Pentagon Attacks...Bush's Donors
The Bush administration's gambit against big law firms whose associates (mostly) have been representing Gitmo detainees has the feel of a pre-election set-up. There's the FOIA request from Monica Crowley, the comment from a Pentagon official, Cully Stimson, and sort-of-distancing from more senior officials. You can see the attack coming: Hillary/Edwards/Obama has taken money from these law firms that represent terrorists. (Never mind that they have thousands of lawyers, etc.). The chilling effect on the lawyers is probably real, but there's also a political attack on Democrats here.
But it only goes so far. Because the trial lawyers who make up the real Democratic base are John Edwards' friends in the plaintiff's bar -- and they haven't been wasting their valuable time in Cuba. The Gitmo firms under attack here seem to be big city firms whose partners and associates do some pro-bono work on the side. And these firms make their money in corporate work. They aren't all Democratic donors, and before the administration can tar their clients and political allies, hadn't it better return their money?
This line of attack isn't entirely new; in fact, the conservative columnist Deroy Murdock listed some of these perfidious lawyers in a 2005 National Review piece. WSJ.com's law blog has the current list of firms under attack by the Defense official and the Journal's editorial board. The list includes GOP powerhouse Blank, Rome, whose partners include the head of the Republican Lawyers Association, J. Caleb Boggs, as well as major GOP players like David Norcross and David Girard-DiCarlo -- a firm Stimson for some reason didn't mention. Also on the list are Paul Weiss, the Democrat-leaning New York firm whose current clients include Scooter Libby; and Manatt Phelps & Philips, the employer of New York's last GOP gubernatorial nominee, John Faso.
Check out, for example, some of the firms' partners and employees 2004 political giving, via OpenSecrets.org:
Pillsbury Winthrop: $34,250 to Bush; $15,850 to Kerry
Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw: $107,0185 Bush in 2004; $76,615 to Kerry
Blank, Rome: $192,900 to Bush in 2004; $58,200 to Kerry.
Most of the others gave more to Democrats than to Republicans, but virtually all of them gave some money to the re-election campaign of George W. Bush. So let him who is without donors at big law firms cast the first stone.
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