Tag Archive: Karl Rove

Corzine campaign and the DNC want more information on Rove/Christie contacts

The Corzine campaign is jumping on the news that Karl Rove and Chris Christie discussed a run for Governor while he was still US Attorney and Rove was in the White House. Before this news, the Corzine campaign had called on US Attorney’s office to honor the Freedom of Information requests filed in March and today they followed up on that calling on Christie to respond to the Corzine campaign’s request for public documents from his tenure as U.S. Attorney and fully disclose the timing and nature of his contact with Rove. And the DNC also took umbrage with the Christie campaign explanation of the contacts with Rove:

“We already knew that Chris Christie used his position as a US Attorney as a staging ground for his own political career, and now we find out that Christie spoke with disgraced political advisor Karl Rove to discuss running for Governor.  This news of Rove’s ‘career counseling’ for Chris Christie is just another troubling example of Christie’s use of his office to benefit his own political self interest.

“The Christie campaign’s effort to dismiss the Rove-Christie meetings as having had occurred as the ‘Bush Administration was winding down’ is simply offensive. They can try to spin the meetings as much as they like, but it cannot hide the truth that Christie used his appointed position as a springboard for higher office at the behest of disgraced political shills like Karl Rove,” said DNC Spokesman Michael Czin.

We saw huntsu question some of the “facts” the Christie campaign is making up regarding what Rove said earlier. The Corzine campaign put out this web ad highlighting the Rove connection over at Christiefacts.com:

Senator Weinberg said that Christie owes it to NJ to clear up the conflicting accounts between Rove’s testimony and Christie’s explanation:

“First, Karl Rove revealed that Christie solicited his help to run a gubernatorial campaign out of the U.S. Attorney’s office,” Weinberg said. “Now, Christie is denying that he reached out to Rove for advice. Given the clear disparity between their stories, Christie owes it to the voters of New Jersey to release public documents from his tenure as U.S. Attorney.”

I feel comfortable in that Christie will say this is just politics, but something tells me this won’t be the last we hear of this story.

Christie’s Campaign Makes Up Facts

Promoted by Jason Springer: We always love when huntsu stops by to say hello to her good friend Chris Christie.

Well, Chris Christie’s campaign — not the man himself, but a low-level flack — responded to the news that he had discussed running for Governor with President Bush’s chief political adviser Karl Rove as far back as 2007.  We’ll take it line by line to catch the dissembling, made up “facts”, etc.

“Mr. Rove’s testimony confirms what we’ve known all along, that Chris’ appointment as U.S. Attorney was based on his qualifications

Really?  Rove admits that William Palatucci was the one who forwarded Chrstie’s name to Rove and the selection committee.  Palatucci was a prime mover in the 1990s to get George Bush the nomination for President, and was the Finance Chair for the state GOP under Joe Kyrillos, a family friend of the Christie’s.  Rove also says that he had known Palatucci “for years.”

But as finance chair Palatucci would have been the person who solicited the quarter of a million dollars Christie and his brother Todd donated to the NJ Republican Party in 2001.  The Christies had never given anywhere near that much before, and now his former law partner solicits and receives a major donation (similar money went to the federal GOP) then forwards Christie’s resume to Karl Rove.

Remember, PoliticsNJ reported that Christie was not under consideration for any position by the Bush administration in 2000.

Needless to say, no facts presented by Rove answer any of the questions as to whether the hundreds of thousands raised by Chris Christie for Bush or the more than a million dollars donated by Christie and his family had any impact on his getting the job.  It is ridiculous on its face to suggest it does not.

Even worse, Rove admits that Christie did not have the qualifications for the job.  

Q  Were you aware that a New Jersey Federal bar group objected to Mr. Christie’s appointment because he did not have trial, criminal law, or investigative experience?

A  I don’t recall that, but I wouldn’t be surprised.

On with the Christie statement:

… and his subsequent performance as U.S. Attorney was based on the facts of each case, not on politics,” Comella said.

Actually, Rove says nothing of the sort.  The closest he came was to say,

Q  Again, do you have any idea or information about whether that contention [that Christie investigated more Ds than Rs] had anything to do with Mr. Christie being on or not on any list of U.S. Attorneys to be replaced?  

A  No.

That question has nothing to do with whether Christie was selective in his investigations — and note we don’t say he was selective in his prosecutions — but whether that was a factor in his keeping his job.  Rove didn’t once say Christie didn’t use political considerations as US Attorney.  And he very clearly said that Christie did solicit advice from Rove about partisan issues related to the Governor’s race.

At best the statement that Rove cleared Christie is a stretch, at worst it’s just wrong.

On with the statement!

“Furthermore, since even before the 2005 election there has been great speculation about whether Chris would ultimately run for some form of elected office.  “As such, it is not surprising that as the Bush Administration was winding down, Mr. Rove inquired about Chris’ future plans once his term as U.S. Attorney would come to an end,” Comella added.

Well, I’ll grant that Christie might be looking for a new job “as the Bush administration was winding down” but not that summer 2007 is the winding down of the administration.  There were still at least 17 months — 35 percent of the Bush administration left.  

Christie himself, however, has put the lie to this by saying that he only began thinking seriously about running for Governor in August 2008.  Now that’s the winding down of the Bush administration, but summer 2007 is certainly not.

At best this one is spin, at worst it is candidate Christie making a direct contradiction of what US Attorney Christie said.

“In this informal conversation, Chris discussed with Mr. Rove the fact he was being urged to run for elected office and Mr. Rove in turn offered to recommend people who could help Chris reach a decision if he eventually seriously considered running for office.?

That contradicts what Rove said in his sworn statement to Congress.

I talked to him twice in the last couple of years, perhaps one time while I was at the White House and once or twice since I left the White House, but — not regarding his duties as U.S. Attorney, but regarding his interest in running for Governor, and he asked me questions about who — who were good people that knew about running for Governor that he could talk to.  

According to Rove, Christie asked him who to talk to.  According to the Christie campaign, Rove offered the advice unsolicited.  It can’t be both ways.

Rove also implies, though it is not clear, that there were two or three conversations about running for Governor with Rove and not just one.  The campaign specifically says “this informal conversation” which ignores at least one if not two other conversations.

This statement from the campaign spins the testimony, misstates the testimony, directly contradicts Chris Christie’s previous statements, and states as fact the opposite of what Rove said.

This is not unusual for Christie.  Just search our archives for more examples.

Rove says he talked to Christie about running for Governor while he was US Attorney

We’ve long suspected Chris Christie was planning a run for Governor while serving as US Attorney. Today, transcripts of Karl Rove’s testimony before a House Judiciary Committee were released and they confirmed the speculation:

Q Did you or anyone at OPA have any communications with Mr. Christie or his office after he started as U.S. Attorney?

A I talked to him twice in the last couple of years, perhaps one time while I was at the White House and once or twice since I left the White House, but — not regarding his duties as U.S. Attorney, but regarding his interest in running for Governor, and he asked me questions about who — who were good people that knew about running for Governor that he could talk to.

But the Star Ledger reminds us of Christie’s history denying any hint of politics in his tenure as US Attorney:

Democrats have long raised questions about whether any future plans to run for governor affected Christie’s actions in office and the Corzine campaign is pushing to see his calendars from that time period. Christie has said those charges are baseless and stands by his record as U.S. Attorney.

Christie has said he was focused on his responsibilities as a prosecutor and only began “seriously thinking” about a run for governor last August. He left the U.S. attorney’s office in December to explore a campaign, which he formally launched in February. Rove left the White House in August 2007.

Baseless you say? It seems like Karl Rove established a strong base, to show that Chris Christie was planning his future run for Governor as many suspected and he repeatedly denied. If Rove talked to Christie while he was in the white house, Now of course, U.S. attorneys are prohibited from engaging in partisan political activities. Senator Weinberg said Rove’s comments put the matter to rest over when Christie began things:

“This to me puts to bed the claim that he did not think about running for governor until he left the U.S. Attorney’s Office and had done a lot of soul searching before he made his decision,” Weinberg said. “He obviously was not only thinking of running for governor, he was seeking input from the White House deputy chief of staff, George Bush’s chief strategist.”

The Christie campaign had no comment today, but I fully expect them to attack Karl Rove tomorrow and say he’s just playing partisan politics… testifying to save his own rear end before a judiciary committee.  Who is the one playing politics again?

Subponeas, Senate Seats, and Saving One’s Behind

Republican State Senator Tom Kean, Jr. and Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Menendez debate during their 2006 match up.

Former Bush Administration aides Karl Rove and Harriet Miers have reached an agreement with the House Judiciary Committee to comply with a subpoena seeking their testimony regarding the 2006 dismissal of eleven U.S. Attorneys.  For nearly two years now the committee has sought their appearance to determine whether the firings were politically motivated.  There are several questions that need to be answered about that process. Of import to the voters of New Jersey is how and why Chris Christie’s name was removed from the list of those recommended for dismissal.

In September 2006, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and Republican State Senator Tom Kean, Jr. were engaged in a bitter campaign to determine who would represent New Jersey in the United States Senate.  Many will recall the daily news reports detailing acts of official corruption by members of Congress.  For several months, Kean’s campaign had dovetailed their message to that national narrative, consistently calling Menendez “Boss Bob” and a product of corrupt Hudson County machine politics.

There was one significant challenge to that message: Bob Menendez had never been accused of official misconduct and there was no evidence to support such a claim.  No evidence, that is, until then U.S. Attorney Chris Christie subpoenaed the records of the North Hudson Community Action Corporation, a recipient of federal grant dollars and a tenant in a Union City building owned by Menendez.  The subpoenas served as a lifeline to Kean’s flailing campaign.  Finally, he had something to back his charges up.  For the rest of the campaign he would note that he had “an opponent under federal investigation.”

Menendez defeated Junior in the November election, and in the weeks following, the U.S. Attorney quietly laid the matter of North Hudson Community Action Corporation to rest.  It became clear that there was no federal investigation and that the information gathered by the subpoenas proved Menenedez was innocent of any wrongdoing.

That same month, Michael Elston, chief of staff to the deputy attorney general, included Christie’s name on a list of U.S. Attorneys slated for firing.  Among the names of those ultimately dismissed was New Mexico’s U.S. Attorney David C. Iglesias, who alleged that he received pressure from Republican U.S. Senator Pete Domenici and Representative Heather Wilson to take action in a corruption probe of a local Democrat shortly before the 2006 election.  Within weeks, he was fired, and he has stated he believes it was because he refused to involve his office in politics.  Additionally, documents released by the Justice Department indicate that Karl Rove, a political adviser, was involved in the conversations relating to all of the dismissals.

Did Chris Christie prove his worth to the White House by subpoenaing the records of North Hudson Community Action Corporation?  Who removed his name from the list?  Rove and Miers will no doubt face a torrent of questions when they sit down before the Judiciary Committee.  However, questions about Christie politicizing his role as federal prosecutor have immediate bearing on the current campaign in New Jersey.  As November approaches, Christie will continue to tell voters he is a corruption busting lawman prepared to clean up government.  Yet the testimony of Karl Rove and Harriet Miers may demonstrate to New Jerseyans what some suspected all along: Chris Christie was a loyal Bush appointee who allowed politics to interfere with prosecutions.

George W. Bush’s Cavalry Arrives For Leonard Lance

[If you think that NJ7 is a gimme, then you really need to read this and understand that this is a real fight — promoted by huntsu]

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos.)

After the bruising the Republican Party took in the 2006 election cycle, a tight-knit core of right-wing operatives and donors loyal to George W. Bush and Karl Rove came up with a plan: organize a well-funded, “independent” political organization to sell the American people on the virtues of the Iraq War. This organization, known as Freedom’s Watch, has since become the single most reliably pro-Bush organization in the country, demagoguing issues from immigration to Social Security privatization.

And now they’ve come to New Jersey in full force, with Linda Stender in their cross-hairs. While Freedom’s Watch is targeting a number of Democratic Congressional candidates with new ads at the moment, Stender is clearly at the top of their hit list, with their $500,000 ad buy in the 7th district being their largest expenditure at the moment.

Hot on the heels of Bush’s multi-million dollar rescue operation for Leonard Lance and Chris Myers, the White House has clearly put the word out that getting Lance elected is one of their top priorities. Who knows what’s they’re going to come up with next. Lance can try to weasel his way out of it, but the proof is undeniable at this point — George W. Bush and Karl Rove want nothing more than for folks like Leonard Lance to be elected to Congress to protect their legacy. They know that electing people like Linda Stender means that their dreams of permanent majorities rubber-stamping policies from Social Security privatization to endless war in the Middle East will come to an end.

To help us respond to the coming right-wing onslaught, please consider making a contribution to the campaign at LindaStenderForCongress.com/Contribute.  And if you aren’t in a position to contribute, sign up to get involved with the campaign at LindaStenderForCongress.com/GetInvolved/Volunteer.  You can help us immediately by knocking on doors, making phone calls, and letting your friends, neighbors, and family in the 7th district know that real change isn’t going to come from the same tired Bush team in Washington and their handpicked candidates across the country. It’s going to come when we elect more people like Linda Stender to Congress.

Calling All Journalists: A Question for Chris Christie

The Seattle Times interviewed former U.S. Attorney General John McKay:

McKay said he began to have concerns about politics entering the Justice Department in early 2005, when [Alberto] Gonzales addressed all of the country’s U.S. attorneys in Scottsdale, Ariz., shortly after he took over as attorney general.

“His first speech to us was a ‘you work for the White House’ speech,” McKay recalled. ” ‘I work for the White House, you work for the White House.’ “

McKay said he thought at the time, “He couldn’t have meant that speech,” given the traditional independence of U.S. Attorneys. “It turns out he did.”

He looked around the meeting room and caught the eyes of his colleagues, who gave him looks of surprise at Gonzales’ remarks. “We were stunned at what he was saying.”

My question to U.S. Attorney General Chris Christie:

What did you understand “you work for the White House” to mean?

US Attorney firing linked to Rove

Recent posts on Blue Jersey have addressed the quetion of whether subpoenas issued by NJ U.S. Attorney Christie and Christie’s continued tenure in office are part of a national pattern  of Republican U.S. Attorneys being pressured to indict Democrats.  The Albuquerque Journal, which tends to support Republicans, reported information from the McClatchy Newspapers that in 2005, New Mexico Republican party chairman Allen Weh complained about then-U.S.-Attorney David Iglesias to a White House liason who worked for Karl Rove.  Weh followed up with Rove personally in late 2006.  “He’s gone,” Rove told Weh.  Weh claims that this occurred at a White House briefing for state party chairmen and that the date was after December 7, when Iglesias was fired.  However, it is clear that Rove knew about the firing.  Then there is the question of why the tenure in office of a U.S. Attorney would be a matter for discussion at a political briefing for Republican state chairmen.  The Journal also reported that Paul Kennedy, the lawyer whose client brought the corruption charges to Iglesias, was one of nine persons to attend a $5000 a plate fund raiser with Rove at Weh’s home.

Quote of the Day

Jon Corzine:

“From the very day this campaign began, from the very day, Republicans in this race and across the nation spent their whole time talking about something other than what serves the people. And once again the people in New Jersey rejected that strategy. George Bush and Karl Rove can take it and put it in a place where it doesn’t show.

The Campaign of a Coward: Tom Kean Jr.

I’m not one to incorporate the standard language of machismo which dominates modern political discourse into my own political analyses, but Kean Jr.’s actions are proving him to be, for lack of a better term, downright cowardly.  For the entire election season, Kean Jr. has made excuse after excuse not to attend debates – from the recent League of Women Voters one to the first debate in June, when he was arguing he had to cast a vote in the state senate – and actually, heaven forbid, discuss substantive issues rather than make often baseless charges.