Arkansas U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins Was Fired Just After Reports Surfaced of Investigation into Law Firm of Top Level White House/GOP Operative and Close-Friend-of-Rove, Thor Hearne
Prosecutor Was Replaced by Rove Aide Timothy Griffin...
By Brad Friedman on 4/19/2007, 10:53am PT  


One quick observation concerning Gonzales's sorry "don't attack our troops" defense, and another --- much more important note --- on a so far unreported aspect of the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal that seems to reach straight into the White House and about which someone on the Senate Judiciary Committee needs to ask some questions.

First, just the observation that Gonzales has been continuously suggesting today that questioning him is actually an attack on the career attorneys at DoJ. Nothing could be more disingenuous, yet familiar as a now-routine defense for this bunch. The reprehensible defense is identical to the oft-employed White House/GOP response to criticism of George W. Bush's handling of the Iraq War. "Stop attacking our troops!" they say, whenever someone is critical of Bush's horrendous war management.

Gonzales's "Stop attacking our career DoJ attorneys!" defense is no different and equally as disingenuous, particularly considering the now-long documented history that this White House has for its unprecedented politicization of the DoJ, its direct attacks on career attorneys in the civil rights division and elsewhere, its overruling of positions of those employees by Bush's political appointees, and so much more.

Thankfully, just before the lunch break, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) pointed out exactly that, and likewise compared it to the "Stop attacking our troops!" defense. It brought a round of applause from the audience in the room. (UPDATE: TPMMuckracker now has video of the exchange.)

Secondly, but certainly of far more importance, there is the so far ignored --- yet as I see it, direct --- connection to the White House concerning the firing of Arkansas U.S. Attorney Bud Cummins...

Media reports from May of 2006 describe a corruption investigation by Cummins's office into MO Gov. Matt Blunt's use of the Missouri lawfirm Lathrop & Gage LC to run a chain of satellite state licensing offices.

Lathrop & Gage is the powerful firm of Blunt's general counsel, and Bush/Cheney '04's national general counsel, Mark F. "Thor" Hearne.

As BRAD BLOG readers know, Hearne is a top-level White House operative, a very close friend of Karl Rove's, and the co-founder of the currently-back-underground "American Center for Voting Rights" (ACVR), the mysteriously-funded group behind all of the GOP's phony "voter fraud" claims and the accompanying push for disenfranchising "Voter ID" restrictions at the polling place. (See our Special Coverage page on ACVR scam here...)

The first reports of Cummins's investigation into the Blunt/Lathrop & Gage scandal were apparently released in May of 2006. Cummins was removed from his position just afterwards, in June of 2006 --- prior to all the other firings which took place later that year on the same day in December.

He was replaced at that point by Karl Rove's personal aide Timothy Griffin.

Someone on the U.S. Senate's Judiciary Committee needs to ask Gonzales about the axis between the firing of Cummins and the connection to Thor Hearne, Karl Rove, and the White House.

I can't underscore enough Hearne's highly placed position as a White House operative, as the man behind the GOP's entire, systematic, and well-financed "voter fraud" scheme/initiative (which has played directly into several of the other firings), his longtime efforts on behalf of and under the direct employ of MO Gov. Matt Blunt (son of the powerful GOP minority House Whip Roy Blunt), his position as a top attorney in the Republican National Lawyers Association (singled out by Rove during an April 2006 speech to that group of Republican election attorneys), and of course, as the national general counsel for Bush/Cheney '04 Inc.

It stands to reason, then, that the Cummins investigation into Blunt and Lathrop & Gage's questionable handling of those satellite state offices --- for profit --- would definitely have triggered alarm bells in the White House. Someone needs to inquire along those lines.

I'll try to get this article to someone on the committee right now if possible.

UPDATE 2:45pm PT: Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog picks this ball up, and forwards the story a bit with comments from Cummins on the matter from both the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Los Angeles Times, in which Cummins is quoted as saying, "You have to firewall politics out of the Department of Justice. Because once it gets in, people question every decision you make. Now I keep asking myself: 'What about the Blunt deal?'"

UPDATE 5:54pm PT: Joseph Cannon ran a not-insignificant corollary to this story a few days ago, in which he detailed the plight of the Missouri U.S. Attorney who was forced to recuse himself from this case after his wife and brother-in-law had received some $3.6 million from the Blunt/Lathrop & Gage run operation. $3.6 million in "corruption insurance for Blunt," as one quoted Democrat describes it.

Hearne's fingerprints, and with them, close-friend Rove's and the White House's, are all over this thing. Cannon's report is here, scroll down to "The Graves Affair."

UPDATE 4/23/07: Many more details now available in this new article on All the President's Men in Missouri...and at the heart of both the U.S. Attorney Purge and the GOP "Voter Fraud" scam that lies at its core.