Jerome Corsi, right wing author of Unfit for Command Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry has written an extensive series of articles attacking George W. BUsh's Miers Supreme Court nomination. This is one right wing extremist who knows the danger of opening an old can of worms. While an honest, a-political person might want to see corruption uncovered and exposed, Mr. Cosi suggests "It's time for the President to withdraw this dreadful nomination or, if politics dictate, Harriet Miers to withdraw herself from consideration," arguing " so we might avoid another long, painful, and needless examination of old matters that probably would be better off never exhumed.
Miers was player in Texas Lottery coverup, Corsi reports:
Larry Litwin was fired in 1997 as executive director of the Texas Lottery Commission because then-Governor George Bush wanted an investigation into possible criminal political-influence buying squashed, and then-commissioner Harriet Miers, a Bush appointee, complied with his wishes and terminated him that is the story Litwin is prepared to tell the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The article reports that Littwin was hired to run the Texas lottery as executive director. Within three months of being hired, he issued several memos. Cosi's Worldnet article reports,
...ordering a thorough search for political campaign contributions that may have been made by GTECH to a comprehensive list of Texas legislators and state officials...
Littwin had reason to be suspicious. In January 1997, federal prosecutors in New Jersey had released a pre-sentencing report in the criminal conviction of J. David Smith, GTECH's national sales manager, which mentioned former Texas Lt. Governor and GTECH lobbyist Ben Barnes as having been involved in a criminal kickback scheme... Littwin wanted to investigate those charges and determine how deeply the corruption reached into Texas politics. Prior to his indictment in New Jersey, J. David Smith bragged he had bribed some ten Texas legislators to secure their votes when the lottery bill was before the Legislature. Lottery Commission chairperson Miers assured the Austin American-Statesman these charges against Barnes would be investigated. WND can find no record of any investigation actually undertaken, despite the accusations of criminal activity.
Just days after Littwin started at his lottery commisison job, the Texas attorney General forced the release of information that former Texas Lt.Governor Ben Barnes was paid a severance fee of $23 million dollars. It has been suggested that he was paid to keep silent on what he knew about George Bush's evasion of the draft through his disputed national guard service, where it has been suggested that he failed to show up for a medical exam, possibly because he was using drugs. (Though Corsi obliquely mentions that the Miers appointment has re-opened the national guard case, he does not, in this article, tie it to the Ben Barnes payoff.)
Corsi does report that Miers and former Texas Supreme Court Justice John Hill,the newest member of the Texas lottery commission, in unison with Miers, said that the situation should be investigated. Corsi reports that no evidence of any such investigation could be found, and comments,
This was not the first time Hill and Miers spoke with one voice. In 1999, Miers' Dallas law firm, Locke, Purnell, Rain & Harrell, merged with Judge John Hill's Houston firm, Liddell, Sapp, Zivley, Hill & LaBoon, to form Locke, Liddell & Sapp. Judge Hill appeared in Washington last week as one of the Texas former Supreme Court Justices brought to the Capitol to buttress Harriet Miers' troubled nomination.
Commissioners Hill and Miers were desperate to calm the public uproar.
On October 18th, Bush brought in two Texas judges to support his nomination of Miers, CNN reported what one of them, Judge John hill had to say:
"Mr. President, we just all want to thank you for this nomination," said John Hill Jr., a Democrat who was chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court from 1985 to 1988 and served with Miers on the Texas Lottery Commission.
"We are excited about it, and we are here to try and let the people of America know what we all know, which is that she is an absolutely fantastic person and a great lawyer and will make a great judge," he said.- Advertisement -
"We actually know Harriet Miers; I hope that still counts for something, somewhere," Hill said. "I'd trust her with my wife and my life."
Putting Judge Hill's potentially crooked connection with the Texas lottery corruption cover-up puts his exuberant endorsement of Miers in a very different context. He was, and possibly still is her partner in her law firm and possibly in a criminal coverup.
Apparently, Litwin was silenced just days after he showed signs of getting serious about his inquiry. Before the three member lottery commission (Miers, Hill and someone else) ordered Littwin to stop the investigation, Corsi reports in his article that Bush, then Governor of Texas chimed in,calling Littwin "overzealous, and unleashing his attack dog, governor's spokesperson Karen Hughs on him, saying,
"If it was an attempt in any way to embarrass or intimidate key members of the Legislature or the executive branch, then Governor Bush strongly objects."
It's clear, as investigator Patrick Fitzgerald has been discovering in the Plame Outing case, Bush learned his lesson, not to directly comment when people are disclosing his connection to nefarious, corrupt or illegal activities.
Corsi says, Commissioners Hill and Miers were soon on the same page with Governor Bush, determined to stop Littwin" and John Hill "told the newspaper. "We made our position clear. I'm sure [the investigation's findings] won't be reported."
A few days later, Corsi reports,
On October 2, 1997, Lottery Commissioners Miers and Hill told the Dallas paper they had not approved the records search Mr. Littwin had undertaken. In the same article, Littwin defended himself: "Specifically, in the exercise of due diligence with provisions of our vendor contracts, I felt this research and review was important in order to determine if any financial contributions had been made by GTECH."
Corsi reports that a few days later, the Texas Lottery commission met and voted to fire Littwin, not even five months after he was hired. A new director, Linda Cloud, was hired to replace Littwin. The Morning News reported that she was not going to continue competitive bidding for the gtech contract, though lower bids were already on the table.
Will the Senate's judicial committee ask the questions necessary to shed full light on this story? Littwin has been silenced by a gag order that was part of his settlement with Gtech regarding his wrongful termination. We'll see whether money trumps truth as it has so far in this sordid tale. One thing seems more certain, Harriet is not the sweet but clueless sycophant she's been portrayed as. She's another crooked, dishonest violator of the public's trust. If the Republican Party does not revile her nomination it will be another clear proof of how low the GOP has fallen.