)?
Actually it is a little, I figured it was posted by Pissant.
It’s pure pissanthropy, no matter which duncanista posts it.
It is still relevant now anyway. Number 2, Huang, Middleton, Trie reference, is connected to Hsu. And Hillary is also in court now with CFR issues from during this timeframe.
Yeah, the dead-horse-beaters won't stop slamming Thompson, who has electability.
Too bad; as I like Hunter, too, but can't see wasting time and treasure on a non-starter while the Hildabeast gets a free pass if no contender that can actually beat her in November gets the nomination. Without Ross Perot, we would not even be talking today about a "Klintoon".
"Our work was affected tremendously by the fact that Congress is a much more partisan institution than it used to be."
>>>but can’t see wasting time and treasure on a non-starter while the Hildabeast gets a free pass
Then try reading the article. It is about the Hildabeast.
I'm not supporting ANYONE yet!
What’s worse, the guy decided to make the investigation into an advertisement for campaign finance reform instead of sticking to the investigation of China’s and the DNC’s malfeasance.
It was a pretty weak showing, when you get rings run around you by senile old fools like John Glenn.
As I recall, after all it was 10 years ago, Fred wound up between a rock and a hard place with uncooperative or fleeing witnesses, etc.
Actually, he can help bury her now since this topic is new again, ie., Norman Hsu.
Give it a rest.....
Your post is irrelevant to the topic.
“Too bad about Fred Thompson’s wimpout.” I don’t know if it’s a wimpout or more of the same.
I did note that after failing to sink his teeth into Clinton for Chinagate (Which btw is a much more impeachable offense then a blowjob) he did manage go on to get CFR passed and vote China into permanent MFN status, voted in support of Clintons Kosovo war as well as give Clinton a vote of ‘not guilty’ on perjury charges.
Yes, but is he up to it? Has he MENTIONED it? Has ANY REPUBLICAN mentioned it???? They are ALL WIMPS!!
One guy has been on China like a bad suit for decades.
Although House Democrats have hardly been united in recent days, some are still capable of acting in unison. One excellent example: the Dems of Armed Services Committee, all 28 of them, have banded together to push panel chairman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) to reinstate a special subcommittee dedicated to oversight and investigations of the Pentagon.
The panel was shut down under the Republicans, they say, and it's high time to restart it. Hunter, however, is mightily resisting the idea.
Any wonder why? Set aside his own troubles as a target in the Cunningham fraud investigation. According to POGO, Hunter -- who's never been a particularly toothy watchdog of Pentagon activities -- has for several years co-owned a cabin in rural Virginia with a Rumsfeld confidante and senior Pentagon official.
For the past five years, Preston M. Pete Geren III has been kind of a top-shelf fix-it guy for Rumsfeld, POGO's Jason Vest reports. From 2001 to 2005, Hunter's co-homeowner was a special assistant to the Defense Secretary whose duties included "keeping Congress off Rumsfeld's back," according to one of Vest's anonymous sources. In particular, Geren is said to have been tasked with quashing Hill interest in the Abu Ghraib scandal.
Since then, Geren served briefly as secretary of the Air Force before taking the job of Undersecretary of the Army in February.
With friends like these, Hunter may wonder, who needs oversight?
It has been nearly five months since Justice Department prosecutors working the Duke Cunningham corruption case first requested information from three key House committees. To date, they haven't got a scrap of paper in return, nor a single interview with a staffer, Roll Call's John Bresnahan reports today.
In May, if you recall, anonymous Hill denizens whined to the media that if they really tried to comply, Congress would "shut down."
DoJ wants information stretching back to 1997, and requests that broad could lead them to knock on many new doors. Independent reports have already confirmed that as offshoots of the Cunningham probe, the DoJ is looking into Reps. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Katherine Harris (R-FL), and possibly others, as well as former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) -- and, of course, Cunningham himself.
___________________________________________________________ Wanna smell something fishy?
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) -- one of the five lawmakers known to be under investigation as part of the Cunningham scandal -- is forcing the Pentagon to spend nearly $26 million on a giant killer catamaran, "despite strong objections from the Navy," reports CongressDaily this morning.
That gets us to the water's edge -- but here's the stinking fish smell, courtesy of POGO: The boat is made by Titan Corp., who uses as a lobbyist Letitia White, the former staffer for Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) who now works at the Copeland Lowery lobby firm. (White, Lewis, and the firm are all under scrutiny as part of the Cunningham investigation.)
Hunter has also pushed the Navy to buy $27 million worth of Titan missiles which don't fly right, POGO says. I wonder if the feds are looking into this one?
The recent resignation of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Rancho Santa Fe, has focused the spotlight once again on the reprehensible ways that defense contractors work with lawmakers to win fat contracts for their services, whether they help the nation's defense or not.
Cunningham's bribe-taking was repulsive. But one of the biggest problems in contractors' and congressmen's mutual back-scratching isn't Duke-style corruption. It is what's perfectly legal.
This was underlined by the Union-Tribune article, "Contractor a master of gaining political access," by Dean Calbreath and Jerry Kammer. It detailed how Cunningham and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-El Cajon, worked closely with two local companies ADCS Inc. of Poway and Audre Inc. of Rancho Bernardo to make the Pentagon pay for converting printed documents to computer files. They and a few other lawmakers got Congress to allocate $190 million for "automated data conversion" projects from 1993 to 2001.
Did the Pentagon want this "help"? No. As a 1994 General Accounting Office report noted, it already had the tools for such work.
But Cunningham, Hunter and their House allies didn't care. Audre and ADCS were generous with contributions and ADCS executive Brent Wilkes allegedly was bribing Cunningham. No matter who griped, lawmakers could always add "earmarks" for pet projects to bills and get their way. This led to such absurdities as a $9.7 million contract for ADCS to digitize historical documents from the Panama Canal Zone that the Pentagon considered insignificant.
This isn't governance. This is looting.
Hunter disagrees. In a phone interview, he said there was support within the Pentagon for such projects, citing several official letters praising Audre's technology or endorsing automated document conversion. He said his fighting for contracts to go to San Diego-area firms is what congressmen do.
But the preponderance of evidence shows defense officials objected to document conversion spending and saw it as ridiculous. That should have carried the day with Hunter or any lawmaker trying to bring home the bacon.
Instead, the prevailing attitude was that when you have hundreds of billions of dollars to divvy up, everyone should get a piece and if the Joint Chiefs of Staff think the military's bucks should go toward protecting soldiers and not the pointless preservation of old documents, well, tough luck.
This is no way to run a government. Forget the fatalistic argument that pork is an inevitable part of the legislative process. Just once it would be nice to hear a lawmaker declare he wouldn't vote to spend one dime on a military project that the Pentagon didn't request or hear a president vow to veto every defense spending bill inflated by the legislative looters.
The status quo is revolting. If only it would inspire a voter revolt. A few more stories like the one about Cunningham, Hunter and the document conversion follies, and it just might.
And I didn't even have to go back to 1997!
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