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Analysis: New U.S. Attorney Scandal Uncovered in Minnesota

Analysis: New U.S. Attorney Scandal Uncovered in Minnesota

U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose has only been on the job for a little more than a year, and she's already managed to alienate four of her top staff to the point that they've all voluntarily demoted themselves from being the heads of her criminal and civil divisions � not to mention that one was her top administrative officer � down to simply being federal prosecutors. One other employee, Tim Anderson, a non-attorney who had been the acting administrator in the office, also gave up his post.

"This is a decapitation of the office," said a source with knowledge of the situation, according to Shannon Prather of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "I've never heard of anything like this. People work all their lives to be at these high levels in the office. This is an extraordinary event."

Why?    According to the MyFOX Twin Cities website, it's because Paulose has "earned a reputation for quoting Bible verses and dressing down underlings."

And what type of prosecutions do U.S. Attorneys (USAs) who quote Bible verses like to engage in? Child-abusing priests? Payday loan companies that charge usurious rates of interest? Environmentally-polluting corporations?

All those are possibilities, but considering the recent firings of the U.S. Attorneys in Arizona and Nevada for failing to prosecute porn, members of the adult entertainment community can make an educated guess as to what at least some of her upcoming targets are likely to be.

But, one might ask, what does the Minnesota USA, who's been in her job since February 2006, have to do with the Justice Department's December purge of eight other USAs for clearly political reasons?

Well, oddly enough, Paulose, who according to MyFOX was "a special assistant to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, worked as a senior counsel for deputy attorney general Paul McNulty and is best buds with [Fifth Amendment-taking] Monica Goodling," may very well have been part of the Gonzales/Rove/Miers plan to ditch any USAs who weren't "loyal Bushies."

Paulose's predecessor was Tom Heffelfinger, who has answered "Emphatically no" to suggestions that he was forced out of his position, even though his departure was abrupt. At the time, Heffelfinger said only that his leaving was "entirely personal ... balancing the best needs of the office and the best needs of my family." He aded that "financial considerations" played a role.

But a journalist identified only as "smit2174" has been investigating Paulose's installation as Minnesota's USA for the ePluribus Media website, and has found some troubling details.

Smit2174 notes, for instance, this paragraph from another Pioneer Press account of the changeover: "The appointment departed from normal practice. For the first time in decades, an interim U.S. attorney was sent directly from the Department of Justice to fill the job in Minnesota. Traditionally, interim appointees have come from within the Minnesota office, promoted either from first assistant U.S. attorney or chief of the criminal division."

Paulose was nominated for the post by Minnesota's Sen. Norm Coleman, himself a very "loyal Bushie" � and it probably didn't hurt that Paulose had donated $1,500 to Coleman's reelection campaign over the past 18 months. Paulose is also (surprise, surprise!) a member of the ultra-conservative Federalist Society. It is worthwhile to remember that one of the reasons given in Justice Department emails for replacing the various USAs with "new blood" was to give the newcomers experience in high-ranking offices so that they could later be nominated as federal judges, or even run for elective office.

Although there are some rumblings that Paulose originally was intended to be appointed as an interim U.S. Attorney, thereby using a newly-passed provision of the PATRIOT Act to bypass the necessity of having her confirmed by the Senate, Coleman did in fact submit her nomination to the then-Republican-controlled Senate, and was approved in the final days of the 2006 session.

Smit2174 also calls attention to Gonzales' Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson's April 14, 2006 email to Dabney Friedrich, the subject of which was "Removal and Replacement of U.S. Attorneys Whose 4-year Terms Have Expired," wherein Sampson notes that "two others on my original list already have left office." Those two names have been redacted, and Sampson testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 29 that he could not recall the missing names, but with Heffelfinger gone just two months earlier, Heffelfinger could certainly have been one of those names.

Moreover, a March 23 article in the McClatchy Newspapers notes that in a speech given by Bush advisor Karl Rove to the Republican National Lawyers Assn., Rove "ticked off 11 states that he said could be pivotal in the 2008 elections. Bush has appointed new U.S. attorneys in nine of them since 2005: Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico. U.S. attorneys in the latter four were among those fired." [Emphasis added]

Warns    Mary Ratcliff on OpEdNews.com, "Every US Attorney appointed this year must be carefully checked out. How many are members of the Federalist Society? We know Ms. Paulose is. And Carol Lam's successor is too. It's becoming very clear that they've been appointed to steal the election in 2008 and to politicize the Justice system to damage Democrats and protect Republican lawlessness. And they must be assumed to be more loyal to the conservative ideology than the rule of law, because, frankly, being appointed under this AG should be considered a stain on their reputations."

And the adult industry is well aware of what types of prosecutions those who are "more loyal to the conservative ideology than the rule of law" tend to engage in!

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Mark Kernes

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