If you have a pulse then you know that the biggest news story of the past week has been the politically motivated purge of U.S. Attorneys not deemed loyal enough “Bushies.” The eight fired attorneys were all ones that Karl Rove and the Whitehouse felt weren’t acting partisan enough. They were either pursuing corruption cases against Republicans or not pursuing cases against Democrats hard enough. Evidence didn’t really matter, nor did the fact that of the eight attorneys 6 were Republican and two Independent. The most vociferous of the fired attorneys has been David Iglesias:
United States attorneys have a long history of being insulated from politics. Although we receive our appointments through the political process (I am a Republican who was recommended by Senator Pete Domenici), we are expected to be apolitical once we are in office. I will never forget John Ashcroft, then the attorney general, telling me during the summer of 2001 that politics should play no role during my tenure. I took that message to heart. Little did I know that I could be fired for not being political. [Link]
p>What’s the first thing you do after you fire eight attorney’s who don’t play political ball? You hire new ones of course. You’d probably go for someone you know you could trust. A loyal “Bushie.” Meet the only (as far as I know) Indian American U.S. Attorney. Her name is Rachel Kunjummen Paulose and she was appointed to the recently vacated job in Minnesota. She is the youngest attorney, and the first woman in Minnesota to hold this post (thanks for the tip Ravi):
It seemed like a fairy-tale: University of Minnesota graduate goes to Yale Law, gets a few high-profile jobs, including stints at Dorsey & Whitney and the Justice Department, and winds up, at age 33, the youngest serving U.S. Attorney, the first woman to hold that position in Minnesota and the first U.S. Attorney of South Asian descent. Her appointment to the post is sponsored by Republican Senator Norm Coleman, but also endorsed by outgoing Democrat Mark Dayton, who makes it his final priority in the Senate to see her confirmation through in the waning hours of the session.
This is the narrative we have received from the media of the meteoric rise of Rachel Paulose, the new U.S. Attorney in the Minnesota district. But with the recent furor over the firings of the “Gonzales Seven”–several of whom were involved in ongoing corruption investigations, and others of whom have revealed that they were pressured to speed up investigations by sitting members of Congress–and their replacement by up-and-coming partisans, the curious case of Rachel Paulose merits a closer look. [Link]
The blog Minnesota Campaign Report has some opinions about how Paulose may have gotten the job at such a young age:
Paulose was nominated for the post by Sen. Norm Coleman. Some might wonder why a 33-year-old woman–a woman with quite impressive credentials, it’s true, but young nonetheless–would be promoted from relative obscurity to be the top prosecutor in the Minnesota district…
p>So what made Paulose the right choice? Senator Coleman praised her as “capable [and] experienced,” and said he was “confident [that] Rachel will do an exemplary job.” But a little research reveals more reasons Paulose may have gotten the nod–her connections to Republican politics and the conservative movement:
-According to IndiaWest, Paulose is “a registered Republican and has worked for GOP candidates,” though she cites a “lack of involvement in big-donor contributing and fundraising” as evidence that she will run her office in a non-partisan manner. However, FEC records show that Paulose has donated $1,500 to Norm Coleman’s campaign since November 2005…
-An article by McClatchy Newspapers states that, “according to a former boss, [Paulose] has been a member of the secretive, ideologically conservative Federalist Society,” an organization “dedicated to reforming the current legal order” by “developing and promoting far-right positions and influencing who will become judges, top government officials, and decision-makers,” according to People for the American Way. “Many members of the Federalist Society advocate a rollback of civil rights measures, reproductive choice, labor and employment regulations, and environmental protections,” PFAW states. [Link]
She said the U.S. Attorney’s office will focus on six areas: terrorism; economic crime, including fraud and public corruption; Internet crimes against children; gun and gang violence; drug trafficking; and civil rights, including human trafficking, immigration violations, and identity theft fraud.
Paulose jumped at the chance to expound on these priorities – mentioning that the Minnesota U.S. Attorney’s office has two terrorism case pending, indicted three Minnesota city council members on corruption charges, and vigorously pursued a case of Internet pharmacy fraud totaling about $20 million in illegal sales. The defrauder faces a possible sentence of 20 years in prison.
Paulose pledges to keep the heat on child pornographers who, she said, are becoming “more graphic, more heinous and frankly appalling.” She also emphasized her office’s increasingly tough sentencing requests for weapons’ offenses, with violent crime on the increase in the urban areas of Minnesota.
“We must protect all citizens, young and old, from the violence that threatens our way of life,” she said in a statement. “We must hold everyone, particularly public officials, accountable for their actions. And we must ensure the civil rights of all people.”
While she has already been informally sworn into office, Paulose plans a formal investiture ceremony in March. She is looking for a large enough location to accommodate “all of my relatives who are coming (to Minneapolis) from all over the United States…” [Link]
p>The funny thing is that the press started looking into Paulose not because of her partisan background but because they seem to think that the big hoopla surrounding her “coronation,” may have been too extravagant (see the clip on the right hand column here):
While past investitures have been simple ceremonies, an internal document obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS details plans for a more elaborate event. The document lists a processional, a professional photographer, a color guard and a choir. All of those were included in the March 9 ceremony. Paulose’s office called the document inaccurate and said it was discarded months ago.
Paulose said she personally paid for most of the ceremony. According to her office, the cost to taxpayers was $225. But David Williams of Citizens Against Government Waste says the staff time spent planning the event also represents a significant cost to taxpayers. [Link]
In any case, Paulose will probably only have this job for two years. After that she will be purged, along with all the other U.S. attorneys, when a new President takes office.