Frog-march parade: Could the criminal investigation into GOP uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff also lead to indictments of Karl Rove and Grover Norquist? The arrest of David Safavian, an Abramoff associate who was a Bush-appointee to the Office of Management and Budget, brings the investigation to the center of power for the Republican Party in Washington.
Josh Marshall lays it out in The Hill:
A quick look at the criminal complaint strongly suggests that Safavian is a low-level player in the Abramoff scandals and that he’s been indicted in an effort to compel his cooperation against bigger fish — certainly Abramoff, though the feds probably have more than enough on him, possibly [GOP Rep. Bob] Ney and quite probably Norquist, his former business partner in the lobbying firm of Janus-Merritt Strategies.
Norquist, as we all know, is a close adviser to the president and Rove. And his own publicly known role in the Abramoff scandals has him laundering money through his nonprofit organizations in exchange for setting up meetings and photo ops with the president.
The Bush White House has more than a few reasons to be concerned, in other words, about the Safavian indictment.
Or maybe not:
eventually the prosecutors working this case are going to move higher on the totem pole — high-level staffers at the White House, top advisers to the White House, members of Congress the White House relies on to move its agenda on Capitol Hill. What happens then? Those indictments will need sign off Al Gonzales, the attorney general, himself. What will he do? Do we really believe folks at the White House won’t get any sort of heads up?
Gonzales isn’t just any attorney general. He is not only the president’s former White House counsel. He is a Bush loyalist who owes his entire career to Bush and Rove. To say he has an appearance of a conflict in judging the Abramoff case is a laughable understatement. His conflict is real. And someone should start talking about it.