Success: Mark Gitenstein Out Of Consideration
Cross-posted from Velvet Revolution.us
Two weeks ago, we made a major push to oppose Mark Gitenstein to head the DOJ's Office of Legal Policy. We did a post on VR, sent out a press release to the national wires, personally contacted Gitenstein to ask him to withdraw his name, created and placed a web ad on BradBlog, and coordinated with Public Citizen, another org opposed to Gitenstein. Our opposition was based on Gitenstein's lobbying and legal work for the Chamber of Commerce which was one of Karl Rove's main tools for corrupting elections nationwide.
Well, we succeeded. Yesterday, the Obama Administration announced that it was withdrawing Gitenstein from the job. According to the Washington Post, this was a big win since Gitenstein looked like a shoe-in because of his previous work for Joe Biden.
"The widely expected nomination of Mark Gitenstein, a longtime aide to Vice President Biden, for the job of assistant attorney general for legal policy, the point office for judicial selections, is not happening.
The choice of Gitenstein, a highly regarded Washington lawyer and longtime chief Democratic counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which Biden formerly chaired, had been considered a done deal, what with his Biden connection and many friends in the legal community.
But liberal opposition, including a campaign against him by Public Citizen, was sharply critical of his legal work for a number of business clients and most especially for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That forced the White House to reconsider the nomination, Roll Call reported Wednesday.
That opposition overcame strong support for Gitenstein from other liberals and also from influential Obama campaign insiders, a source told us yesterday. There are other lawyers who might like the job, including George Washington University law professor Spencer Overton, a leading Democrat and big-time bundler of contributions for the Obama campaign."
This turn of events now has Spencer Overton as the top contender for the job. Mr. Overton has been a friend of the election integrity movement for years after he, as a member of the Baker-Carter Commission on election reform, led the opposition to that report and actually wrote a dissenting report. Mr. Overton is another terrific, black Harvard grad law professor at George Washington University. He has been a vociferous opponent of voter photo ID laws and voter suppression.
A copy of the original VR post is below.
2/10/09: VR Opposes Any Nomination Of Mark Gitenstein To the DOJ Office of Legal Policy
Obama's potential nominee to head The Department of Justice's Office of Legal Policy, Mark Gitenstein, worked as a lobbyist for the Chamber of Commerce between 2000 and 2008, helping his law firm earn more than $6 million in fees, according to federal lobbying records. Obama has set forth strict rules against lobbyists working for him and so Mr. Gitenstein will have to get a waiver. VR Is vehemently opposed to this appointment because of the obvious conflict of interest under which Mr. Gitenstein will labor and because of his work for the Chamber, an organization has been engaged in pervasive illegal and corrupt activity regarding elections nationwide at the behest of big business and Karl Rove.
Gitenstein, a partner at the Mayer Brown law firm in Washington, was a longtime senior aide to Vice President Joe Biden. And he has a good civil rights record. In recent years, however, he also has served as counsel to the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform, which pushed for changes in federal litigation rules and adding business-friendly judges to state courts.
Many of the same front groups which joined the Chamber ILR legal reform 'coalition' were involved in the organization's turn to full-blown rightwing partisanship and were responsible for putting George Bush into office and keeping him there.
The litigation by Ohio Attorney Cliff Arnebeck regarding the manipulation of the 2004 election in Ohio uncovered evidence that long time Bush IT expert Mike Connell created front groups for the Chamber (on behalf of Karl Rove?) in an ongoing pattern of corrupt activity to defraud elections. Mr. Arnebeck was able to tie the Chamber to Connell's activities because Arnebeck had sued the Chamber earlier for creating front groups that illegally funneled and laundered money to attack Ohio Supreme Court Justice Alice Resnick.
Mississippi Judge Oliver Diaz wrote to us recently to complain about being targeted by the Bush DOJ in a political prosecution directed by Karl Rove. He wrote, "election fraud is a major concern to me... In my last election, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce funneled about $1 million to defeat me. This is part of a strategy to stack out courts with conservative shills for big business. They have refused to disclose their donor list."
So now, Obama wants to have Mark Gitenstein, who lobbied for the one of the most partisan, corrupt and opaque organizations in the country, decide what judges are to be put on the federal bench. The same Chamber that coordinated attacks on Democrats nationwide for suing Big Tobacco, such as Don Siegelman. What kind of ethics and integrity can Mr. Gitenstein have lobbying for such an organization? We urge everyone to contact their Senators to express disapproval for this possible nomination.
Note: Mr. Gitenstein also lobbied for AT&T, collaborator of FISA.