An ugly episode nearly nine years ago involving a reprimand against Colorado Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck, while he was serving at the time as an assistant U.S. attorney in Denver, continues to shadow the candidate — as well it should.
When an assistant federal prosecutor is reprimanded by the Department of Justice for improperly disclosing internal government deliberations about a pending case to a defense attorney, it is not something that can or should be sloughed off as a youthful indiscretion.
Buck’s opponent in the GOP primary, Jane Norton, had raised the issue of Buck’s 2001 reprimand during this summer’s primary battle, but its importance was largely lost in the heat of that contest. Moreover, because the incident involved an investigation of improper firearms sales by a then-licensed gun dealer in Aurora, the important ethical aspect of the matter was obscured by the emotionalism that almost invariably attaches itself to Second Amendment issues. This is unfortunate, because the episode raises legitimate concerns about ethics, professionalism and loyalty in one of the most sensitive of public jobs — that of a federal prosecutor.
The basic facts of the case appear largely undisputed. In 1998, an investigation was presented to Buck, serving at the time as one of the top assistants in then-U.S. Attorney Henry Solano’s office. The investigating agency, Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, believed a firearms dealer in Aurora was engaged in the sale of guns to so-called “straw buyers,” in violation of federal law. Buck declined to pursue the prosecution, and the ATF apparently did not at the time appeal that decision to Solano.
Shortly thereafter, Tom Strickland, Solano’s successor, decided to review the gun case — as was his prerogative as a U.S. attorney. He elected to present the case to a grand jury, which returned an indictment against Greg and Leonid Golyansky and Dmitriy Baravik. And that’s when the trouble began.
There obviously was disagreement within the U.S. attorney’s office over the decision to pursue the case against the alleged firearms violators, something not unheard of. Normally, such internal opinions are kept within the four walls of the prosecutor’s office. This is not only ethical and professional, but pragmatic as well. If word were to leak out — especially to a defense attorney — that questions about the strength or weaknesses of the government’s case had been raised internally, this would almost certainly provide grist for defense arguments to the judge and the jury; and would at least indirectly pressure the government to settle the case more favorably to the defendant.
Yet this is exactly what Buck did. He revealed to a defense attorney the fact that there was an internal government memorandum outlining possible weaknesses in the government’s case. Buck did this, even though by his own admission he had not seen the internal memo. Not surprisingly, two years later the case was finally concluded against the three defendants on terms far less favorable to the government than it likely could have obtained had the defense not been tipped off by Buck.
Buck’s clearly improper communication to a defense attorney about a pending prosecution was not only contrary to ethical and professional standards that govern attorneys; it also represented an act of disloyalty toward his superior — U.S. Attorney Strickland.
Strickland sent the matter of Buck’s improper communication to the appropriate Justice Department office in Washington, and a formal letter of reprimand was issued in December 2001. Buck resigned shortly thereafter.
It is important to note that the U.S. attorney who gave Buck the reprimand was a Republican, John Suthers. This was not a partisan effort to “get” Ken Buck. Nor are the questions the incident raises those of an everyday, “off-the-record chat” between a prosecutor and a defense attorney, as Buck now characterizes the incident. To continue to belittle this incident serves only to reinforce the concerns that were the basis of the 2001 letter of reprimand in the first place.
So get out and vote. Mitt gives us a good reason:
“Democrats have the edge over Republicans in Florida, Iowa, Nevada and North Carolina. In Colorado and New Hampshire, Republicans outnumber Democrats, according to the analysis of state data. Three other battlegrounds — Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin — don’t report registration statistics by party.”
Jim Hightower just wrote a very interesting column – “The Price of Admission”.
Here’s the beginning:
Gosh, I feel so much safer now that teenage ticket takers at the Regal chain of movie theaters have been directed by corporate chieftains to search the purses of their female customers.
The Dark Knight Rises shooter had an armory of weapons that wouldn’t fit in any purse. And need I point out that he was a he? Yet, Regal’s rummaging is apparently reserved for women, even though practically all mass shootings have been committed by male specimens of our species.
Read the whole column HERE. And thanks to Hightower for making this absurdity visible to us all.
- Movie Theater Solution to Preventing Mass Murder by Guys with More Guns Than Rambo? Search Women’s Purses (alternet.org)
- Regal Cinemas says safety is priority after Colorado shooting (timesunion.com)
- Regal Cinema Issues Statement After Local Theater Arrest (fox8.com)
Normally, we engage in a searching conversation over what rational steps can be taken by individuals, communities and various levels of government to make the recurrence of a comparable tragedy less likely. Sometimes we act, sometimes we don’t, but at least we explore sensible solutions.
Unless the tragedy involves guns. Then our whole public reasoning process goes haywire.
Of course, this shows the evil effect the NRA has had on our society. Take the 1994 regulation that banned the sale of assault weapons. For ten years the NRA lobbied on the need for Americans to buy the guns they wanted and in 2004 they succeeded by not having the law renewed. This also included AUTOMATIC assault weapons… the ability for fast multi-bullet firing, just like what happened in the Colorado movie theatre. And remember, the gunman acquired his guns and 60,000 bullets legally.
I admire Dionne and think we should pay attention to him. The rest of his article is HERE.
- Sick at Heart (jordancornblog.wordpress.com)
- NRA Magazine Deletes Offensive Tweet Following Shooting in Colorado [Update] (politicker.com)
- Why gun lovers still fear Obama (politico.com)
- Aurora, Colorado Gun Deaths Happened Because Americans Refuse To Confront The NRA (dekerivers.wordpress.com)
I thought I’d skip over to the News page at the NRA’s website and watch their news report from yesterday, July 20. I was sure they would at least put forward a position on the Colorado shooting that killed and wounded about 50 people.
Wayne LaPierre’s National Rifle Association has ignored the idea of people who shouldn’t have guns being able to get them…and use them. Their recent support of the “Stand Your Ground” law in the Trayvon Martin case is an example of their position. And look, Twenty or so years ago, the NRA was losing members. At the time, when some nut shot up a post office or a McDonald’s, we actually had laws passed like the 1994 assault weapons ban.
LaPierre and members lobbied for years and made sure the assault weapons ban was not renewed. I assume that means that the NRA thinks assaults are legal.
Rather than focus on putting airport-style security on movie theatres (which will keep me away from the movies), why aren’t we exploring more effective gun laws? I assume LaPierre and his minions are meeting today over at their world headquarters outside of DC planning their next set of tactics to keep assault weapons in the hands of moose hunters and to promote automatic weapons and machine guns for target shooting.
Keep an eye on the TV news… the NRA will be showing up soon.
- Why gun lovers still fear Obama (politico.com)
- 15 Dead in Shooting at “The Dark Knight Rises” Movie Screening (fox4kc.com)
- Police: 14 dead in Colorado theater shooting (sfgate.com)
- What Makes The N.R.A. So Dangerous (theobamacrat.com)
- NRA, gun industry once again mine profit from paranoia (blogs.ajc.com)
- Want to know where the NRA stands on shooting people like Trayvon Martin? (underthelobsterscope.wordpress.com)
- NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre: The Public Is Being Misinformed About the Stand Your Ground Law Because Politicians Don’t Want Americans Protecting Themselves (foxnewsinsider.com)
- NRA encounters resistance from some Republicans (rep-am.com)
- 14 Killed in Mass Shooting at New Batman Movie (voanews.com)
- NRA-ILA | Hawaii: Governor Signs Important NRA Instructor Liability Bill into Law (rayrope.wordpress.com)
“Mosques are not churches like we would think of churches. They think of mosques more as a foothold into a society, as a foothold into a community, more in the cultural and in the nationalistic sense. Our churches — we don’t feel that way, they’re places of worship, and mosques are simply not that, and we need to take that into account when approving construction of those.”
So much for Freedom of Religion. The incredible fear generated by the right is really freaking me out. Speaking as an atheist, I could have the same feeling about Grantham’s churches, but I don’t.
- GOP Colorado State Senator On Banning Mosques: They’re Not ‘Places Of Worship’ (thinkprogress.org)
- Religious freedom confusions: Banning mosques and vouchers for Muslim schools (coloradoindependent.com)
Short, simple and full of truth:
Obama’s going to have to keep it up on Romney’s record, and this is a good start.
- New Obama TV ad in Florida questions Romney’s record as governor (tampabay.com)
- Two new Obama TV ads in Florida (tampabay.com)
- ATTACK WATCH IS BACK!… Obama Website Now Supplies Easy-to-Use Snitch Forms For Truth Team Members (thegatewaypundit.com)
- Obama’s day: Local TV (content.usatoday.com)
Climate Change is…
“an absolute travesty of scientific research that was motivated by those who, in my opinion, saw this as an opportunity to create a panic and a crisis for government to be able to step in and even more greatly control your life…
“When you have a worldview that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth; by things that frankly are just not scientifically proven, for example, the politicization of the whole global warming debate — this is all an attempt to, you know, to centralize power and to give more power to the government.”
In his article in TPM on Santorum’s little speech, Sahil Kapur also put this in:
But lest you believe Santorum’s thinking is hitherto unseen in the GOP. Rep. John Shimkus, in a 2009 congressional hearing, cited the Book of Genesis as evidence that climate change is a hoax, pointing out that God promised Noah that man won’t destroy the Earth. Shimkus was subsequently rewarded with the Chairmanship of the powerful Energy & Commerce subcommittee on the environment.
Don’t you love the Religious Right? Isn’t the Book of Genesis the one that never explains where all the other people beyond Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel come from? And there’s a talking snake.
- Keep that Santorum out of our science (freethoughtblogs.com)
- Is Rick Santorum a Pagan? (legalplanet.wordpress.com)
- Guest Post: Rick Santorum and Climate Change (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- Conservation Hawks Founder: “If Climate Change Isn’t Real, I’ll Give You My Beretta” (thinkprogress.org)
- Weather vs. Climate (theresponsibilitypolice.wordpress.com)
- The Problem with Rick Santorum’s Holy War (ideas.time.com)
- Rick Santorum defends remarks on Barack Obama’s faith – Boston Herald (news.bostonherald.com)
- The Sick Mind of Rick Santorum (kaystreet.wordpress.com)
- Theology On The Brain (duanegraham.wordpress.com)
- Rick Santorum Defends Controversial Obama Christianity Remarks [VIDEO] (ibtimes.com)
- Santorum clarifies ‘theology’ remark (politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com)
About an hour ago the Senate started moving forward the Tax Cuts and Unemployment Benefits bill (actually based on HR 4853) and, since they need to get 60 votes to pass it, this is being held open so all Senators can vote. Given the weather conditions nationwide, some Senators have had trouble getting back from the weekend, and I am not sure who we are waiting for and how long they will continue to hold it open.
At the one hour mark the vote was 58 – 6 in favor of passage. The 6 NO votes so far are all Democrats (Bingaman, Feingold, Leahy, Sanders, Gillibrand and the Udall from Colorado.) You can see Senators wandering in here and there on screen and the Senate Pages wandering around and talking to each other. They are in the W’s on the Roll Call and the fellow with the list is calling out vote results (so far, I guess). Sounds like the AYES are a mix of Dems and Reps. Brown of Ohio just became the seventh NO vote.
However, Senator Lincoln just voted AYE, so it looks like they have the 60 that pass the measure.
I’m not sure, but I think all this vote means is they move forward now to 30 hours of debate on the final bill. It’s now 63 – 8. The actual, final, real vote on this will not happen until tomorrow or Wednesday, I guess. At an hour and 20 minutes, I’m checking out.
- Bennet wins Senate race in Colorado (americablog.com)
- Bennet hangs on in Colorado (washingtonmonthly.com)
- Colorado Election Results 2010: Ken Buck & Michael Bennet Are Neck-And-Neck (huffingtonpost.com)
I’ll be glad when the election season is over and the snakes go back under their rocks.
I realize that Colorado is an ugly contest as it is. This just takes it one racist step farther. If I were a Coloradoan, I’d be interested in finding out who put the Billboard up and have their names publicized all over the state. And then I’d ask the Government to move the Air Force Academy to another state.
As of this week it has apparently been taken down after both Democratic and GOP politicians complained (Democrats called it “Racist”, Republicans called it “Silly”… guess which party had the least problem with it.) They still don’t know who put it up.
btw: While it’s unknown who paid for the billboard, the artist is Loma, CO, resident Paul Snover.
“I am not allowed to say who (paid for it) at this time. If it had been me, I would have included the Republicans as part of the problem.”
- Homophobic, Racist, Islamophobic Anti-Obama Billboard Taken Down (lezgetreal.com)
- Homophobic, Racist, Islamophobic Anti-Obama Billboard Taken Down (pinkbananaworld.com)
- Anti-Obama billboard in Colorado taken down (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Anti-everyone billboard makes fun of Obama (pinkbananaworld.com)
- Dems, GOP condemn anti-Obama billboard in Colo. (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
What happens when a former U.S. attorney in Atlanta from 1986 to 1990 and Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003 comments on a Colorado Senate candidate? The truth will out.
This from the Denver Post:
Buck’s reprimand was no youthful indiscretionBy Bob Barr
“I think that birth has an influence over it, like alcoholism and some other things, but I think that basically you have a choice.”
– Ken Buck on Meet The Press.
I know a lot of gay guys who are thrilled that they now have a choice.
- Bennet And The Gay Issue (andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com)
- Election 2010 Monday Polls: Voter Enthusiasm, Nevada, Colorado (politics.usnews.com)
- Colorado’s Senate Candidates Bennet, Buck Spar Over Rape Case (businessweek.com)
- Republicans Bucked by Colorado Candidate Buck? (lezgetreal.com)
This from Carnal Nation:
Avenue Q debuted on Broadway in 2003 to rave reviews and was a Tony winner three times over: for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book. The show is scheduled for March 16 and 17 in Colorado Springs, at Pikes Peak Center, as part of the Broadway in Colorado Springs series. And it’s already causing controversy.
Lamar Advertising sells space on local bus shelters in Colorado Springs and they rejected the posters advertising Avenue Q. Why? Apparently they find them to be too risqué. Keeping in mind that there are primarily puppets in this show, what would be too sexy for a bus stop? Believe it or not, it’s merely a fuzzy pink pair of puppet boobs—or, more accurately, fuzzy pink puppet boob cleavage—that the Lamar folks found offensive. Granted, that fuzzy pink cleavage belongs to character Lucy the Slut, one of Avenue Q’s more colorful residents.
There’s more at the source.