Okay, so we already know that the White House has now taken the unprecedented step of firing at least four and likely seven US Attorneys in the middle of their terms of office — at least some of whom are in the midst of corruption investigations of Bush administration officials and key Republican lawmakers. We also know that they’re taking advantage of a handy provision of the USA Patriot Act that allows the White House to replace these fired USAs with appointees who don’t need to be approved by the senate.
Given that these new USAs are being plopped into offices currently investigating Republicans and other administration officials and others into states with 2008 presidential candidates, there’s certainly ample opportunity for mischief.
So we’re looking into just who the White House is appointing.
Well, let’s start with the estimable J. Timothy Griffin, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas since December 20th.
If you hadn’t heard about Griffin’s appointment, don’t feel bad, the guy he replaced hadn’t either. Griffin’s appointment was annouced on December 15th before the then-US Attorney Bud Cummins had even been given a chance to resign. Cummins got the call on his cell phone the same day while he was out hiking with his son. Cummins, who subsequently said he got forced out for political reasons, resigned on the 20th, the same day Griffin was sworn in.
So who’s Griffin and what experience does he bring to the job?
Well, top of the list seems to be his stint at the White House where he worked for Karl Rove doing opposition research on Democrats. That was until late last year. According to this Arkansas Times report, for the last ten years — with the exception of two one year stint — he has always worked as a Republican party opposition researcher digging up dirt on Democrats. Deputy Research Director for the RNC from 1999-2000. Research Director for the RNC from 2002-2005. Oppo Research Director for Karl Rove 2005-2006. Prior to 1999? Well, he was associate independent counsel investigating Henry Cisneros from 1995-96. After that he went to work for Dan Burton on the Hill to investigate Asian money contributions to the DNC.
Back in 2000, when he was in charge of digging up dirt on Al Gore, he apparently had a poster hanging on the wall behind his desk which read: “On my command – unleash hell on Al.”
So clearly, Griffin’s a pretty apolitical guy.
Now, why would Karl Rove want his top oppo researcher being the US Attorney in Arkansas for the next two years?
And is Ed Gillespie suiting up to take over the Duke Cunningham investigation in San Diego?