Lets delve a little

Let’s delve a little further into this Ted Olson matter and the accusations against him reported in this article in today’s Washington Post.

David Brock’s word probably isn’t enough to sink Olson.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve got tons of respect for David; and I don’t doubt him for a moment. But he’s just one person. And he’s also very much an interested party in this whole matter of the Spectator and the Arkansas Project and so forth. And he can be portrayed as someone with an ax to grind.

So who else might be able to back up David’s version of events?

If I were, say … a staff investigator for the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee I’d be looking to Ronald Burr, the co-founder and long-time publisher of the American Spectator who was fired over his efforts to do a proper accounting and/or audit of the moneys which the various Scaife foundations were funnelling through the magazine to be used in the Arkansas Project.

Burr was very roughly handled in the whole affair. And he would certainly know plenty about the questions at hand. But to date he’s been prevented from speaking on the record about any of this because of a non-disclosure agreement he signed after being fired by the Spectator. (His severance package was a pricey $350,000 — well, pricey for the magazine world, at least. Trust me.)

I understand that there are a number of people who can contradict Olson’s denials of involvement with the Arkansas Project. But, just as he was during the impeachment saga, it’s probably only that non-disclosure agreement which is preventing Burr from talking.

Now, I don’t know the fine points of the intersection between private contractual agreements and Senate subpoenas (see note here on TPM’s aborted legal career). But I have to assume that a private contract is trumped by a congressional investigation, just as a private confidentiality agreement is trumped by a subpoena in a criminal trial.

So why not give Burr a call?

P.S. Any of TPM’s readers at the American Spectator want to add their two cents?