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Hatch vs. GOP Staff: Democrats play fast and loose with ethics, Republican gets thrown overboard.
National Review Online ^ | February 06, 2004 | Quin Hillyer

Posted on 02/06/2004 10:01:35 AM PST by xsysmgr

Manuel Miranda, the Senate staffer who until today was Majority Leader Bill Frist's top adviser on judicial nominations, has left his post with a massive parting blast that should put to shame Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch.

The substance of his contentions — that Democratic senators engaged in violations of the public trust that may be legally actionable — makes Hatch's utter capitulation to Democrat demands look craven by comparison.

Miranda's letter to the Senate ethics committee, drafted earlier this week and delivered this morning, alleges that a series of Democratic memoranda that were not (and have not been) leaked will show evidence of leftist groups' "direct influencing of the Senate's advice and consent rule by the promise of campaign funding and election support in the last mid-term election."

One source — not the Miranda letter — says that the unreported memos also contain more examples of the merely distasteful variety of comments, as in pointedly noting for whatever reason that now-confirmed nominee Dennis Shedd is "a Southern white male."

Miranda's complaint of Democratic ethics violations comes on top of 14 previously leaked memos that Republicans say show collusion between Senate Democrats and those leftist groups. In one of those first set of memos, Democrats indicated former federal judicial nominee Miguel Estrada should be opposed because "he is Latino."

Here's where Hatch's judgment comes into question. First, let it be understood that the substance of the infamous 14 Democratic memos is highly embarrassing to Senate Democrats, and serious enough in itself that Hatch should have ordered an investigation into the Democratic activities described therein. But now we learn that Senate Sergeant-at-Arms William Pickle, under Hatch's direction, has possession of a hard drive containing dozens, perhaps even more than a hundred, other memos, including some that Miranda says are even more damning than the reported memos. And what was Hatch doing?

Investigating only the Republican staff for its alleged role in leaking the documents, without publicly giving a second thought to looking into the Democratic skullduggery as well.

The Nov. 20 letter Hatch sent to Mr. Pickle demanded an investigation so broad-ranging as to virtually hand the keys to the kingdom, as it were, to ranking Judiciary Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont. Hatch demanded the "retrieval of the old hard drives of the servers that were recently replaced," and asked "that Senator Leahy and I be given an opportunity to review and comment upon the scope of work contained in any contract you negotiate" in pursuance of the investigation. In short, in the course of trying to find out which Republican accessed the Democratic memos, Hatch might effectively allow the Democrats to review Republican documents as well.

In the same Nov. 20 letter, Hatch repeatedly condemns, in advance of the investigation's own findings, the leaking of the Democratic memos. Noting complaints from Democratic Sens. Leahy, Kennedy, and Durbin, Hatch wrote: "I agree with their assessment that this is a very serious matter which deserves immediate attention." Later he confesses "the serious nature of the allegation." And Hatch's public comments have repeatedly echoed these condemnations.

Which may be all well and good. One man's noble "whistleblower" may be another man's unprincipled political operative. But nowhere — not once — did Hatch demand an investigation of the major improprieties evidenced in the Democratic memoranda themselves.

Miranda's allegations are serious. And they raise this question: If Hatch (and Frist, for that matter) is willing to forfeit Miranda's scalp to the Democrats, why did he not demand a scalp in return? Or, better yet, why not demand that the Democrats relinquish a hostage? "You want Miranda?" he should have asked. "The man doesn't appear to have broken any laws. I'll give you Miranda only if you agree to drop your filibuster of one of our nominees."

All of which, of course, applies only if Hatch and Frist were willing to sacrifice Miranda at all.

Nobody knows for sure, of course, what the Pickle investigation will say about Miranda's activities. But it's already clear from the published memos that the Democrats used sleazy methods aplenty to block judicial nominees. And if Miranda's new allegations are accurate — allegations that Pickle can easily check if he's ordered to do so — then the unpublished memos could show still worse Democratic behavior.

If Hatch doesn't play a little hardball of his own, he'll have lots to answer for. Conservatives will have a field day putting his letter to Pickle, so obsequious to Democratic sensibilities, next to Miranda's letter alleging Democratic activities far worse than "leaks" of unclassified, unprotected documents.

The whole battle over judicial nominations long ago turned sleazy, with plenty of allegations back and forth. Why Orrin Hatch should sweep the Democrats' sleaze under the rug is both a mystery and a shame.

Quin Hillyer is an editorial writer and columnist for the Mobile Register.


TOPICS: Government
KEYWORDS: 2004memo; estradamemo; frist; judiciarycommittee; manuelmiranda; memogate; memos; naacpmemo; orrinhatch
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1 posted on 02/06/2004 10:01:37 AM PST by xsysmgr
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To: xsysmgr
Our no-balls repubs. How can we push this guy out the hatch? Maybe Teddy can get hinm a job.
2 posted on 02/06/2004 10:03:18 AM PST by breakem
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To: xsysmgr
Reminds me when Clinton was being impeached. More Pubbies were forced out of jobs and leadership positions than Dems.

The Dems get caught with their hand in the cookie jar and the Pubbies are the ones who get canned.

Irony of ironies.
3 posted on 02/06/2004 10:06:51 AM PST by TomGuy
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To: xsysmgr
As "unfair" as some may claim ....

...just because the leftist radicals are hoarish sleazes does not mean that the Republicans / Conservatives should throw Morality, Honor, and Integrity out the window.

Don't even think about slithering down to the level of clinton/kennedy/barney frank et al

.
4 posted on 02/06/2004 10:07:09 AM PST by steplock (www.FOCUS.GOHOTSPRINGS.com)
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To: visualops
ping for self
5 posted on 02/06/2004 10:08:00 AM PST by visualops (I'm still trying to figure out why kamikaze pilots wore helmets.)
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To: xsysmgr
---another of the many reasons I quit donating to the Republidums--with idiots like "Booby" Hatch in positions of power, who even needs Kennedy pulling strings on the Demotraitor side?
6 posted on 02/06/2004 10:09:56 AM PST by rellimpank
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To: steplock; Poohbah; piasa; section9; Dog; Congressman Billybob; votelife; Bob J; Nick Danger
Agreed.

Miranda probably didn't do anything illegal. He did cross some ethical lines, albeit in doing so, he exposed Democratic ethical violations. There is at least one NAACP official being investigated for ethical violations.

With the way the media runs things, though, Miranda's ethical lapse will be mentioned, but the Dems will get a pass. This is why we have an obligation to keep things aboveboard and beyond reproach.
7 posted on 02/06/2004 10:16:48 AM PST by hchutch ("I never get involved with my own life. It's too much trouble." - Michael Garibaldi)
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To: hchutch
BUMP!
8 posted on 02/06/2004 10:17:40 AM PST by jmstein7
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To: xsysmgr
Orrin hatch is a nice man, but I sure wish he had a spine. He needs to get shifted to some other committee where stakes aren't so high.
9 posted on 02/06/2004 10:20:56 AM PST by SolutionsOnly
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To: xsysmgr
I have to wonder what the Democrats have on Hatch that they are using to control him.
10 posted on 02/06/2004 10:21:49 AM PST by Eva
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To: xsysmgr
bttt
11 posted on 02/06/2004 10:22:09 AM PST by mathluv (Protect my grandchildren's future. Vote for Bush/Cheny '04.)
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To: xsysmgr
he whole battle over judicial nominations long ago turned sleazy, with plenty of allegations back and forth. Why Orrin Hatch should sweep the Democrats' sleaze under the rug is both a mystery and a shame

It isn't if you understand that Hatch has been compromised over such things as BCCI & others. He acts no different than ole Newt after his infidelity was under qustion. And don't doubt that all of these pols that get assigned to chairmanships have backgrounds that the elites can expose at any time. But unlike the dems they will be thrown out as Newt, Livingston, Lott,etc. Remember if you are a conservative & promote that agenda to the point of making it a reality you will be ostracized. The elites will never allow conservativism to flourish as they pull the purse strings.

12 posted on 02/06/2004 10:22:51 AM PST by Digger
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To: xsysmgr
From Inside Politics in the Washington Times this morning, at:

http://www.washtimes.com/national/inpolitics.htm

"But some folks say it may be even worse. One person who has seen the memos argues that they also include information that can only be described as evidence of political corruption and that the federal whistleblower statute should protect the people who made them public. Senate Republicans, who one person involved in the issues said, 'are more concerned with saving face than with getting to the truth,' reportedly do not want the debate over the leaked memos to go down that road. At least one source close to the issue says they may have no choice in the matter."
13 posted on 02/06/2004 10:34:32 AM PST by jackbill
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To: xsysmgr
Which side knows right from wrong?
Which side knows that the ends does not justify the means?
Which side stands on principle above self preservation?

Unless there was an issue of National Security at stake, those memoes should never have been leaked. Private communication between DemocRATS is still protected under privacy laws, no matter how vile and damning the content may be.

How many Freepers here were howling about the laws that John and Alice Martin broke when they taped Newt Gingrich's private cell phone conversations and turned them over to the Dims, and how many were howling over the content of the tapes?

14 posted on 02/06/2004 10:38:54 AM PST by Yo-Yo
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To: Yo-Yo
"protected under privacy laws" ???

Unconstitutional laws created by lawyers & politicians & judges to protect lawyers & politicians & judges.

A public servant - They are SERVANTS not our MASTERS as the courts would claim - has no right to privacy when it comes to the work that he/she is being paid to do.

15 posted on 02/06/2004 10:45:08 AM PST by steplock (www.FOCUS.GOHOTSPRINGS.com)
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To: xsysmgr
Hatch is an SOB who deserves our hate and scorn.
16 posted on 02/06/2004 10:48:37 AM PST by rcofdayton
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To: jackbill
At least one source close to the issue says they may have no choice in the matter."

I think it is out of their hands now. Both the Washington Times and Quin Hillyer are signalling Frist that they have the memos, the memos are hot, and they will be made public.

Hilyer's piece, and the WTimes, are letting Frist know that Hatch is not in charge of this investigation anymore. They are. Frist can choose to join Hatch on the gallows when the bribery stuff comes out, or he can distance himself now by removing Hatch as chairman of the Committee. That is a very tough thing for Frist to do, but he won't be able to say afterwards that he wasn't warned.

The Sergeant-at-Arms is not the only guy with copies of the memos. Those things have been leaked all over Washington now. People far more partisan than Orrin Hatch know what's in them. Hatch is covering up for some Serious Stuff here. It's too late to save Hatch; he's toast. The only issue is whether Frist wants to go with him. Frist is being politely warned, and given time to position himself on shore before the shelling of Hatch and his Democratic buddies begins.

This is gonna be fun, folks. Get your popcorn ready.

So tell us, Senator. On what day did you first become aware that certain Democratic members of your committee were accepting bribes in return for obstructing these nomineees? I see. And whom did you tell when you found this out?


17 posted on 02/06/2004 10:59:28 AM PST by Nick Danger (Spotted owl tastes like chicken.)
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To: breakem
someone in Utah needs to make an effort to get his attention. 10,000 Utah letters is a start. ask Mr. Hatch how long is he going to continue to play tennis with Mr. kennedy? When is he going to represent descent American values?
18 posted on 02/06/2004 11:07:53 AM PST by q_an_a
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To: steplock
A public servant - They are SERVANTS not our MASTERS as the courts would claim - has no right to privacy when it comes to the work that he/she is being paid to do.

I can see your point. Should we then join the DemocRATS in calling for Cheney to reveal the names of the people he had on his Energy Policy committee?

19 posted on 02/06/2004 12:46:46 PM PST by Yo-Yo
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To: xsysmgr
My tagline says it all. - tom
20 posted on 02/06/2004 12:51:41 PM PST by Capt. Tom (Don't confuse the Bushies with the dumb republicans. - Capt. Tom)
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To: xsysmgr
And these clowns expect me to vote Republican? That's pretty funny.
21 posted on 02/06/2004 12:52:44 PM PST by Hank Rearden (Dick Gephardt. Before he dicks you. Done. Ok, 'Rats - who's next? Step up.)
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To: Nick Danger; diotima; Interesting Times; conservativegadfly1
ping!
22 posted on 02/06/2004 12:55:02 PM PST by abner (In search of a witty tag line... found it! http://www.intelmemo.com < go there or be square!)
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To: Yo-Yo
I believe that technically/constitutionally, the VP has executive privilege in his case. I do not know about the Senate. I expect that they also are the owners of what goes on in their chambers. The only way anything will come of this is if Republicans force the issue through the Ethics Committee. Someone with some fortitude will have to do it. Is there such a person?

Whomever has copies of the memos should release them. The Washington Post should do a big expose on the obstruction in the Senate. But that'll never happen. The Post loves leaky Leahy and the pro-death crowd on the Left.
23 posted on 02/06/2004 12:55:03 PM PST by petitfour
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To: SolutionsOnly
Orrin hatch is a nice man, but I sure wish he had a spine. He needs to get shifted to some other committee where stakes aren't so high.

Oh yeah, that'll happen. Hatch is about 140 years old. Witness OldBob Dole - to the Republicrats, feebleness is a mark of destiny and tenure, because it's "their turn". Nevermind the Big Stupid Government tendencies.

24 posted on 02/06/2004 12:55:28 PM PST by Hank Rearden (Dick Gephardt. Before he dicks you. Done. Ok, 'Rats - who's next? Step up.)
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To: Nick Danger
Too good to be true....we nail the rats on the Judiciary committe AND
get rid of that weakling appeaser, Hatch?
Not to mention ending the obstruction on the President's judicial nominees.
Tell me I'm not dreaming! :)
25 posted on 02/06/2004 12:58:26 PM PST by MamaLucci
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To: MamaLucci
Sorry, you're dreaming... So am I.
26 posted on 02/06/2004 1:00:56 PM PST by abner (In search of a witty tag line... found it! http://www.intelmemo.com < go there or be square!)
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To: abner
Darn, Nick sounded so sure!
27 posted on 02/06/2004 1:06:01 PM PST by MamaLucci
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To: MamaLucci
I'm just used to getting screwed with these idiots. I hope he is right. I'll buy the butter for the popcorn.
28 posted on 02/06/2004 1:07:53 PM PST by abner (In search of a witty tag line... found it! http://www.intelmemo.com < go there or be square!)
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To: MamaLucci
Sean Hannity is supposed to talk about this today too. I hope he gets to it soon.
29 posted on 02/06/2004 1:08:34 PM PST by abner (In search of a witty tag line... found it! http://www.intelmemo.com < go there or be square!)
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To: steplock
It has nothing to do with ethics - it has to do with law and the violation of the spirit AND the letter as demonstrated by the Democrats.

We need open and televised hearings on this TODAY!
30 posted on 02/06/2004 1:11:34 PM PST by mabelkitty
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To: petitfour
Mr. Ashcroft.
31 posted on 02/06/2004 1:12:37 PM PST by mabelkitty
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To: xsysmgr
that Democratic senators engaged in violations of the public trust that may be legally actionable

Democratic senators without scruples AND breaking the law???

Get outta here . . .

32 posted on 02/06/2004 1:13:45 PM PST by TLI (...........ITINERIS IMPENDEO VALHALLA..........)
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To: mabelkitty
Now that would open a can of worms. But can the executive interfere with the legislative affairs in that way? I don't think so. The Senate has to discipline itself. Is there a Senator who has the charisma and cojones to grandstand on this issue?
33 posted on 02/06/2004 1:17:49 PM PST by petitfour
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To: Nick Danger
Surely Miranda must have given Frist some idea of the scope and seriousness of the memos he discovered. Either Frist doesn't think Miranda has enough to make firing him more that slightly inconvenient, or something else is going on...
34 posted on 02/06/2004 1:19:05 PM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Interesting Times
"more *than* slightly inconvenient."
35 posted on 02/06/2004 1:20:03 PM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: abner
If Hannity talks about it, please pass on his comments. Thanks.
36 posted on 02/06/2004 1:20:43 PM PST by MamaLucci
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To: MamaLucci
Will do.
37 posted on 02/06/2004 1:21:08 PM PST by abner (In search of a witty tag line... found it! http://www.intelmemo.com < go there or be square!)
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To: abner
I'm just used to getting screwed with these idiots.

BOHICA!

38 posted on 02/06/2004 1:22:20 PM PST by NeoCaveman (February 6th, THE President's Day. Birthday of Ronald Reagan.)
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To: petitfour
Is there a Senator who has the charisma and cojones to grandstand on this issue?

Rick Santorum?

39 posted on 02/06/2004 1:23:10 PM PST by NeoCaveman (February 6th, THE President's Day. Birthday of Ronald Reagan.)
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To: Nick Danger
This is gonna be fun, folks. Get your popcorn ready.

I really, really hope you're right on this, Nick.

40 posted on 02/06/2004 1:24:12 PM PST by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: xsysmgr
I've been very disappointed in Frist, and Hatch is as useless as tits on a bull.
41 posted on 02/06/2004 1:27:20 PM PST by ought-six
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To: Nick Danger
A cheap victory builds the foundation for future defeats.
42 posted on 02/06/2004 1:28:16 PM PST by bvw
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To: dubyaismypresident
He looks too nice. And that is the problem with the Republicans in DC. They all look like Opie Taylor or like a Barber Shop Quartet. John McCain is an exception.
43 posted on 02/06/2004 1:29:04 PM PST by petitfour
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To: mabelkitty
Just what was Mr. Miranda's job - wasn't it coordinating the efforts of the senate & outside groups in getting nominees consented to? Let's get all the memos out, dim & rep and see where we get to. That would be fun.

Stealing private property is still a crime.
44 posted on 02/06/2004 1:29:10 PM PST by familyofman
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To: dubyaismypresident
BOHICA!

????

45 posted on 02/06/2004 1:29:37 PM PST by abner (In search of a witty tag line... found it! http://www.intelmemo.com < go there or be square!)
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To: abner
"Bend Over, Here It Comes Again."
46 posted on 02/06/2004 1:35:22 PM PST by Interesting Times (ABCNNBCBS -- yesterday's news.)
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To: Interesting Times
Thanks. LOL!
47 posted on 02/06/2004 1:36:17 PM PST by abner (In search of a witty tag line... found it! http://www.intelmemo.com < go there or be square!)
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To: Interesting Times
Frist needs one of his surgeon buddies to implant a backbone and stand up to the wimpy RINOS and slimy Democrats. I call him Jellyfish Frist. Frist isn't running for re-election and Zach Wamp has been anointed to run for his seat. Wamp has a backbone and will be a good choice. The rumors going around Tennessee have Frist running for president in 2008. He will be another Bob Dole and we will have another Clinton in the White House. He is too nice and won't win.
48 posted on 02/06/2004 1:41:03 PM PST by BloomNTn
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To: Interesting Times; abner
Thanks I.T. for filling in the blanks. I thought it was common enough, especially when referring to what Democrats do to Republicans.
49 posted on 02/06/2004 1:48:09 PM PST by NeoCaveman (February 6th, THE President's Day. Birthday of Ronald Reagan.)
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To: BloomNTn; Pubbie
The rumors going around Tennessee have Frist running for president in 2008

He'll have to get past Bill Owens in the primaries first.

50 posted on 02/06/2004 1:50:07 PM PST by NeoCaveman (February 6th, THE President's Day. Birthday of Ronald Reagan.)
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