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General News    H3'ed 7/2/09

Is Artur Davis Selling Out Obama for Personal Gain?

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Message Roger Shuler
Cross Posted at Legal Schnauzer
U.S. Rep. Artur Davis (D-AL) is consulting two U.S. senators about the nomination of a U.S. attorney for the Barack Obama administation, according to a new report on the Web.

Nothing unusual about that, right? Well, here is the strange part. According to a guest article at the Wayne Madsen Report, Davis is consulting Alabama senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions, both Republicans.

Why would two Republicans have input into a nomination for a Democratic administration? The article says it appears to be part of Davis' effort to gain support from pro-business forces in his run for Alabama governor in 2010.

How far will Davis go to curry favor with groups such as the Business Council of Alabama (BCA)? The article says Davis might actually push for Bush appointee Leura Canary to stay on as U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama.

Canary, the wife of BCA president William Canary, is best known for leading the prosecution of former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman. States The Madsen Report:

Alabama Congressman Artur Davis, the current favorite to become the state's Democratic nominee for governor in 2010, reportedly advocates retention of Republican Middle District U.S. Attorney Leura Canary to woo business and Republican support for his candidacy.

Sources report that the plan to let Canary keep her job at least temporarily is gaining traction among Washington's Democratic power brokers as a brilliant centrist strategy to help the Harvard-educated Davis win election as the state's first African-American governor.

Does this plan come with risks? Oh yes, says the article:

Critics believe the plan would ultimately doom the Davis campaign and further erode confidence in Alabama's already disgraced federal court system. Perhaps even more important, it would create a national embarrassment for Democratic leaders who would end up snookered yet again by the master Republican strategist Karl Rove, whose Alabama ties run deep and dark. This is because retention of Canary--wife of Rove's close friend Business Council of Alabama President William Canary--would inflame Alabama's progressive community.

Progressives regard her as a central villain in the 2006 federal conviction of former Democratic Gov. Don Siegelman on hoked-up corruption charges that made his seven-year prison sentence an international disgrace. Many of the state's progressives and outside legal experts have since rallied around Siegelman, helping to make Siegelman's case the most controversial U.S. criminal prosecution of the decade.

When The Madsen Report contacted Davis' office for comment, the response was curious, to say the least:

Asked for comment, a spokeswoman for Congressman Davis said that she's authorized only to say that Alabama's Republican Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby have rejected the congressman's two initial nominees, Michel Nicrosi of Mobile and Joseph Van Heest of Montgomery.

U.S. attorneys traditionally serve at the pleasure of the president. And last time our crack Legal Schnauzer investigative team checked, the current president is a Democrat. So why would the Obama administration care one ioata what Shelby and Sessions thought about a U.S. attorney nomination? Answer: The Obama should not care and maybe does not care. Is it possible that Artur Davis is acting as a "lone ranger," more interested in his own political future than the needs of the U.S. Justice Department?

Could this wind up being a huge embarrassment for Davis and Obama--and the Democratic Party, if it lets Davis operate in a short-sighted, self-centered manner? The answer, The Madsen Report writes, is yes. And it has to do with Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy, who both have filed motions for new trials in recent days:

Just last week, two events helped illustrate explosive potential of any continuation of Leura Canary's role as a federal prosecutor. First, Scrushy filed an 85-page motion on Friday seeking a new trial. In it, Scrushy alleged that newly discovered evidence showed misconduct by federal prosecutors and the trial judge. For example, Scrushy cited evidence from whistleblower Tamarah Grimes in Leura Canary's office that Canary continued to monitor and indeed oversee Siegelman's prosecution even though she claimed to be recused because of her husband's longstanding friendship with Karl Rove. Bill Canary and Rove sought to eliminate Democrats from elected office in Alabama throughout the 1990s. During that time, they worked with Alabama's Republican Party Executive Committee.

Also last week, retired Chief U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon of Alabama's Northern District told a National Press Club audience in Washington, DC that the Justice Department's 2004 prosecution of Siegelman on corruption charges was the most unfounded criminal case that Clemon had presided over in nearly 30 years on the federal bench.

Alabama blogger Glynn Wilson has been on top of these developments at Locust Fork News-Journal. Wilson was at the National Press Club event last Friday, and his report focuses heavily on the words of U.W. Clemon. Wilson also provides insights on the strange dance Artur Davis and Jeff Sessions are performing, focusing on how it plays out against the backdrop of the Sonia Sotomayor U.S. Supreme Court nomination.

The bottom line? Evidence is mounting that Leura Canary is corrupt, but Artur Davis might actually push for her to stay on the job?

If that proves to be the case, Alabamians should ask themselves if Artur Davis is fit to be governor--or to hold any other office, for that matter.
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Roger Shuler Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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