It’s time for a special prosecutor to investigate Barack Obama.
The multi-headed Hydra which is the Obama Chicago Culture Of Corruption is growing another head in Washington, D.C. and a special prosecutor is needed in Washington while Patrick Fitzgerald stabs at the Hydra in Chicago.
Let’s examine how a Special Prosecutor can be appointed and under what authority, as well as what you can do.
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Some of our correspondents have rightly noted that the special prosecutor statute expired in 1999. There are also questions as to how a special prosecutor can be appointed. Let’s answer those two points.
The special prosecutor statute indeed did expire in 1999. There is however the legal authority to appoint investigators from directly inside the system in certain cases. Patrick Fitzgerald was a recent Special Prosecutor/Counsel who investigated the name leak of C.I.A. covert agent Valerie Plame.
On September 30, 2008, in a completely unrelated case, Slate Magazine in its Explainer section answered many of the questions regarding the authority and methodology for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor:
The Ethics in Government Act of 1978 called for the position of “special prosecutor” to be separate from the executive and legislative branches and to be appointed by a three-member panel of judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals. The act also gave special prosecutors the power to issue subpoenas, start grand jury proceedings, hire a staff, use the resources of the Department of Justice and FBI, and get a security clearance if needed. (Later, the name “special prosecutor” would be officially changed to “independent counsel.”)
The Supreme Court upheld the law governing special prosecutors in 1988, but Congress let it expire in 1999 in the wake of Kenneth Starr and the Clinton investigation.* In its place, the Department of Justice created regulations (PDF) allowing for the selection of an outside “special counsel” on those occasions when there’s a conflict of interest within the department. Unlike the independent counsels that came before, a special counsel is appointed by the attorney general, so he doesn’t enjoy the same strict separation from the executive branch. He does have more freedom than a “special attorney” like Danahey, though: He has “independent authority” to exercise all investigative and prosecutorial functions and is not subject to day-to-day oversight by DOJ officials. Moreover, the AG has only very limited authority to reverse a Special Counsel’s decisions, or to remove the Special Counsel. By contrast, Danahey was not only appointed by the attorney general, but she is also directly accountable to him: Mukasey can direct, superintend, and reverse her decisions.*
Appointment now of a Special Prosecutor would prevent Obama from firing Patrick Fitzgerald as well as reassure Americans that any such firing would be fully investigated. In the likelihood of a firing of Fitzgerald a Special Prosecutor could also continue the work started by Patrick Fitzgerald. Of course the real need for a Special Prosecutor is to investigate the Hydra head growing in Washington inside the transition team.
The Presidential Transition Act (1963, amended 2000) authorized the “training and orientation of high-level presidential appointees” along with security checks and the vetting of soon to be government officials. There are also provisions for taxpayer funds to pay for offices, transportation, salaries and all operations of the transition team. The current transition team has over 500 members and a budiget of $5.2 million taxpayer dollars (Obama has also fundraised more than $7 million for the transition team). The transition team operates in both Chicago and Washington, D.C.
In other words the transition team is government financed. The transition team is in many respects a mini-government in terms of conflicts of interest. For instance, the transition team will select Justice Department officials, including the future Attorney-General (Eric Holder is the one named by the transition team).
The transition team cannot be trusted to investigate the transition team. Obama future appointments cannot be trusted to investigate future Obama appointments. We need a Special Prosecutor independent of manipulation. We need a Special Prosecutor to investigate what thus far is known and act to flense the current and future corruption.
Barack Obama insists he didn’t have any contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich or anyone else who might have been scheming to sell the president-elect’s U.S. Senate seat. But he has not yet given his transition staff the same clean bill of health – perhaps with good reason.
An examination of the FBI complaint against Blagojevich and the days immediately following Obama’s historic election victory suggests the governor was highly interested in Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett as a potential Senate appointee, albeit with a steep price tag.
The 76-page complaint contains multiple references to “Senate Candidate 1,” whose description clearly fits Jarrett, a former finance chief for Obama’s earlier campaigns and incoming senior White House adviser.
In secretly recorded conversations, the Democratic governor said he’d be willing to appoint Jarrett – Obama’s supposed favorite to replace him – in return for a high-paying job at a national union organization called Change to Win.
The potential union corruption, the potential state government corruption, the potential DNC corruption, the potential transition team corruption need to be investigated. A Special Prosecutor is needed. Obama’s carefully worded, delay-delay-delay defenses are not fooling anyone, not even many of his Big Media buddies.
At a news conference Thursday, Obama said his office was assembling any information about possible contacts “between the transition office and the governor’s office,” and that he intended to release any such detail in the next few days.
“But what I’m absolutely certain about is that our office had no involvement in any dealmaking around my Senate seat,” Obama said. “That I’m absolutely certain of.”
It remained unclear whether anyone on Obama’s team had been in contact with Blagojevich or his associates regarding the Senate seat.
According to the complaint, Blagojevich met Nov. 5 with an official of the Service Employees International Union-Local 1 who is believed to be Tom Balanoff, a longtime Obama supporter who spoke at the Democratic National Convention.
Blagojevich “understood” that the SEIU official was “an emissary to discuss Senate Candidate 1’s interest” in the Senate seat. Though just a day after the election, media reports had already identified Jarrett as being interested in the job. [snip]
Two days later, Blagojevich allegedly suggested he’d be willing to “trade” the Senate seat to Jarrett in exchange for the Health and Human Services secretary’s job. He repeated that desire during a separate, three-way call involved Blagojevich, Chief of Staff John Harris and someone identified only as “Advisor B,” a Washington-based consultant.
Harris noted that Blagojevich also would consider being appointed to a high-paying position at Change to Win and that Balanoff, who declined numerous requests for an interview with The Associated Press, could guarantee the appointment.
In return, Obama would be expected to help Change to Win with its legislative agenda on a national level, said Harris, according to the criminal complaint.
As the FBI listened in, Harris suggested the three-way deal would give Obama “a buffer so there is no obvious quid pro quo” regarding Jarrett. And “Adviser B” said “they should leverage the President-elect’s desire to have Senate Candidate 1 appointed to the Senate seat” in exchange for a big job at Change to Win.
“No obvious quid pro quo.” That is the Obama modus operandi [See our Rezko For Dummies series which explains, Chicago style, how to avoid the appearance of a quid pro quo.] But even the dummies at Big Media are waking up to the glaring and obvious Chicago corruption and how Obama hides from answering questions honestly:
Asked Thursday why the governor might have believed the Obama camp wasn’t going to cooperate, Obama refused to speculate.
“I can’t presume to know what was in the mind of the governor during this process,” he said. “All I can do is read what was in the transcripts, like the rest of you have read it, and shake my head.”
On Nov. 12, major news organizations, including the AP, quoted sources as saying Jarrett was not interested in the Senate seat. The Chicago Tribune said it had received an e-mail from Jarrett declaring, “I am not interested in the Senate seat.”
But as the day wore on, Blagojevich continued to discuss the possibility of appointing “Senate Candidate 1” in a series of calls; Blagojevich would stay on as governor and ostensibly run the nonprofit.
“Adviser B” told the governor he liked the Change to Win job best because “from the President-elect’s perspective, there would be fewer ‘fingerprints’” because the union organization was already in existence and fully funded.
During one of the calls, Blagojevich informed the union official – believed to be Balanoff – that he’d heard Obama now wanted other candidates considered. Balanoff said he would find out if “Senate Candidate 1” wanted to keep pushing for the Senate seat.
The discussion during a Nov. 13 call between the governor and “Adviser A” made it clear Blagojevich wanted a deal from Obama whether his pick was Jarrett or someone else, according to the complaint. And in subsequent recorded conversations, the governor indeed moved on to other possible candidates, including Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
On Nov. 15, Obama announced the appointment of Jarrett as one of his key advisers. And yet nine days later, Blagojevich may not have given up on the idea that Jarrett was still his way to cash in: According to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., he spoke to the governor about Jarrett on Nov. 24.
“The governor asked me, ‘What about Valerie Jarrett? Do you think she’s serious?'” Durbin said, an apparent reference to her withdrawal from consideration.
“I said, ‘Yes, I talked to her. She said she doesn’t want this. She’s going to stick with Obama,'” Durbin said.
While everyone is focused on the latest suspects like Rahm Emanuel let’s look at another of the big and simultaneously small players in the Obama Corruption Opera – like Senator Durbin. One of very few Big Media columnists we have quoted with respect is John Kass of the Chicago Tribune. On the Sunday before the curtain went up on the Obama Chicago Corruption Opera (Blagojevich is the featured performer in Act I, Scene 1) John Kass had a rather remarkable column:
The Illinois Combine is pushing hard to have President George W. Bush release corrupt former Republican Gov. George Ryan from prison, though he’s served only a little more than a year of his 6 ½-year sentence on corruption, fraud and other charges.
Sen. Dick Durbin has written Bush a heartbreaking letter on Ryan’s behalf. Durbin’s Democratic Senate colleague—now President-elect Barack Obama—doesn’t think it appropriate to get involved in the matter.
But you can get involved. This time, you can act.
You can e-mail Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write him at The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20500.
You might consider including this letter from Janet Willis to U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer at Ryan’s sentencing in 2006. I published it then, but it’s time to read it again. Janet’s children were the casualties of political corruption. You may also go online and read all the Willis family letters to Pallmeyer at chicagotribune.com/familyletters. Here is Mrs. Willis’ letter:
Americans should read the Janet Willis letter as well as write to George W. Bush and not only keep corrupt Republican Illinois Governor in prison, but also ask for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Barack Obama.