More on Susan Ralston's resignation. I don't want to paint her as an innocent bystander in all this. She was, as I understand it, The Brain's brain. You don't work as an assistant to Karl Rove and to Jack Abramoff without knowing your way around the block. She's a big girl.
That being said, you start to wonder if Republicans understand "The buck stops here" only in some literal sense. Accountability stops way down the chain of command, but the perks of office flow all the way to the top.
Karl Rove, at this point, looks untouched. But his assistant, well, we just can't stand for that kind of conduct, now can we? Here's a sampling of how the Bush White House ferrets out and punishes alleged ethical improprieties, according to the WP
The White House counsel's office conducted a review of the report, but with Ralston's departure it closed its inquiry yesterday. "Nothing more will come from the report, no further fallout from the report," Perino said.
A senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said the counsel's office reached no conclusion about whether Ralston violated gift limits because her resignation made the point moot. But the official said there were "mitigating circumstances" in her case because she had a preexisting relationship with Abramoff, for whom she worked before joining the White House. The official said the White House made no criminal referral in her case. A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.
Given the number of Bush Administration appointees with "preexisting relationships" in business and industry (and on K Street) that's a mitigating circumstance wide enough to drive a Brink's truck through.